Faux Subway Tile Tutorial

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.

I’ve been drooling over a couple laundry rooms I’ve pinned on Pinterest lately. Basically because ours looks like a set from Dirty Jobs. It’s in our basement and has hardly any natural light, little to no shelving and little piles of allusive stuff that we must not be able to live without. It makes doing laundry less appealing than it already is.

before and after faux subway tile

So the one thing I noticed amongst most of the laundry rooms I pinned was subway tile. And the one thing that I haven’t DIY’d before is tile, especially on a wall. So I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there. Plus the cheapest subway tile I could find was $1.84 a square foot. Then I’d have to add on the grout, spacers and other tools I don’t have to make it happen.

So I decided to go the woodworkers route…faux subway tile tutorial

In my garage I had some leftover 5 mm particleboard underlayment from a previous project. If I were to buy it, it would have been .41 cents per sqare foot . It comes in big 4×8 sheets at home improvement stores.underlayment

I created my faux tiles by using my tablesaw to cut the underlayment into 3 inch wide strips. Then I used my chop saw to cut those strips into 6 inch lengths.

3x6 faux subway tile

I put a tiny bit of liquid nails on the back of the tile just to hold it on the wall long enough for me to put a 1 inch finishing nail on each side of it. But before I secured it with the nails I used my leveler to make sure it was straight. To space the tiles evenly I used a fat game token from my “allusive stuff” pile in the laundry room. It’s a little wider than a nickle.

tile spacer

After all the tiles were up I sanded them down and painted them white with my new Critter spray gun. {The cutest tool I own by the way} critter sprayer

Then I filled in the spaces with concrete and mortor from a caulking tube…concrete and mortar in a tube

The texture and depth of the concrete and wood are what really make this faux job look real.

Next on my list is adding some raw wooden shelves and finding a rug that makes me smile! But for now I’m in love with my new space and actually will be doing laundry with delight tomorrow!

faux subway tile laundry room

I wanted to mention that I also want to put subway tile as my backsplash in the kitchen. But I will probably do the real thing there since it will be coming in contact with a lot more spills and splatters that will need wiping off. But I think this is a wonderful alternative in the laundry room!




  1. Patrick says

    I love the look and the idea, however subway tiles are one of the cheapest tiles available and for a wet area I woud definitely use the real thing. For a small extra cost you have a fully watertight area.

  2. Wayne says

    I would like to know where you got the paint sprayer. Could you send me the details

    Thanks a lot, Wayne

  3. lisa says

    spectacular! thanks for sharing! I used the ‘real mcoy’ at one of the rentals, but will do this at our own home I love it that much! Plus, I won’t feel as bad ‘drilling’ into the wall to hang stuff!
    love, love this idea!
    thank you!!!

  4. Marquis says

    This looks great! In curious, when the dryer gets going, are you concerned about he increased humidity after using wood?

  5. Bernie Spence says

    How much is your time worth by the hour? Do you have so little else to do that you are proud of using a cheap, humidity sensitive substrate in place of time-proven ceramic tile? And then grouted in such a tedious method instead of using a spread from a bucket which is more efficient and controllable? Posting this comment will show you are open to constructive criticism – you should advise your followers on the pros and cons of using your methods.

  6. Nicole says

    Hey, love the wall, very clever! Wondering if you could tell me where you got the frame for that butterfly poster? I have something similar and don’t know how to hand them!

  7. Kerry says

    I’m pretty sure that the decorating gods have smiled upon me by finding this post via Pinterest. This is sheer genius and I’m definitely going to try this. I always ask myself “why didn’t I think of that?” Thank You!!!

  8. says

    This looks SO fabulous! Looking at it, you’d never guess it wasn’t the real thing!
    I used the same underlayment to makeover our faux Shaker-style kitchen cabinets…it’s a very versatile product.

    You need to tell me more about that cute spray painter, too!

  9. Mary says

    Very cool! I don’t have the patience for a job like that, yours is very well done.

    P.S. If you look at the tube that is actually gray acrylic sealant FOR concrete and mortar, not actual concrete :)

    • karen says

      ^ THIS! :) Would probably need a coat of poly in case the “grout” got on the tiles, but I actually really like that look.