blue and gray decorative clay tile
Have you ever been to our tile showroom?

I only ask because if you haven’t shopped for tile lately, or if your experience is limited to the big box chains, you aren’t seeing the whole picture in tile.

One of the most exciting developments is the supply and demand for encaustic cement tile.

Similar to the clay tiles that came before them, they get their name from the term “encaustic” which is an art term used for metal enameling that uses a type of lost wax procedure.

Cement tiles are not fired. They develop their durability from the combination of a dehydrated and ground Portland cement layer and a coarse layer of sand and cement. The pigment layer is hydraulically pressed into the surface and becomes a part of the tile.

The manufacturing process allows artisans to use natural materials in many cases, making cement tiles 100% environmentally sustainable. Cement tiles are non-flammable and completely recyclable.

This is a conversation I find myself having more and more. Cement tiles are a great option for eco-conscious clients.

Cement tile can be installed on floors and walls, inside and out. Most manufacturers recommend sealing the tile before grouting. In high traffic areas the tile may need to be resealed. It can be cleaned easily with PH neutral cleaners, similar to other tile installations. A unique quality of handmade cement tiles is that the design/colors go deep into the body of the tile. If a tiles surface becomes scratched, it is undetectable.

Not just for flooring, cement tiles installed on vertical planes give a space a signature style. Even when used sparingly as in the photo above.

A pattern with lower contrast, gives a softer look, with out sacrificing charm.

Contemporary spaces don’t have to feel left out of the cement tile trend either. As you can see, the curated patterns help to warm what would have otherwise been a stark, minimalist space. The modern colorway opens the door to whimsy.

Not ready to see a patterned tile in a large area? A mud room/laundry room would be a perfect room to try a cement tile pattern.

Is this fun, or what? The tiled fireplace surround becomes the art in this room. Inch for inch, I’d say it was a bargain.

To see more examples of vintage cement tile, visit our showroom in East Rochester, NY or my Pinterest pages: Cemented in My Heart or Watch Your Step.

Written by Deb O’Connor