Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Better Saltillo Tile: Rustic Cement Tile Pavers

Saltillo tile entry with cement tile rug
A Saltillo tile entry features a cement tile rug. Via Vanguard Studio, Inc.

A few weeks ago, we spoke about the history, production and properties of Saltillo tile. To recap, hand-crafted from natural clay deposits, authentic Saltillo tile can only come from one place in the world - Saltillo, in the state of Coahuila in Mexico. The process of turning this special Mexican clay into tiles has remained unchanged since 1577.

This week, we'll be addressing the what Saltillo tile is and is not, while offering a handmade, sustainable product that resembles Saltillo in looks, but inherently contains additional long-lasting, maintenance-free properties.

To recap, Saltillo tiles:
  • Vary in color and shape 
  • Colors range from reds, oranges and yellows. 
  • Tiles are shaped either by hand-presses, or carved with desired shape. 
  • Couples perfectly with hand-painted decorative ceramic tiles

Saltillo tile walkway features hand-painted ceramic tiles on the risers.
Saltillo tile walkway features hand-painted ceramic tiles on the risers.  

Now, let's take a look at Rustic Cement Tile Pavers. While it's not strictly Saltillo Tile, our handmade Rustic Cement Tile Pavers offer the same look that you love in Saltillo tile with the added benefits of:

  • Similar handmade look
  • Color variations
  • Variety of formats, textures
  • Made in the USA
  • True "through body" color
  • Resistant to scratches, cuts
  • Rated for freeze/thaw cycles
  • Stronger body, less maintenance

How to Buy Rustic Cement Tile Pavers
Buying Rustic Pavers is as easy as one, two, three. Color choice is the most important point. It's a good idea to get several color chips or each color to help get an idea of the variation and texture that you'll see. If you want the look of Saltillo, then select from the four paver colors below.

If you want the look of Saltillo, then select from the four paver colors below.
These four Rustic Cement Tile Pavers offer the look of Saltillo tiles.

The tiles come with a standard smooth finish; however, additional textures are available to create a weathered, antiqued patina. There are four standard Rustic Paver Textures.

For a weathered, antiqued patina, add texture to your Rustic Cement Tile Pavers.
To create a weathered, antiqued patina, consider adding
one of these four standard Rustic Paver Textures.

Designing with Tile

Rustic Cement Tile Pavers offer the same look as Saltillo tiles, with added benefits.

Now that Spring has arrived, it's time to spruce up the outdoors. As an alternative to Saltillo tiles, our Rustic Cement Tile Pavers offer a year-round solution. With a wide variety of colors and shapes available, your design is only limited by your imagination.

Lastly, visit our dedicated Rustic Cement Tile Paver page for any questions you may have. Of course, you can also call our office at 888.739.4972, and we would be more than happy to help with your purchasing decisions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tile Trends 2015: Variety is the Spice of Tile

Last week was action-packed as I made my annual pilgrimage to Coverings, a trade show for tile and stone. The week-long event took place in Orlando, Florida and was filled with highlights including seeing long-time friends, a face-to-face meeting with designer Alena Capra, and listening to Ryan FasanTile of Spain's Technical consultant, speak about tile trends and design.

Coverings 2015
Bill Buyok, Avente Tile owner, at Coverings 2015

It's thrilling to share the industry trends with you and unveil our newest lines (drum roll please).

Hexagons are Hot
Anyone in attendance would agree that you could not avoid spotting the sexy six-sided polygon just about anywhere on the show floor. Hexagons tile formats were everywhere - as small mosaics, in elongated forms, bold colors, and in relief formats. Hands down, Elevations concave hexagon and 3D hexagon by Aguayo was one of my favorite tile finds.


3 shades hex
Elevations 3D Hex in three shades of grey adds interest to a classic pattern with concave and convex dimension.

wax finished cement hex
Concave Hexagon in black with a waxed finish is a new cast cement line from Aguayo.

Formats, Patterns, Texture and Technology Blend
Ryan Fasan mentioned that the tile industry is at an exciting crossroads of blending artisanal technique with technology to provide a blending of looks never before seen or achieved. Think of this as cement tile meets thin formats and ink jet printer techniques, Last year I saw wood-look, stone-look, and cement tile designs infused on porcelain tile. Now, these different material looks (wood, stone, metal, and pattern) are being subtly blended onto tile to create sophisticated designs. While this is most prevalent in the state-of-the-art factories of Spain and Italy, you are seeing the same effect in the hand-crafted tiles in the Americas.

The new Hex line by Original Mission Tile shows how classic shapes are mixed with pattern to create complex, interesting and modern designs.

Pattern hexagons
Pattern plays on popular hexagon shapes using metal grey and warm earth tones.

2 tone hexagons

Wood look rustic tile
The rustic wood look of this beach house vignette is created with tile

cascading gold hexagon mosaics
Cascading gold hexagon mosaics from Onix.

Textured Tile Shapes
There is a strong trend to add interest to classic geometric shapes with texture and relief. The popular hexagon shape gets reinterpreted with concave relief as shown above. But, I love the rich and sexy shape of this teardrop in chocolate brown. Wouldn't this be lovely in a bathroom with different shades of blue? This also part of the new Elevations line from Aguayo that will be available from Avente soon.

Concave drops
Concave drops in chocolate brown create the sumptuous look of leather and add richness with the relief texture.

luxurious gold hexagons
Apavisa gold hexagons create a luxe look with a classic shape

Textile influences are also growing with the emphasis of textured surfaces. Pins and Needles is a line completely inspired by fabrics, lace, and textile. The cast cement line is available in almost any color; but I love this line in its classic look on white. This is another line by Aguayo Cement Tile.

Brussels Lace
Brussels Lace showcases texture inspired by fabric and lace.

The folks at In-Pietra from Mexico have captured the essence of creating dazzling texture in stone.

carved stone effect
Texture created by carved stone and effective lighting adds richness to any design.

It's not easy to recap a week of inspiration, trends, and learning. I came back from the show energized and excited. This is the best of the best in one (short) post and captures the essence of the show and what excites me. I'll share more trends in a future posts as we launch many of these new lines over the next six weeks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Kitchen Design with Your Range Hood in Mind

Guest post by Samantha Velez, Range Hoods Inc

While designing a home kitchen, making choices can feel overwhelming at times. Your mind races with thoughts like, “What do I pick first? The counter or the backsplash tile?” There are so many elements that go into the design, including the cabinetry, range hood, range and flooring.

When designing your kitchen, all of the elements play a large role. The tile, flooring and backsplash are all important and influence the bigger picture. However, don't forget about how important the range hood is. Make sure to include it as a part of your design plan.

To help you make these decisions, we would like to overview the styles of range hoods that are available for your kitchen remodeling project. These are the hoods you will have to work within the whole kitchen design.

Under Cabinet Range Hood

Kitchen Design Range Hood 1
Image credit: Avente Tile customer Constance Zaytoun, Chelsea, NY

Under cabinet range hoods are mounted above the range and underneath a cabinet. These units take up less space while providing optimal kitchen ventilation above the cooking surface. In the photo above, the backsplash tile, the color of the cabinetry and the range hood style all come together to create a beautiful kitchen design. The stainless steel range and range hood frame the beautiful blues and reds that pop out throughout the design.

Kitchen Design Range Hood 2
Image credit: Avente Customer, Laurie Saurez.

Wall mount range hoods are also mounted above the range and on the wall. There is no cabinetry above these units. If you are considering installing a wall mount range hood in your kitchen remodel, be sure that your cabinetry allows space for the unit.

The wall mount range hood in the photo above is decorated with straps and rivets. This decorative stainless steel range hood frames the beautiful patchwork tile backsplash in this kitchen. All of the design elements, including the lighting, task lighting and flooring, work together and feel balanced in this kitchen.

Insert Liner Range Hood

Kitchen Design Range Hood 3
Image credit: Avente Customer Mark and Erin C. of central New York

Insert liner range hoods are small range hood units that are designed to be hidden from view. The push button controls and lights are usually on the bottom of the unit, so they can easily be accessed while being hidden from sight at the same time.

It is common for insert liner range hoods to be embedded in the cabinet or in a decorative exterior such as the one in the photo above. At first glance, you cannot tell there is a range hood there. If you look closely, however, you can see the hidden lights shining down on the range. In this case, the insert liner range hood does not cover up the beautiful backsplash tile. In this design, the backsplash tile is the star.

Island Range Hoods

Kitchen Design Range Hood 4

Unlike the previous range hoods in this article, an island range hood is not mounted against a wall. These models are mounted from the ceiling above the kitchen island. These are used in kitchens in which the cooking surface is installed on top of the kitchen island.

Remember, island mount range hoods will become a focal point in your kitchen design. Even so, don’t forget to tile the backsplash. Make sure other design elements still shine through in the bigger picture.

We hope this has helped you and empowered you to make some decisions that will enhance your kitchen remodel.

About the Author
Samantha Velez is the Content Specialist at Range Hoods Inc, an online retailer of kitchen range hoods and kitchen sinks. Visit Range Hoods Inc today to learn more.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Saltillo Tile's Centuries-Old Allure

Saltillo tile exudes Old World charm
Coupled with decorative ceramic tiles, Saltillo tile exudes Old World charm.

Hand-crafted from natural clay deposits, authentic Saltillo tile can only come from one place in the world - Saltillo, in the state of Coahuila in Mexico. The process of turning this special Mexican clay into tiles has remained unchanged since 1577.

Saltillo tiles are shaped either by pressing quarried clay with a wooden frame, or by carving out the desired shape. After they spend some time drying in the sun, the tiles are moved to the kiln.

Now, depending on where the raw tile is positioned within the beehive-like kiln, the tile can take on hues ranging from yellow to a rich orange to dark terracotta. Coupled with hand-painted decorative ceramic tiles, such as our Barcelona, California, Malibu, or Spanish collections, a walkway, stairs, steps or risers could easily be transformed into a Mediterranean landscape, Spanish Villa or Mexican Hacienda.

Saltillo tile pavers look great with Spanish-style homes.
Saltillo tile pavers look great with Spanish-style homes.

Traditionally, Saltillo tiles are left unglazed, although some manufacturers sell them pre-treated or pre-sealed in order to increase their durability. According to the John Bridge Forum:

"Saltillo tile floors must be sealed with a penetrating tile sealer, and usually a top finish is applied to act as a sort of glaze. The tiles must dry a minimum of three weeks after installation before the sealer is applied. It usually takes at least two applications to completely saturate the tiles. The sealer is applied with a paint roller. A brush is used at the edges.

The final finish coat will probably be an acrylic, obtainable from either tile or paint stores. This also is applied with paint rollers and brushes and may require two coats to do the job.

Eventually, this finish will wear off in areas of traffic and will have to be replaced. The floor will be chemically stripped of the old finish before the new coating is applied. It is best to have this done by professionals."

Moreover, it should be noted that unglazed Saltillo tile is highly porous; it soaks in liquid easily. Because of this, it's difficult to install as it will absorb water from the thin-set mortar, grout, grease pencils, etc. Once it is placed, it will stain and scuff easily if not properly sealed and maintained with a quality sealant.

Saltillo tile is popular in Mediterranean-like climates where freeze/thaw cycles are non-existent.
Saltillo is popular in Mediterranean-like climates.

Lastly, Saltillo is not recommended for outdoor installation in freeze-thaw climates, although it is a popular choice in warmer climates, such as the American Southwest and Mediterranean countries.

Next time, we'll discuss the advantages of using Rustic Cement Tile Pavers as a better alternative to Saltillo Tile.

In the mean time, visit our dedicated Saltillo page for more background and information about this handmade tile.

Designing with Tile

Avente Tile's Saltillo Tile Pinterest board

"Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!" ‒ Sitting Bull

Creating something from so little is not only ingenious; it's a testament to the determination and creative needs of ancestors. Such is the case in the creation of Saltillo tiles. With the help of ample sun and regional clay earth, two perfect, coexisting ingredients were combined to create long-lasting tiles that have graced homes, missions, and palaces over several centuries.

Now that Spring has arrived, it's time to spruce up the outdoors. As an alternative to Saltillo tiles, our Rustic Cement Tile Pavers offer a year-round solution. With a wide variety of colors and shapes available, your design is only limited by your imagination.

Make sure to check out the complete collection of Rustic Cement Tile Pavers for a wide variety of color, glaze, shape and size options.