Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tile Talk Newsletter - June 2011

Project Pick: Classic Style with Cement Tile Borders & Solids

Classic Style with Cement Tile Borders

Do bright colors and patterns have you running scared? Relax. Create a classic look using a solid color cement tile with a simple border pattern. This timeless look creates a carpet for the entire room. In this design, an Alcala Border is paired with a solid terra cotta color cement tile. The terra cotta tile is placed on wide grout lines to create an old Hacienda feel that is rustic and relaxed. To create design interest, The terra cotta cement tiles are placed on point. Border patterns from any design can be used, like Cuban Heritage or Traditional tiles.

Cuban Heritage Design 130-3B Cement Tile
Traditional Alcala Cement Tile

Geo Cement Tile Traditional Cement Tile Cuban Heritage Cement Tile Heritage Solid Color Cement Tile
Geo Traditional Cuban Heritage Solids

TILE QUIZ TIME: Fact or Fiction
We're still Looking for a winner. Can you get all all five questions right? Give it a try and post your answers and win the prize.

>> Take the Design Challenge - TILE QUIZ TIME: Fact or Fiction

Tile Tip:

There are three ways to finish the top edge of the tile on a wall.

You can use:

  1. Molding – An expensive option that uses a cornice or bar shaped tile designed to provide a decorative flourish.

  2. Bullnose Tiles – a tile with a finished, glazed radius that curves to the back wall surface.

  3. Glazed Edge Tiles – a tile with a standard square edge that is glazed on one side edge.

Some Typical Moldings that Provide a Finished Edge

Find Out More:

>> Read Our Blog Post: How to Finish an Edge of Tile on a Wall

SUMMER SALE! Save 10% on Cuban Heritage Cement Tile
Cuban Heritage Tiles

160-2A Installation

The days are heating up and summer is officially here. Here's a great deal that will make you Salsa, Tango or Twist: 10% off all Cuban Heritage Tiles when you spend $500 or more. Just mention coupon code TANGO when you place your phone order. Call us to recieve a FREE estimate including shipping and freight. Sample stock of most patterns is available for immediate shipment. Allow 6 - 8 weeks for delivery of most orders. Call 888.739.4972 (9-5 PST M-F) and place your oder today. This offer is valid for Cuban Heritage Tile Patterns only and does not include shipping or handling. Offer expires July 31, 2011.

>> View All Cuban Heritage Tiles

>> View Cement Tile Ideas

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Customer Shares Their Cuban Tile Installation

I always appreciate when a customer takes the time to share a photo from a tile project using Avente's Tile. Last Monday I received this email from our customers in Florida.

Here are two views of the installed tile. Both are looking towards the front door. The room looks awesome! We are so happy with our choice. Thanks again for all your help.

Cuban Tile Installation Room View
Cuban Tile Installation Room View

Cuban Tile Installation Floor View - Design 160-2A
Cuban Tile Installation Floor View (Design 160-2A)

I agree, the room does look awesome and kudos for a job well done. They used Cuban Heritage Design 160-2A in the standard 8" x 8" size and colors: Sugar Cookie, Gray, Jet Black, Fire Brick.

Cuban Heritage Cement Tile - Design 160-2A
Pattern & Colorway 160-2A

They were great customers, too! They evaluated samples, asked questions, and had a realistic budget and schedule for this project. Interested in creating an awesome look for your home using cement tile? Take a look at our Cement Tile Design Ideas to help get some ideas and then contact us!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Making Hand Painted Tiles Video

The process of hand painted tiles is both a science and an art. Our latest video, Making Hand Painted Tile, shows how artisans create hand painted decorative tiles. The pattern is applied to each tile and then the glaze applied one color at a time before firing. The process requires both patience and skill. You can easily appreciate the time it takes to just apply the glaze to the pattern!


The tile design featured in this video is Avente's La Merced design in a 6"x 6" format from the Barcelona line which has a classic Mediterranean style.

Barcelona La Merced Hand Painted Tile  

Our line of hand painted Spanish, Portuguese and decorative ceramic tiles are truly a labor of love. You can see all of the tiles in the La Merced pattern which is one of many distinct colorways of in our Barcelona line.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Five Tile Buying Tips That Save You Time & Money

Recently, I was reading a post on Kelly's Kitchen Sync titled Freight and delivery delays: brace yourselves. She's explains some of the material delays that she's experiencing and why they are happening.

Gourmet Garden Tiles
A Successful Tile Installation

Kelly Morisseau, is a second-generation CMKBD (Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer) and a CID (Certified Interior Designer). She works for a residential design/build firm in Northern California and recently penned Kelly's Kitchen Sync: Insider Kitchen Design and Remodel Tips from an award-winning expert. You should buy a copy of this book. But, reading Kelly's tips got me thinking about some of the common mistakes people make when buying hand painted tiles. So, today's post provides a few ways to make your tile project a success.

  1. Get samples. You need to see the color and texture of the tile in the location where they will be used and with swatches of other material or paint chips.

  2. Buy several pieces of the same sample. When purchasing hand painted field tile, ceramic tile or cement tile it's a good idea to get four pieces of the same color, colorway, or design to see what kind of variation you might experience. You can also ask the vendor to provide the most extreme cases to make sure you understand the expected range of color.

  3. Allow for waste or overage. I recommend 10% overage to account for uncertainty in dimensions, tile variation, damage during installation, and damage that may occur during shipping. When installing tiles on-point there will be a lot of cuts; so I recommend 15% for overage. Not allowing for waste is a big problem on custom orders since you will experience a similar production time, matching glazes or pigments is difficult, and freight or shipping costs for a few items will much higher than if you would of purchased extra as part of the original order.

  4. Inspect your order the day it arrives. Inspect for shipping damage and breakage. Make sure the quantities, color and size are correct. Remember that hand painted tiles will exhibit variation in color. However, the variation should be within a range and similar to your samples.

  5. Don't schedule the installer for the day after the tile arrives. Allow at least two weeks after your tile is scheduled to arrive to schedule your installer. Customs, freight, and weather all impact delivery. Give yourself some time to allow for delays – they almost always happen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

TILE QUIZ TIME: Fact or Fiction

In my last blog I talked about the misconceptions and misinformation that exist in the industry about ceramic tile and how and where it is appropriate for it to be used. If you read this blog all the way through, you understood that appropriate usage boils down to knowing a few facts and then using common sense. A lot like life, huh? But today, with all the information available, it is sometimes overwhelming and we forget to use that most efficient of tool: common sense. So, I’m going to continue to explore this subject and visit some more urban tile legends and see how they hold up to the Truthometer.


1. Most tile lines have white clay bodies or bisque. But some cheaper tile lines from other companies have red clay bodies. Is a white clay body superior to a red clay body?

Fiction! Let’s see if you know why:

  1. White clay is just red clay that has been bleached, so one isn’t better than another.
  2. In an effort to keep color purity when glazing over red clay, a layer called an “engobe” was applied. Eliminating this step by mixing a whiter clay not only made sense but helped keep production costs down.
  3. Red clay “bleeds” when cut with a wet-saw, therefore white clay is superior.

2. All tile is not made the same thickness, but most popular handmade tile lines are thicker than inexpensive tile lines. Are economy tiles always very thin because they use less clay to keep costs down?

Fiction! Let’s see if you know why:

  1. Inexpensive tiles are thin because they are easier to install and the manufacturer can fit more tiles in a box, thereby keeping shipping costs down.
  2. Inexpensive tiles are thin because clients for this product don’t like thick tiles which are often uneven in surface texture.
  3. Inexpensive tiles are thin because they are typically mass produced by machine, which allows the clay to be compressed into a dense but thinner tile size.

3. When purchasing handmade tile, surface glaze irregularities – such as pin-holes, occasional little specks, glaze build-up, glazed over nicks and chips – are not considered defects.

Fact! Let’s see if you know why:

  1. The hand of the ceramic artist is evident in the irregularities that will be inherent in a handmade and handglazed tile product and are part of their charm.
  2. These are not considered defects because purchasers of handmade tile don’t want tile that looks machine-made and with cookie-cutter sameness.
  3. All those irregularities are not defects because the Kiln God says so.

4. I’ve been told to NEVER mix white or off-white glazes from different tile lines.

Fact! Let’s see if you know why:

  1. Tile manufacturers don’t sell standard quantities per box, so figuring quantities needed would be too tricky if ordering from different suppliers.
  2. Factories use different bisque and glaze recipes and over the expanse of a wall or floor, they can look very different from one another. A sample cannot tell the whole story.
  3. 5. Tile showrooms discourage mixing whites, like a less expensive field tile with that beautiful but costly molding you love, because it makes the sales associates’ job too difficult.

5. Thick tile is stronger and, therefore, more durable than thinner tile.

Fiction! Let’s see if you know why:

  1. I think your answer is wrong. When I drop both a thick and a thin tile on the floor, the thin tile is the one that always breaks.
  2. A thinner tile is just as strong as a thick one after it is installed and is joined to the wall or floor with the appropriate adhesive.
  3. The thickness of tile has to do with the method of production and the type of clay body or bisque, not its strength and durability.

So how much common sense do you have?
The first three readers (US residents only) to respond with the correct answers to all five questions will win:
1st Place Price – $15 gift certificate to Starbucks.
2nd Place Prize – Hand painted tile Trivet and four tile coasters
3rd Place Prize – Four Hand painted tile coasters

Answers will appear in the next Sunny McLean Blog in Tile Talk.