Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Benefits of Pre-Sealing Cement Tile


Pre-sealing cement tiles is not a required step in all manufacturers' installation procedures; however, it is something I recommend. Before deciding whether or not to pre-seal your cement tiles, let's make sure you understand the purpose of pre-sealing along with its benefits and risks.

Using a grout release or pre-sealer on cement tiles helps insure a successful installation
Using a grout release or pre-sealer on cement tiles helps ensure a successful installation.

Why Pre-Seal Cement Tile?
First, let's not confuse sealing with pre-sealing. After installation, sealing cement tile with a penetrating sealer is recommend because concrete is porous. The sealer help protect the tile from oil, acids and water. The purpose of a pre-sealer is very different. A good pre-sealer should do two things: it should clean the tile; and it should make grout clean-up, or removal, easier. In fact, a pre-sealer may be called a "grout release."

When you see a finished cement tile installation (or any tile installation), it's hard to visualize how bad it looked when grout was first applied. The only way to get grout into the grout joint is by smearing it all over the tile. With a glazed ceramic tile, grout removal and clean-up can be difficult. However, a porous material like cement makes the task more arduous, especially because acids can't be used.

Grout being applied to patterned cement tiles  - a messy job!
Grout being applied to patterned cement tiles - a messy job!

The benefit of a pre-sealer or "grout release" is to make sure the grout can be easily removed after grouting. By apply a grout release prior to the installation of the tile, you also get the added benefit of inspecting each tile and the opportunity to cull any that might be damaged or off-color before the actual installation.

The only downside is that pulling each tile out of the box and re-packing them is time consuming. Also, the more the tile is handled, the greater its chance for breakage. Using a grout release or pre-sealer on cement tile is not always required. In fact, if you have someone familiar with installing cement tile, they may even laugh. After all, there were no pre-sealing products when cement tile was used more than 150 years ago. Rest assured, pre-sealing is another step that will help guarantee the project's success.

While a penetrating sealer could be used (and is sometimes recommended), I prefer a water-based "green" product, such as Fila PS87. For pre-sealing, using it in its undiluted form will be less expensive than using a penetrating sealer. You can also dilute it to clean and remove grease and grime from the tiles after installation. It's an excellent product for acid-sensitive material, such as concrete.

How to Apply a Cement Tile Pre-Sealer
Applying a pre-sealer is not difficult, but it will take a great deal of time. As I mentioned, an added benefit is that you can view/inspect all of your tiles, and verify the quantity purchased.

First, pull the tiles from the box and arrange them onto pallets. Place the tiles next to each other so you can match pattern colors. More importantly, this step will also help prevent the grout release from dripping down the sides of the tile. Now, apply liberally; but, be neat.


Cement tiles are removed from the box and placed on pallets prior to applying the sealer.
Cement tiles are removed from the box and placed on pallets prior to applying a grout release.

Next, pour a small amount of the undiluted grout release into a container. Apply with a small, soft rag cut to a dimension smaller than the tile. Again, this keeps the pre-sealer away from the sides of the tile. You need the grout to stick to the sides of the tile.

Pre-sealer being applied to cement tile
Pre-sealer being applied to cement tile

Use a small, soft cloth to apply the pre-sealer
Use a small, soft cloth to apply the pre-sealer

Make sure grout release does not drip down the side of the tile
Make sure grout release does not drip down the side of the tile.

Where can I purchase this product?
We have recommended Fila products for years, but often, they have been difficult to obtain outside large metropolitan areas. Thankfully, you can purchase Fila PS87 and all Fila products in small or large quantities online at SealersRus.com. The owner of the company, Ali Madani, is extremely knowledgeable about Fila sealers and their application for both tile and stone.

Fila PS67 is a water-based cleaner that can be used to pre-seal cement tile.
Fila PS87 is a water-based cleaner that can be used to pre-seal cement tile.
Fila PS87 is a degreaser and cleaner for acid-sensitive materials like natural stone and concrete. It's ideal for basic cleaning of concrete and removes water-based wax. Use it undiluted for pre-sealing cement tile prior to installation. It will help ensure the tile is clean and assist as a grout-release.

To learn even more and see how a pre-sealer is applied, watch our latest video, How to Apply a Grout Release - Cement Tile Install Tips.

Watch the Video: How to Apply a Grout Release to Cement Tiles

This short video shows how to apply grout release to cement tiles. This optional step is a great insurance policy to protect your tiles from the hazards of installers while making sure the grout is easily removed.

In the coming months, we'll be providing more tips on how to successfully install cement tiles. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cement Tile Pattern Sets Theme for Resort Restaurant


Pattern adds detail and interest and often, very secretly infuses subtle meaning into a design. While color creates the atmosphere, the pattern's motif provides a sense of style and place when executed correctly  especially in commercial hospitality design for restaurants. For instance, a simple fleur-de-lis can help transport you to France.

Patterns can help provide a sense of style and place in commercial design.
Patterned cement tiles (like the Geometric one shown here),
help provide a sense of style and place in commercial design.

If you read Arpi's recent post on Interlocking Circles: The Power and History of Pattern in Design, you begin to understand the power (and history) of this pattern and why it can evoke such a powerful spell that creates a sense of time and place with its style. While the interlocking circle pattern has its roots in Islamic culture, its clean form also works well with the Japanese restaurant design showcased in this post.

There are two things I want to explore within this post. The first is how the motif appears to change based on how close or how far away you are. The the other is how the motif for the Geometric (Geo 10) pattern is maintained throughout the restaurant. The repetition of the motif helps maintain a sense of time and place along with other well-chosen design and decorative elements.

A Japanese Steak House uses cement tile patterns to help create a theme
This Japanese Steak House uses well-chosen decorative
items that work with the pattern to maintain a theme.

The large, oversized carpets welcome guests and also provide patio-style dining outside. As you can see, a very simple 4"x8" white border is used to frame the rug while providing a seamless transition to the large stone pavers.

Geo 10 pattern (8"x8") is framed with a simple 4"x8" white border
The Geo 10 pattern (8"x8") is framed with a simple 4"x8" white border.
The motif of the interlocking circles changes as your perspective and distance from the pattern changes.

The motif of the pattern changes as your perspective and distance change.
The motif of the pattern changes as your perspective and distance changes.

The motif is barely discernible from a distance; but, the detail catches the attention of your eye and draws you near.

Cement tile patterns catch your attention and draw you near
From a distance, cement tile patterns catch
your attention and draw you near.
Did you notice the circle pattern on the entry doors above? Inside this Japanese-themed restaurant, you'll find an antique hand-carved door frame.

Design details complement pattern to create style, sense, and place for successful commercial design.
Design details complement pattern to create style,
sense, and place for successful commercial design.
Take a closer look at the door details, and you'll find the interlocking circle pattern subtly establishes and reinforces a sense of time and place. The large interlocking tile pavers provide a sharp contrast to the smooth circle design while providing interest.


The interlocking circle motif is repeated in other design details
The interlocking circle motif is repeated in other design details.

I hope you enjoyed the brief tour showing how cement tiles and patterns helped to create a successful, cohesive theme for this Japanese Steak House. Because they are so durable, cement tiles are an excellent choice for commercial floor applications, or high-traffic residential spaces.

The use of cement tile in high-traffic areas is quite common throughout Europe and South America where it can be seen on the floors of centuries-old churches, homes and businesses.

Further, with these highly durable products comes longevity. Cement tiles have withstood centuries of wear, which is an important factor for commercial floors. Cement tile's strength lies in its beauty, its skid-resistance, and most notably, its ability to age gracefully since the manufacturing process dictates for the color layer to be 1/8"-thick. I'll be sharing more commercial installations of cement tile over the next few months.

Avente's Geo 10 cement tile pattern in black and white
Avente's Geo 10 cement tile pattern in black and white

As you can see, Avente's Geometric line, or Geo Cement Tiles, pay distinct homage to the time-tested and centuries-old patterns. However, with nearly 90 colors in the Heritage Color Palette, you can customize them to fit any color scheme or style. They work equally well in contemporary and traditional styles. With all of the available options and choices for color and customization, it's easy to see why cement tiles are a designer's dream. If you are a hospitality, restaurant, or commercial design professional, our "design line" of cement tile can work for you! Don't hesitate to contact us. We have the knowledge and skill needed to make your design come to life in tile.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cuban Tile Makes Grand Entrance for Resort Hotel


The hypnotic pattern of our Cuban Heritage Design 110-3B 8x8 handmade cement tile features prominently in this resort's airy and grand entry. Nestled between architectural elements of arches and columns, this handmade cement tile rug, which features an original Cuban tile pattern and a polished finish, will withstand decades of high foot traffic with proper care and maintenance. Not only is it beautiful, but it adds to the sustainability factor with its long lifecycle.

Looking closely at the 110 3B cement tile pattern, you can see and appreciate the subtlest of details and the artisanal touches that went into making this tile. The tiniest nuances are accentuated with color and/or flowing decoration. Coupled with details and precision, handmade cement tiles are unlike any other flooring choice.

The colors used in this pattern, from our Heritage Cement Tile Color Palette include:




Radiance



Pecan Pie



White



Ash Gray



Steel Blue

Tips for Creating a Cement Tile Rug

The key to creating a long-lasting, successful cement tile rug installation is planning, and a good sketch or drawing done to scale showing the placement of the tiles. Here are some tips to get you started. For more information or advice, visit our page on How to Create a Cement Tile Rug Design:

  • Use the same size border tile as field tile. It makes the installation and layout much easier.
  • If you choose to use border tiles that are a different size from your field tile, your rug width and length must be a multiple of both tile sizes to avoid unsightly cuts in the border pattern. Don't run the border to the edge of the room.
  • Allow for at least one or more rows of solid colored field tile outside the border.
  • Center the rug in the main area of an irregularly shaped hallway or entry.
  • An extremely level surface is critical for any cement tile floor installation.

Handcrafted cement tiles are capable of grabbing the attention of anyone who enters your home or establishment from the moment your guests walk in. Read more about How to Create a Cement Tile Rug Design.

For more information about cement tile selection, customization services, or available sizes, shapes and more, please see our new Guide to Buying Handmade Cement Tile.



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Autumnal Musings

autumn-fall

color-orange

"I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house." — Nathaniel Hawthorne

The trees have begun to shed their coats of leaves in preparation for their winter hibernation. With their shades of green, gold, orange and brown, we seem them fluttering onto the streets and lawns in the same way a child goes down a playground slide.

Autumn is a curious season where we take joy in Mother Nature's last hurrah until the awakening in Spring. The same sentiment holds true for upcoming remodeling or redesigning projects. Now is the perfect time to place your order for those Cuban cement tiles you've been eyeing for your patio, kitchen, bathroom, entry, and more. Add customization services, and you'll be all set for your project, with the tiles in hand and ready to be installed.

Just like Mother Nature, every good thing takes time. Handmade cement tiles are just that  handmade. Because of the Old World techniques our manufacturers still employ, some things just can't be, and shouldn't be, rushed.

Save on Spanish Cadiz Tile

Our hand-painted, Cadiz Spanish tile makes a bold design statement when used for a kitchen backsplash or stair risers.
Hand Painted Spanish Tile - Valencia PatternOur Spanish Cadiz 6"x6" Ceramic Tile is part of our extensive Spanish Ceramic tile collection. The pattern is created using traditional Majolica glazing techniques and each tile is hand-brushed by the artist.

Brighten your home with the warm gold and deep blue in this Spanish ceramic tile. This month only, we're offering 10% off any Cadiz 6"x6" purchase made. Discount applies only to stock on hand. You must place your order over the phone and mention the "FALL" coupon code at the time of purchase.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Designing with Cement Tile: Shapes, Sizes, Formats

Exercise your creativity with handmade cement tile!
Exercise your creativity with handmade cement tile!

Last month, we reviewed the time-tested quality manufacturing processes and techniques utilized in producing handmade cement tile. In this third installation, we’ll take a look at the various sizes, shapes and formats available with cement tiles.

As you can see in the chart below, handmade cement tiles not only offer beauty and dimension, they also offer flexibility in design with patterns, reliefs and moldings, and solid color cement tiles. Also, because cement tile is a handmade product, it’s further possible to exercise your creativity with Cement Tile Customization Services.

Chart - Avente Tile Shapes, Sizes and Formats of Cement Tile
Shapes, Sizes and Formats of Cement Tile: This chart includes patterned cement tile, relief and molding cement tile, and solid color cement tiles.
To further extend the design capabilities available with cement tile, Rustic Cement Tile Pavers and Arabesque Cement Tiles are also available to transform both indoor and outdoor spaces.

First, let’s take a look at Rustic Cement Tile Pavers with their rich appearance of classic clay bisque tiles - similar to those that have been used in Spain, the Mediterranean, and northern Africa for centuries. With these pavers, you get the benefit of cement in its durability and strength, coupled with a broader color palette, as well as sizes and shapes that can be adapted to any décor and environment.

Avente Tile's Rustic Cement Tile Pavers
Rustic Cement Tile Pavers manufactured from cement rather than clay offer increased durability, while the extensive color palette adds to their versatility.

Arabesque Cement Tiles pay homage to the deeply rooted and rich heritage of traditional Moorish and Spanish tiles. With their interlaced geometric patterns, each hand-crafted tile features nuanced curves and classic shapes – enhancing any setting where they are used.

Avente Tile's Arabesque Cement Tile Pavers
Arabesque Cement Tile Pavers combine the strength of cement with the timeless shapes and formats of Moorish and Spanish design elements.

Handmade cement tile offers a range of design possibilities. Whether you choose to use bold Cuban tile patterns in contrasting colors, classic cement patterns in harmonizing colors, or decide on the Rustic or Arabesque Cement Tile Pavers, the final result is guaranteed to transform any space from drab to fab!

Further, for added inspiration, make sure to download Avente Tile’s newly published Guide to Buying Handmade Cement Tile, a 14-page reference tool with easy-to-read information, vivid examples of cement tile installations, FAQs, and more!


Download: Guide to Buying Handmade Cement Tile

Of course, everyone at Avente Tile is well-versed and experienced in answering any possible question you may have. Therefore, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888.739.4972; or email: info@AventeTile.com.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Interlocking Circles: The Power and History of Pattern in Design


For thousands of years, geometric shapes and symbols have decorated homes, structures, religious buildings and art work. Influenced by nature (such as the perfect hexagon of a honeycomb made by bees), geometry has, in essence, shaped our world.

Interlocking circle patterns graces the floor tiles of this corridor.
Interlocking circle patterns grace the floor tiles of this establishment's corridor. 

Seemingly, the most prolific use of geometry and shapes is the Islamic culture. Because followers of Islam were not allowed to use human forms in art or other creative channels, geometric shapes came to represent their view of the world around them.


A closer look at the interlocking circle pattern.

According to Math Munch, a website dedicated to mathematics, "Humans have been in awe of the symmetrical laws that seem to govern the universe for thousands of years, and they've developed a type of artwork called Sacred Geometry, a way of thinking that gives spiritual significance to geometric shapes. Sacred geometry can be found in religious artwork from many different cultures, and often uses tilings of regular polygons, the Platonic solids, and interlocking circles arranged in symmetric patterns."

Example of Islamic geometry in mosaic tile art form
Example of Islamic geometry in mosaic tile art form. Image via Math Munch.

In the case of our Geo 10 cement tile design, we have four overlapping/interlocking circles. According to John Lockerbie of catnaps.org, "It is a common pattern in Arabic and Islamic geometrical design work. The sinuous lines have equal weight and the spaces contained by the lines are equal in their visual weight, though alternate shapes appear set at right angles in a regular pattern."



Avente Tile's Geo 10 cement tile pattern features interlocking circles.
Avente Tile's Geo 10 cement tile pattern features interlocking circles.

Interestingly, circles and curves seem to dominate Islamic arts and culture, from calligraphy to cursive writing to interlocking circles. With the interlocking circle pattern, the Flower of Life holds the most meaning as it depicts the basic molecular beginning of life. According to Andrew Monkman's post Sacred Geometry - Flower of Life, "The most common form of the 'Flower of Life' is a hexagonal pattern (where the center of each circle is on the circumference of six surrounding circles of the same diameter), made up of 19 complete circles and 36 partial circular arcs, enclosed by a large circle.

The Flower of Life pattern contains a vast Akashic system of information.
"Indelibly etched on the walls of temple of the Osirion at Abydos, Egypt, the Flower of Life contains a vast Akashic system of information, including templates for the five Platonic Solids." Image via Sacred Geometry.

A slightly modified version of this pattern can be found in our Geometric Moroccan Circle pattern:



Avente Tile's Geometric Moroccan Circle tile pattern,

Taking the interlocking circle element even further is Avente's Geo 35 pattern with its more modern version of an ancient pattern.

Avente Tile's Geo 35 cement tile pattern.
Avente Tile's Geo 35 cement tile pattern.

As you can see, Avente's Geometric line, or Geo Cement Tiles, pay distinct homage to the time-tested and centuries-old interlocking circle patterns found throughout all Islamic art forms.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Glazed Bricks Provide Versatility for Classic to Contemporary Design

Our newest line of tile takes its cue from simplicity and ease. If you like the classic look of subway tile, then you're to love the look of our Glazed Brick series. This versatile line is great for backsplashes and walls for both residential and commercial applications.


Avente Tile's Glazed Thin Brick comes in six colors.
Avente Tile's Glazed Thin Brick comes in six colors.

Pick a Color or Use Them All!
Our glazed think brick is available in six colors: cinnamon, mustard, pewter, storm, white, and washed. Use a single color or use both whites for a tranquil, contemporary design. However, because I love color, I think the tiles are most captivating when an array of colors is used to create a mosaic.

Mustard
Cinnamon
Pewter

Storm
White
Washed
Our Glazed Brick is in stock and ready to ship. It is frost-resistant; but, not frost proof. As with all of our hand-glazed items, natural variation is inherent in color, texture and finish. Approximate dimensions are: 2-1/4" x 9-1/4" x 3/4"-thick.

Horizontal Glazed Brick Layouts
Classic and timeless, horizontal layouts honor the love of subway tiles. Keep it simple with a basic offset, or add interest with a quarter offset layout. The stacked pattern offers clean lines, which works well with contemporary designs.

Offset Tile Layout for Glazed Thin Brick
Offset
1/4 Offset Tile Layout for Thin Glazed Brick
1/4 Offset
Straight Set Tile Layout for Thin Glazed Brick
Straight Set

Vertical Glazed Brick Layouts
Newer and bolder, the upward orientation of vertical layouts provide the illusion of height or can be used to create striped designs with two or more colors. Staggered or off-set vertical arrangements lead the eye upward and can make a short galley kitchen with low ceilings appear larger and slightly more expansive.

1/4 Vertical Offset Tile Layout for Thin Glazed Brick
1/4 Vertical Offset
Vertical Offset Tile Layout for Thin Glazed Brick
Vertical Offset
Vertical Straight Set Tile Layout for Thin Glazed Brick
Vertical Straight Set
Herringbone Layout for Thin Glazed Brick
Handsome and sophisticated, the woven look of a herringbone pattern offers texture and distinctive style. It's a great look for a bathroom wall or kitchen backsplash.

Herringbone Tile Layout for Thin Glazed Brick
Herringbone

Our new line of thin Glazed Bricks in six colors is a great way to achieve the cherished look of subway tile. But, the natural variation of color from hand-glazing, combined with the texture from the brick, will add interest and a new twist to your design. See our new line of thin Glazed Bricks today!