Split face mosaic tile – part 2.

Last week I covered the natural stones most commonly used in the split face mosaic format. These are great for fireplaces and chimney breast coverings if you want to achieve contemporary and timeless look. Today I will focus on the porcelain split face mosaic version. Generally the main difference between the two is in maintenance, sizes, texture and colours. 

Most porcelain split face mosaic are imitating the real thing, being the natural stones which I talked about last week (travertine, slate, limestone etc). The technology is such these days that to an untrained eye the faux stone looks like the real deal. When I used to work in the showroom designing with tiles and natural stones most people didn’t see any difference between the two. And what adds more to the confusion is that even the price doesn’t tell you anything because they’re both in a very similar price range. The way to spot the difference between the two is how it looks like on the back and how it is attached to the net.

The good thing about porcelain split face mosaic is that some have more colour variations than the real stone. So they go from rusty orange to dark grey on one tile creating this very interesting colourful wall in 3d effect.

Split face mosaic Revigres



But the biggest difference is in its maintenance. Because it’s porcelain you can wipe it, clean it and it won’t damage the surface of the tile at all. It’s very durable, hard and robust material which is very practical and easy to work with. Natural stone has to be handled with care, but porcelain is more forgiving. You don’t need a special glue or grout for installation and you don’t need to seal the surface either. They are much easier to cut as well.

The tiles come in various finishes – polished, matt, semi-polished. Sometimes with a combination of all three. You can get rough and smooth, light and dark.


Mixing metallic effect is very on trend right now – iron, copper effects.


Notice that the shapes are also more mixed up – squares with various rectangles in different depths to create this 3d effect.

So which one is better? Natural stone or porcelain? I used to get asked this all the time. And my answer is the same. It depends on your requirements, lifestyle and space. On one hand thing can replace nature. Natural stone is one off. Each slab is different. the pattern is different. On the other hand porcelain is more “regular” but tile manufacturers are always trying to make them more “natural”. The digital printing is so so advanced in terms of pixels but also designs and that’s why is so hard to spot the difference. In terms of practicality, porcelain is easier to work with and maintain.


Whatever you choose split face mosaic is still a great choice for your fireplace. If you want textured wall, this is the best option for you.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please let me know via email or comment below.

Karolina Barnes Studio

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All images via Revigres – my tile supplier. Please contact me for any enquiries you might have!