Everything You Need to Know on Cement Tile (2021 Style Update)

 

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Chances are, you have admired cement tile for quite some time now. Being fashionable since the 19th century in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, cement tiles are now in homes, restaurants, hotels, and other thoughtfully designed spaces all over the United States.

With their myriad customization options, cement tiles have the remarkable ability to morph from style to style, making them a staple in the interior design world.

But it's not always the best fit for your project. By reading this guide, you’ll be able to determine if cement tile is the right style choice for you.

We’ll cover the following topics:

  • - How is cement tile made?
  • - Can I use cement tile for a backsplash?
  • - What are the pros and cons of Cement Tile?
  • - How do I install cement tile?
  • - How do I maintain cement tile?
  • - How do I seal cement tile?
  • - What are cement tile design trends?
  • - What are the specs of Clay Imports cement tile? 

Cement tile restaurant floor from Clay Imports

How is Cement Tile Made?

At Clay Imports, our cement tiles don’t use glazes or kilns. Our craftsmen create these beautiful cement-based surface products 100% pollution free.

 

 

To create the pattern, artisans first build steel molds (think big cookie cutters). Then, they pour natural pigmented colors into the mold. Once all sections are filled, our artisans remove the mold and quickly add layers of a cement mix to avoid colors bleeding into each other.

Finally, a hydraulic press applies pressure evenly until the layers become a single tile.

Then, artisans carefully submerge the tile in water causing the necessary chemical reaction in the concrete to harden. Once this occurs, the tiles are removed from the water, allowed to dry and stacked for proper curing time.

Our cement tile boasts carefully crafted responsibly-sourced materials and eco-friendly day-to-day production processes.

Can I use cement tile for my backsplash?

Yes! 

Cement tiles can be installed indoor and outdoor. The key is to ensure that the cement tile is sealed correctly to prevent moisture from seeping in.

Some of the best places to install cement tile is on a fireplace or a backsplash so there is little to no risk of spills and moisture damaging the tile. 

But honestly - you can use cement tiles anywhere that a structure can support them.

What are the pros and cons of cement tile?

There are tons of variations and considerations when deciding which tile to use for your installation. Here are some of the factors to consider when considering whether or not to use cement tile:

Pros:

  • - It’s eco friendly. Cement tile is made from 100% natural pigments and materials and is recyclable.

  • - It’s very durable.

  • - It will age and develop a patina over time.

Cons:

  • - They can be cold for your feet

  • - They need to be resealed.

  • - They will age and develop a patina. This can be a positive depending on what type of look you appreciate.

  • - Sealing and regular re-sealing is required.

  • - The tiles are heavy. Make sure you have an installer or engineer determine if your structure can support this additional weight.

How do I install cement tile?

We’re glad you asked! We compiled a full guide on how to install cement tile here.

A few things to keep in mind on cement tile installations:

  1. - Preparation: There will be some natural variation in color, design - so we recommend mixing and matching tiles from several boxes.
  2. - Sealing: Adding a sealer before, during and shortly after installation is key to minimize staining.
  3. - Grouting: Don’t use dark grout as it can permanently stain the cement tile.

Moreover, cement tile installation is typically more time-consuming and labor intensive than a clay or ceramic tile installation.

The most common problems associated with cement tile installation are insufficient or inadequate sealing, and grout pigment staining.

How do I seal cement tile?

Before installation:

  • - Lay out all cement tiles. 
  • - Pour your sealer into a bucket. DO NOT pour sealer directly from the bottle onto the tile. 
  • - Dip a durable sponge into your bucket of sealer, dampening the sponge, not saturating it. 
  • - Gently wipe the damp sponge onto the surface of the tile. Do not apply heavy pressure when sealing. Allow the sealer to absorb evenly. 
  • - Any excess sealer that is not absorbing into the tile should be wiped away with a clean, non-fibrous cloth. 
  • - Repeat this step, applying up to 3 coats. Leave the sealer treatment to dry for 6 hours before you proceed to installation.

After installation:

  • - Once the floor is clean and dry, apply two more thin coats of sealer should be applied to the tile. Do not let the sealer puddle or build up on the surface.
  • - Wipe away residue before it dries. Allow about 1 hour of dry time between coats.

How do I maintain cement tile?

  • - Cleaning: Regular mopping with water and a non-acidic cleaner will keep your cement tiles shining. It’s important your cleaner is neutral. Avoid some of these common cleaners:
    • - Ajax
    • - CLR (calcium lime rust) cleaner
    • - Acidic cleaners
    • - Industrial grade high alkaline cleaners
  • - Clean up liquids: Wipe up any spills immediately that cement is porous and can be stained over time from liquids sitting on the floor.
  • - Resealing: Every few years, you’ll need to reseal the cement tile to protect against staining. Read the instructions of your sealer to determine the time frame and follow the after-installation sealing instructions above.

What are cement tile style trends?

We are always in awe of what our customers and designers do with cement tile. A few places to see our design inspiration:

One of your favorites: our Dandy Midnight Cement

Gorgeous elegant bathroom design by Glynis Wood Interiors

 

What are the specs of Clay Imports cement tile?

The most common size of a cement tile is a 8”x8” square or 8” Hexagon. The thickness is about 5/8 inches, mainly because cement tiles are composed of several layers. Cement Tile Spec SheetFinal Thoughts on Cement Tile:

We just threw a lot at you. Here are the big takeaways on cement tile:

  • - Bold designs, vibrant colors or elegant neutrals

  • - A myriad of available customizable patterns

  • - 100% handmade

  • - Eco-friendly, made from 100% natural pigments and materials

  • - 100% Recyclable

  • - Very durable

  • - They age like your favorite pair of jeans and develop a patina over time.

  • - Sealing and regular re-sealing is required to minimize staining

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