We have all heard the term Encaustic in relation to cement tile, but what does it actually mean? Below is a brief article our Tile Scout did with the Austin American Statesman on this very subject. Nick has travelled the world visiting cement tile factories and is very familiar with the production process. Follow This link to the actual article.
Big thanks to David Wilfong for the write up.
Tuesday, Jun 7, 2016 @ 3:29pm
By David Wilfong
Encaustic tiles are a very ornate and diverse covering that has been a favorite aesthetic element in architecture for centuries.
The origins of the style go back to southern France more than 210 years ago, and it’s a bit of a motif with a misnomer.
“These tiles are very commonly referred to as ‘cement encaustic tiles,’ but they are, by definition, absolutely not encaustic,” said Nick Barreiro of Clay Imports at 12024 N. Lamar Blvd. in Austin. “ 'Encaustic' is a wax-based application to metal plates to create a certain aesthetic on oil-based paintings. It’s like an inlay of wax on a painting.
“These are just cement, so a lot of people tend to think the colors are embedded into the surface through the surface, but they’re not. They’re all actually poured in place, so the more accurate description would be ‘cement-poured tiles.' ”
The primary ingredients are Portland cement and sand, and natural pigments to color the cement. There’s no “firing” in the production process, as the tiles are layered and compressed at 18,000 psi, usually with a hydraulic press, then soaked in water for two days. As a result, these tiles have almost no “off-gassing” and are incredibly environmentally friendly.
Below is an excellent visual example of the pouring referenced above from our friends at Karo Istanbul.