The Beauty and Versatility of Cement Tiles
Cement tiles are popping up everywhere – not just in homes, but also in public buildings and commercial spaces. With their beauty and versatility, it’s no wonder they’ve become a favorite for designers, architects and homeowners alike.
Cement tile offers a wide range of patterns and color options that can complement any style. From graceful multi-color designs reminiscent of a Moroccan rug to simple geometric patterns in bold contrasting colors, cement tiles add a distinctive and elegant touch to any room. And since these tile are pressed rather than painted on, their pattern won’t wear away with use.
In fact, they hold up to a lot of traffic and exposure to sunlight, so they’re great for floors, walls, backsplashes, patios, and other outdoor features in your home or business. And they can be used to create a beautiful mosaic in your shower or to make a unique backsplash in the kitchen.
Compared to their ceramic counterparts that are fired in a kiln, cement tiles are much less likely to crack or chip and have a softer, more natural feel. And because they’re cured using hydraulic pressure, cement tiles are environmentally friendly, with none of the toxic off-gassing that occurs with ceramic tile.
While many people in North America have only recently discovered cement tiles, they’ve been a mainstay of European design for over a century. Developed in Spain as an update to decorative ceramic Majolica, the trend spread throughout Europe and Latin America. And while they might look like a relic from a bygone era, cement tiles are surprisingly easy to maintain and clean.
To make cement tiles, artisans first build steel molds (think big cookie cutters) that are filled with a mixture of Portland cement, fine marble dust, coarse sand aggregate, and natural mineral pigments. Then a layer of concrete mix is poured over the pigment layer and pressed with hydraulic pressure. This process results in a durable tile that is resistant to freezing temperatures and will not stain from water or other liquids.
Because cement tiles are handmade, they’re expected to have some imperfections that give them character and depth. But the beauty of these tiles is not just in their imperfections but also in the way they interlock and form a seamless surface. Their durability and versatile style has been attracting the attention of designers for large commercial projects and is popular among a growing segment of private homebuilders as well as “do it yourself” home improvement consumers.
Because they’re so versatile, cement tiles can be used to create a gorgeous mosaic on your bathroom floor or as a one-of-a-kind backsplash behind your sink; in the entryway of a restaurant or storefront or incorporated into a feature wall besides your fireplace; or as a stunning way to cover a courtyard. And the best part is that these tiles are a snap to install and will look fabulous for years to come. Just sweep and mop regularly with a non-acidic cleaner to keep them looking beautiful.