Cement tile flooring is a strikingly beautiful floor decoration and besides the fabulous appearance such floors are unpretentious and do not require special care. Of course the tiles can be used as kitchen backsplash or wall tiles, but we shall focus your attention on beautiful home floors.
What are cement tiles? Historically they appeared back in the 12th century in Morocco where local craftsmen manufactured the tiles blending the flavor of local traditions and northern Africa and patterned floors with cement tiles can be found in almost every home. The tiles appeared in Europe in the 18th century and became widely popular. After numerous experiments the craftsmen have come up with a unique production technology and began using clay, cement, sand and natural pigments.
The tiles are manufactured only from natural materials and pigment – sand, cement, color pigments, which makes them an environmentally friendly option, compared to many other alternatives. They are very strong and can be compared with natural stone.
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Cement tile flooring – the art of manufacturing handmade floor tiles
The production of cement tiles is a rather interesting process. Nowadays two technologies are used – European and Moroccan, and they have significant differences but both use natural materials. The process of designing includes a lot of creativity and imagination to combine different colors patterns and shapes. The process begins with a sketch of the tile which is transferred to a framework of metal plates to form a stencil. Then the matrix is filled with colored pigments, marble chips and cement. The stencil is carefully removed and a layer of cement is pored over the colored layer. Further the tile is placed under a hydraulic press where the decorative layer and base firmly sealed. Once compressed the tile is soaked for a while and then left to dry for a period of two to four weeks. When the tiles are completely dry they are ready to be used for cement tile flooring or wall tiles.
Cement tile flooring – the perfect addition to any home
Nowadays the market is full of interesting and original solutions and we are often faced with a difficult choice how to decorate the floor or wall. When you want something unusual and sometimes exclusive, with rich texture and a special pattern and character, cement tiles are an obvious choice.
Cement tile flooring is a very interesting decoration technique. Handmade tile is a unique addition the interior, which can make it even more vibrant, original and creative. Due to the vast choice of forms and patterns and elegant look, it fits into interiors in different styles and works especially well when used in Mediterranean, Mauritian, Continental and Moroccan styled designs and is also popular in vintage interiors. Cement tiles will satisfy the most refined tastes and will enrich your home. The design opportunities are numerous – strict geometric shapes, floral patterns, decorative borders, etc.
There is no limit where you will install the tiles – the living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, children’s room or the patio. They will fit with any interior and will easily blend harmoniously with the overall design concept.
The unique appearance makes them very popular among designers. The matte finish makes them very attractive and gives them “an old world” look. The natural colors makes them especially pleasing to the eye and the thickness of the tiles makes them suitable for both residential and public areas like restaurants, coffee shops, etc. The opportunity for customization is also very tempting, as each customer can create his own pattern and color combination so that the tiles meet his individual taste and requirements. This feature is often used by people who value the uniqueness of the interior design. The fact that cement tiles are not mass produced but handmade means that each tile is manufactured with special care and attention.
What are the pros and cons of cement floor tiles?
The functional advantages are quite many. As mentioned earlier the tiles are eco friendly and can be recycled. The manufacturing process includes a polishing stage which guarantees that the surface colors will retain their brightness for many years. The processing of the surface protects the tiles from dirt, oil and water which is a guarantee for a long lifespan.
The floors have a high resistance to wear and abrasion and can be installed in areas with high humidity, as the cement in wet conditions is gaining strength. Concrete tile flooring does not stain or tear like other types of flooring. They cool or heat up quickly and retain their temperature. Cement tiles can be manufactured with any color or pattern and even made to look like wood, mosaics or any other material.
On the downside is the high price tag which is due to the fact that each tile is manually made and custom designs add to the cost. Cement tiles do not absorb sound which may be a significant disadvantage to some homeowners. When installed in areas with heavy traffic, cement floor tiles will need to be resealed regularly – every two or three months.
The installation process of cement tile floors requires special tools and knowledge. It is not recommended to undertake a DIY project but hire an expert. Tiles are installed on a flat dry surface, close to each other and the joint width must not exceed 1.5 mm. A non colored mixture is recommended as grouting to prevent stains on the tiles.
Cement tile floors are very durable, long-lasting and water resistant. Choosing cement floor tiles you will have the opportunity to select from a variety of colors and patterns and a magnificent interior decoration.