Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Handmade Cement Tile: Defining Quality


Handmade Alcala Cement Tile on a bathroom wall.
Handmade Alcala Cement Tile on a bathroom wall.

In my last post, I introduced Avente Tile’s newly published Guide to Buying Handmade Cement Tile. This 14-page downloadable Guide features information, examples of cement tile installations, FAQs, and more. To understand the nuances of cement tile, let’s look at what cement tile is, and how it differs from ceramic or porcelain tile.

Handmade cement tile in geometric shapes elegantly define a clubhouse restaurant's floor.
Handmade cement tile in geometric shapes elegantly define a clubhouse restaurant's floor.
What is Handmade Cement Tile?
Created using a hydraulic press, cement tiles, also known as encaustic tiles, were first created in the mid-19th century in Europe. They were originally used only in prestigious buildings and high-end homes, but by the turn of the century, cement tiles could be found in homes all over the country.

Unfortunately, around the 1960s and 70s, cement tiles fell out of favor. Thankfully, the need for using “green” sustainable building products has created a renewed interest in cement tile. The wide array of available colors, custom patterns, and the matte finish of the tiles makes them a fresh, yet practical choice for those desiring something unique, sustainable and timeless.

Cement Tiles are:
• Durable
• Long-Lasting
• Sustainable
• Recyclable
• Handmade
• Extensive Color, Design Options

Manufacturing Process
Cement tiles are handmade using a traditional, centuries-old, manufacturing process requiring several steps, unlike ceramic tiles that are kiln-fired. You can see the extensive process of creating individual handmade cement tiles on the blog post, Aguayo Cement Tile Factory Tour.

Color mixtures are hand-poured into molds and grids in which the designs of the cement tile are formed.
Color mixtures are hand-poured into molds and grids in which the designs of the cement tile are formed.

First, the color layer is prepared using a mixture of marble powder, white cement and other minerals. The color mixture is hand-poured into molds and grids in which the designs of the tile are formed. Next, a layer of cement is sprinkled on top, thus providing a bond between the color layer and the body of the tile. A layer of cement and sand then creates the tile body. Each cement tile is then hydraulically pressed into shape to increase density and then cured underwater for up to 28 days to create extra hardness. They are then dried and set to age, which allows the tile to harden even more before shipping.

Handmade cement tiles are dried and set to age on racks, allowing them to harden prior to shipping.
Handmade cement tiles are dried and set to age on racks, allowing them to harden prior to shipping.

Because of the steps needed to create a high-quality cement tile, the cost per tile can range from $12 to $25 per square foot. It can take eight to 10 weeks for your tile to be made. If you choose a customized color, the length of time for delivery, as well as cost, will increase.

Remember, cement tiles are handmade, one tile at a time, making each tile unique and different.- you’ll see the hand of the artisan tile-maker in each cement tile.


Download: Guide to Buying Handmade Cement Tile

Next time, I’ll be talking about the various sizes, shapes and formats available with cement tiles. In the meantime, you can download Avente Tile’s Guide to Buying Handmade Cement Tile to get a head-start on an upcoming project, or just to be inspired!

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 them at 888.739.4972; or email: info@aventetile.com.

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