Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

This unique finish on backsplash tiles is snap, crackle, pop-ing up all over Instagram.

Kitchen backsplashes are a fun way to add some personality and color to your cooking space, and with all the inventive shapes, colors, and materials tile makers are giving us in 2018, the options available are virtually endless. White subway tile undoubtedly remains the traditional favorite, but for anyone looking to branch out from that classic, there are some newer tile contenders gaining popularity that also make beautiful choices. The tile trend you’re sure to soon see in more and more kitchens is defined by its texture and finish. We’re talking about crackle glaze tile. Check it out:

The unique crackle finish on the tiles pictured above is created when ceramic tiles with a glass glaze are fired at a specific temperature that causes tiny, splintering cracks in the surface of the glaze. The tile has a beautiful old-world patina to it, which makes sense since this is an effect that can naturally happen to glass tiles over several decades. The handmade feel and look to this tile finish has become more popular recently, a noted difference from the shiny, perfect-looking kitchens our feeds are typically filled with. The tendency to use the crackle finish with colored tiles is also a welcome change after white subway tile overload.

The crackle glaze finish can be used on any color or shape of tile, adding a unique look to whatever design you use on your backsplash. You’re likely to see variations in color and the crackle finish in each individual tile, which gives dimension and texture to the overall backsplash when all lined up in a large grouping. The backsplash below, by Fire Clay Tile, really exemplifies the texture and variation that a crackle finish can add to an already unique hue of subway tile.

A close-up shot of this geometric tile from Walker Zanger shows how the crackle glaze adds subtle interest to these unique, light blue scalloped tiles.

And while the crackled finish may be more noticeable on colorful tiles, it’s also a great option for neutral hued, even white, backsplashes like in the photo below.

Because there are in fact small cracks in the surface of these tiles, sealing them well is extremely important, but even after sealing, some folks are slightly wary of using these tiles in a location that gets as wet as a shower or tub surround. There certainly is a risk that water could seep into the tiles themselves (not just the grout) and cause irreversible damage. But for a kitchen backsplash (or even the backsplash in a guest or powder bathroom), crackle glaze tiles are totally safe—and in our book, encouraged.