What Makes Cement Tiles Special

Emerging trend or here today gone tomorrow?

Cement tiles aren’t a new invention, their development can actually be traced back to 19th century France. In fact, there are many examples of 100-year-old cement tile installations that still look great today. Cement tiles are gaining in popularity because of the stunning designs available. Not only are they beautiful but they are an eco-friendly option due to the materials and the production itself which does not require any fossil fuels in production.  I recently met with Ivona from Wayne Tile of Ramsey to learn more about one of my favorite products: Handmade Cement Tiles.

What makes cement tiles special? 

Since these tiles are handmade the colors can be customized which allows for limitless combinations of color and pattern. You should expect long lead times with any custom order.  The artisan quality of the tiles makes each one a work of art. Intricate geometric patterns and colors have added to the popularity of the tile. They really make a design statement wherever they are used.  The manufacturing of this type of floor tile does not require fueled heat so it is also an eco-friendly product.

What are they made of and how are they installed?

Encaustic cement tiles are made by hand of different layers of cement, marble dust, silica sand, calcium carbonate and mineral pigments for the colors.  Before they are installed, the tiles should be allowed to acclimate to the environment. Once the floor has been leveled, the tile can be installed with thin set. Remember that these tiles are thicker than porcelain tiles so you must allow ¾” of height from the under-layment to the finished floor height. Your installer should use hand pressure to level the tiles since they might have thickness variations and leave 1/16” grout spacing.

What maintenance is required and how do they wear?

The tiles should be sealed before grouting and again after grouting since they are not sealed at the factory. Dark grout can stain the cement tiles. We recommend using a color that is the same or lighter than the lightest color in the pattern. The tiles should be resealed every couple of years and cleaned with a ph neutral cleaner and buffed with a white pad.  Regular sweeping to remove grit will help maintain the beauty of the tile. When properly sealed to protect against moisture and staining, cement tiles will maintain their beauty for decades. A natural patina will develop over time so they’re not for everyone but they are very durable. Proper installation is the key to longevity of these tiles.

Difference in quality? Difference in price?

Encaustic concrete tiles are handmade so the quality shouldn’t vary. These tiles vary in price depending on the amount of different colors used. They are comparable to any other high quality hand made tile. Price also varies depending on where the cement tiles are being shipped from as they are heavy and shipping costs can be substantial.

Where can this tile be used?

Cement tiles are perfect for bathrooms, laundry room floors, kitchen back splashes or a featured wall in any room. However they do not handle cold climates where freezing occurs nor in extreme heat like inside a fireplace. You should also avoid using these tiles around pools or spas as the chemicals used in the water can damage the tile.



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