Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Custom Cement Tile Pattern Creates Contemporary Clubhouse Charm


Despite hundreds of existing cement tile patterns, sometimes you just have to literally "break the mold." In the commercial design of this golf clubhouse, a simple contemporary design was created specifically for this environment.

Custom cement tile patterns. like this one for a clubhouse, provide limitless possibilities for commercial design.
Custom cement tile patterns, like this one for a clubhouse, provide limitless possibilities for commercial design.

The designer hit a hole in one with a custom pattern that speaks volumes about the flexibility of cement tile and how well it works in contemporary design.  The simplicity of the repeating golf ball pattern on different shades of verdant green is a simple, fun metaphor.


A detailed look at the custom cement tile pattern created exclusively for this clubhouse
A detailed look at the custom cement tile pattern created exclusively for this clubhouse.

The design places large cement tile rugs in the lounge and dining area of the clubhouse. The clean lines of contemporary design are found everywhere in the details - from the furniture to the floor.   The decision to use a custom cement tile pattern strategically on the floor is a smart choice. It creates intimate areas in the open, expanse of the room. Notice how nicely it pairs with the neutral, large-format natural stone flooring.

Cement tile rugs create cozy, intimate dining areas in the expanse of the room.
Cement tile rugs create cozy, intimate dining areas in the expanse of the room.

Cement tiles are created by pouring pigmented cement into a mold that creates the pattern on each tile. If the pattern is not a available in the factories repertoire of molds, it has to be created from scratch. Of course, there is additional cost and time to create a custom mold; but, the design will certainly be unique!

Existing cement tile molds. Custom patterns require a new mold to be created.
Existing cement tile molds. Custom patterns require a new mold to be created.

Want to see more photos of this commercial clubhouse installation? View the slideshow below, or click to see Cement Tile area a Hole in One for Greens.



Cement tiles provide flexibility for commercial designs because they can be customized with your pattern, choice of colors and unique shapes. The tile adapt to any setting and work well in contemporary or traditional installations. Finally, you can't forget that cement tile are durable and will withstand decades of wear with little care. Designers in the hotel, hospitality, or restaurant industry use custom cement tile patterns and designs to create a look that stands out and is unique. Take a look at these commercial cement tile installations for inspiration on your next commercial design project.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cement Tile Creates Calming Resort Spa


In today's hectic 24/7 world, a quiet place to escape, relax, renew, and refresh is more important than ever before. Designers cleverly chose cement tile flooring for this resort spa to achieve a calm and peaceful atmosphere in a commercial setting.

River rock mimics the cement tile pattern in the spa corridor
River rock mimics the cement tile pattern in the spa corridor
Commercial flooring is often dismissed as unimportant and reduced to low-cost options. In this spa, the opposite approach was taken. The flooring is the design element that establishes the theme, creates the ambiance and sets the tone. The cement tile floor utilizes a simple interlocking circle pattern and two-tone color palette in soothing green to create tranquility. Other smart design choices were made to complement the theme; one of my favorite is the use of white river rock along the corridors and stacked white rock at the reception desk. The river rock mimics the tile pattern and provides the soothing effect of a flowing stream.

Cement tile in a soothing green create calm at this resort spa.
Cement tile in a soothing green and simple pattern create calm at this resort spa.

Cement tile and smart design choices like make this spa an oasis
Cement tile and smart design choices make this spa a soothing oasis
The Geometric Diamond Pattern uses two shades of light green on a white background to emphasize the interlocking circles. I love how the darker shade of green is used to help create the illusion of over-lapping circles.

Geometric patterns like Avente's Diamond are a great choice for contemporary commercial spaces
Patterns like Avente's Geometric Diamond cement tile are a great choice for contemporary commercial spaces

DESIGN TIP - To achieve a contemporary look with cement tile, use geometric patterns. Limit yourself to two or three colors. It's best to pair a neutral color with two tones of another color, such as tan coupled with a light green and dark green.

Geometric patterns in a straight-forward color palette with only a few colors are a great way to create a contemporary look in commercial applications. To achieve a contemporary look with cement tile, choose patterns that aren't too fussy, like our Geometric patterns.  Limit yourself to two or three colors, pairing a neutral with another color in different shades or lighter/darker saturation.

Geometric cement tiles work well in contemporary commercial designs
Geometric cement tiles work well in contemporary commercial designs

To see more photos of this commercial resort spa installation view the slideshow below, or click to view Cement Tile Spa.



Cement tiles provide flexibility for commercial designs with their choice of patterns, colors and shapes. They work equally well in contemporary installations or traditional settings. Additionally, they are durable and will withstand decades of wear with little care. Designers in the hotel, hospitality, or restaurant industry use cement tile to create a look that stands out or speak to a special need. Take a look at these commercial cement tile installations to start getting inspiration for your next commercial design project.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pre-Sealing Cement Tile: An Important Step


How to Apply a Grout Release - Cement Tile Install Tips
How to Apply a Grout Release - Cement Tile Install Tips

When you see a finished cement tile installation (or any tile installation), it's hard to visualize just how bad it looked when grout was first applied. The only way to get grout into the joints is by spreading it with a tile trowel. With glazed ceramic tile, grout removal and clean-up can be difficult. The task becomes more arduous when a porous material, such as cement tile, needs to be cleaned up. That's where pre-sealing comes in.

Commercial cement tile installations collage
Handmade cement tile offers a range of design possibilities for any commercial, hospitality, or retail space.

The benefit of a pre-sealer, or "grout release" product, is to make sure the grout can be easily removed after spreading it onto the tile and into the joints. By applying a grout release prior to installing the tile, you get the added benefit of inspecting each tile, as well as the opportunity to cull any tile that might be damaged or off-color prior to the actual installation.

While preparing to pre-seal your cement tile, take the opportunity to inspect each tile.
While preparing to pre-seal your cement tile, take the opportunity to inspect each tile.

Handmade cement tile offers a range of design possibilities - bold Cuban tile patterns in contrasting colors, or classic cement patterns in harmonizing colors. Whether used as floor tile or wall tile, the result will transform any space. We've assembled dozens of images filled with cement tile design ideas to help you get started on your next project.

To learn more about cement tile and to see how a pre-sealer is applied, watch our latest video, How to Apply a Grout Release - Cement Tile Install Tips. This short video shows how to apply grout release to cement tiles in an easy-to-understand format. Making time for this additional step will protect your tile from the hazards of even the most skilled of installers, while making sure the grout is easily removed.

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

In the meantime, for more information about cement tile selection, installation tips, customization services, or available sizes, shapes and more, please see our new Guide to Buying Handmade Cement Tile.




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Designing with Tile

Commercial Spaces Design

Saltillo Tile Pin Board

"Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated." — Paul Rand

Once a building has been erected, or is in the process of an overhaul, it's up to the designers to translate and transform the vision of the commercial, retail or hospitality space into a sensory-pleasing experience. Whether it's a grand lobby, a spectacular lounge or bar area, or even the common areas such as hallways and corridors, the designer is tasked with giving these spaces character and interest.

Therefore, it's no surprise that tile is the perfect component in making these visions come to life, specifically, cement tile. With cement tile, these spaces are given a historic feel from a material that has been used for centuries, with the added benefit of being able to customize patterns and colors.

Saltillo tiles also fall into the same timeless category as cement tiles. Because of their deep, rich hues, Saltillo tiles have the ability of transporting us to the colorful, refined grandeur of sun-kissed Spanish villas and haciendas of the Mediterranean.

With their inherit versatility and durability, it's for these reasons that designers and specifiers overwhelmingly choose the always stylish looks of handmade cement tiles and Saltillo tiles.



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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cement Tile Creates Luxurious Lido for Hotel


Cement tiles have the ability to create luxurious, rich designs in any environment; but, the effect is breathtaking and awesome when applied to commercial applications for restaurants and hotels because of their grand scale. The lobby of this upscale ocean-front Caribbean resort opens up to a beach via this lido that welcomes guests and invites them to relax, linger and enjoy the view.

Cement tiles create a luxurious lido for this hotel property.
Cement tiles create a luxurious lido for this hotel property.
  Cement tile work well with the grand scale of commercial design
Cement tile works well with the grand scale of commercial design. 

While it's hard to improve upon the beauty of cement tile, the use of a large sweeping arch in this installation provides a soft, organic curve that plays with the stylized floral pattern. The effect is breathtaking and apropos for the beach setting and view.

Non-rectilinear cement tile installations at this hotel amplify their eye-catching effect
Non-rectilinear cement tile installations amplify the tile's eye-catching effect.

The cement tile for this commercial installation provides an opulent tapestry. The sumptuous design is enhanced by choosing a layout that includes a large sweeping arch and grand scale. The Traditional Sosua pattern makes use of rich, complex colors that add to the grandeur. I love the use of Indigo with yellow, gold and suede in this color palette:


DESIGN TIP - For a dramatic effect, create a circular rug or large arch with patterned cement tile. This type of layout requires expert installation skills and planning. Because each tile has to be cut, both material and installation costs will be more. However, the effect is nothing short of stunning.

Attention to detail and good planning are key to more complicated tile layouts
Attention to detail and good planning are key to more complicated tile layouts.

If you want to create a luxurious design or make a statement that will be remembered, consider using cement tiles in your design. The rich colors and detailing in the patterns can't be missed!

Cement tiles in rich colors and detailed patterns make a luxurious statement for this hotel
Cement tiles in rich colors and detailed patterns make a luxurious statement for this hotel.

If you'd like to see more photos from this commercial installation, then please view the slideshow below, or click to view Sosua Cement Tile Creates Luxury Lounge for Hotel Property.



Cement tiles are a great choice for luxury commercial design. If you are a design pro in the hotel, hospitality, or restaurant design industry, use cement tile to create a custom look that stands out. Need some design inspiration for your next commercial design project? Take a look at these commercial cement tile installations.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cement Tile Border Pattern Creates Charming Patio


Cement tiles naturally create an Old World ambiance with their traditional patterns and color variations that occur from being a hand-crafted product. For this Italian restaurant, using cement tiles was an obvious choice not only for their time-tested durability, but also for their effortless ability in helping to create a quaint, yet sophisticated, atmosphere.

This French Bistro uses a cement tile border pattern in rows to create charm
This Italian restaurant uses a cement tile border pattern in rows to create charm.

The cement tile rugs for this commercial installation feature rows, or "stripes of pattern," using our Yuna border pattern. While there may not be anything inherently Italian about the pattern, the choice of color and rich detailing create a look from another era.

For a different take on the cement tile rug, consider using border patterns laid in rows
For a different take on the cement tile rug, consider using border patterns laid in rows.

Using only border patterns, create a cement tile rug by laying the border pattern in rows next to one another. You'll notice the motif changes drastically, depending on whether you're looking at the "stripes" straight-on or at an angle. This effect is great at grabbing the attention of passersby, and we're told, it has also helped pull curious and hungry customers into the restaurant.

A cement tile border pattern can be used to create a rug.g
A cement tile border pattern can be used to create a rug.

The pattern's motif appears to change based on the angle you are viewing it from
The pattern's motif appears to change based on the angle you are viewing it from.

The changes in the pattern create eye-catching appeal and interest.
The changes in the pattern create eye-catching appeal and interest.

The flexibility of cement tile in design is amazing. Notice how well this motif works with the Roman columns and marble architectural details around the windows? Thanks to the pattern and classic color choices used in this bistro project, these cement tiles have effortlessly created an outdoor dining patio and entry reminiscent of an Italian hillside eatery.


DESIGN TIP - Using only border patterns, you can create a cement tile rug by laying the border pattern in rows next to one another. You'll notice the motif will noticeably change, depending on whether you're looking at the "stripes" straight-on or at an angle.


If you'd like to see more photos from this commercial installation, then please view the slideshow below, or click to view Yuna Border Makes a Striking Floor.



With all of the color and pattern customization options available, it's easy to see why cement tiles are a designer's dream. If you are a hospitality, restaurant, or commercial design professional, then handmade cement tile is the Design Line that can work for you! Don't hesitate to contact us. We have the extensive knowledge and skill needed to make your vision come to life. But, don't take our word for it, take a look at these cement tile commercial installations.


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.