Posts Tagged ‘ceramic tile’

  • Don’t Forget About Porcelain Tile!

    Date: 2013.08.28 | Category: History of Tile, Tips and Advice | Response: 0

    There are times when a proper porcelain tile is simply a better choice than ceramic. With a water absorption rate of less than .5 percent, porcelain tiles are available in glazed or unglazed varieties.

    This lower water absorption rate means that porcelain is a very durable choice for floor surfaces and areas of high wear and hard knocks. Because the material is much harder and denser compared to most ordinary ceramic tile, its usefulness in these areas is pretty clear. The dense, hard surface of porcelain can be polished to a high gloss, creating a shine without the need of a glaze.

    Here’s the thing: porcelain and ceramic aren’t actually different types of tile. They’re actually both ceramic tile. Porcelain tile is simply fired for longer and at higher temperatures that what we consider ceramic. At a glance, you really can’t tell the difference between a proper porcelain tile and a proper ceramic tile.

    Courtesy of

    For durability, porcelain wins. It’s a combination of the higher kilning temperature and a higher concentration of feldspar. The resulting density can be a pain to cut and fabricate at the DIY-level. Ceramic tile is quite a bit easier to cut — by hand, wet tile saw, or snap tile cutter.

    Generally speaking, porcelain tends to be a bit more brittle compared to ceramic, so exercise care if you’re going to attempt cutting it yourself.

    Here’s an installation tip: Be sure to allow enough time for your thin-set to dry before applying any grout. Because porcelain absorbs so little moisture, the only place where the water content from thin set can escape is through the grout joints. Allow at least 24 hours before grouting. This will allow excess moisture enough time to evaporate. Trapped moisture can cause a host of problems with your installation.

    Note as well: typical ready-mix adhesives are not recommended for porcelain due to the material’s weight and density. Only use adhesives specially formulated for use with porcelain.

  • How Ceramic Tile Is Made [Video]

    Date: 2013.04.09 | Category: Custom Tile, History of Tile, Ideas and Inspiration | Response: 0

    The process for making ceramic tile hasn’t really changed much in over 4,000 years. Beautiful and intricate tiled surfaces have been discovered in the oldest Egyptian pyramids, in the ruins of Babylon, and across the ancient world, a testament to the durability and longevity of fired tile. Ceramic tiles are nothing more than clay that has been fired at extremely high temperatures in a kiln, a technology that was first discovered by ancient Egyptians and refined over the centuries. Each type of clay possesses a unique combination of special properties such as plasticity, hardness and lightness, as well as color and texture, which makes some clays better suited for one kind of ceramic than another. The correct clay mixture needed for a particular purpose can be created by blending clays and adding other materials, but using the wrong type of clay can result in expensive production problems such as crazing (the formation of tiny cracks in a tile glaze) or warping of the tile itself.

    There are several methods used for making ceramic tiles: extrusion; compaction or dust-pressing; cutting from a sheet of clay; or molded in a wooden or metal frame. Quarry tiles are extruded, but most ceramic floor tiles, including traditional encaustic, geometric and ceramic “mosaic” tiles are made from refined and blended ceramic powders using the compaction method, known as dust-pressing. Once formed, tiles are dried slowly and evenly to avoid warpage, then fired in a special kiln that controls high, even heat at temperatures up to 1200°C (or approximately 2500°F) for 30-40 hours. Higher temperatures produce denser tiles with harder glazes. Most ceramic tiles require only one firing to achieve low porosity and become vitrified or grass-like, but some, especially highly decorated tiles, are fired more than once. Non-vitreous and semi-vitreous tiles are fired at lower temperatures and are much more porous.

    The modern tile industry was advanced by Herbert Minton in 1843 when he revived the lost art of encaustic tile-making in England. The industry was further revolutionized in the 1840s by the “dust-pressing” method which consisted of compressing nearly dry clay between two metal dies. Dust-pressing replaced tile-making by hand with wet clay, and facilitated mechanization of the tile-making industry.

    In the days since, most of the tile-making process has been further mechanized and industrialized, but the foundational techniques of firing clay are still very much the same, as you’ll see in the video below:

  • Six Principles of Designing With Tile

    Date: 2013.03.21 | Category: Ideas and Inspiration, Tips and Advice | Response: 0


    Color is always a designer’s best friend. Color choice sets the mood and tone of a room’s design and aesthetic and reflect our lifestyles and sensibilities. Bold to soft e. Do you want to make a modern statement? Use modern color treatments. More traditional? More muted, natural earth tones and pastel colors. Mixing colors in the same room can have an incredibly dramatic effect.
    Colored Tiles

    Direction and Pattern

    A block or grid pattern can be static and sensible; turning the tile to a 45 degree angle in a diagonal pattern can again add interest and the suggestion of movement. From herringbone to basketweaves, insets to more elaborate inlays, even the ubiquitous 4 x 4 inch tile can have a dramatic and sustaining effect on a room’s overall design.
    Tile Pattern


    Choose your grout carefully. There are a variety of grouts available, specific to installation needs. A grout in a contrasting color will emphasize the tile pattern, a grout in a complimentary colors to the tile will emphasize the tile itself.
    Kitchen Remodel - Nov.  2007


    Don’t underestimate the importance of the size of an individual tile itself! The size of the tiles will affect the perception and appreciation of a design. Small tiny 1″x1″ tiles have a much different look than 24″x24″ tiles. The 13″x13″ tile is the ‘standard’ size for tile. Using larger or smaller tiles and combining them will effect the look will achieve. Too large of a tile overpowers the design, as can too small a tile.


    There are decorative tiles available — listellos, corners, insets and mosaics, for example. Create medallions or an area rug look on a floor or build visual interest with horizontal lines of listellos on a wall.
    Decorative mosaic tiled walls in the Mexuar


    You can use various textures together for unique effects. Insetting river stones into heavy grout lines or creating patterns using small pieces of broken and mixed tile, for example, or using rough, rustic textured tile with polished glass tile or a heavily-glazed ceramic.
    tile texture background pattern

  • Do I Need To Use Sealer On Ceramic Tile?

    Date: 2012.09.04 | Category: Bathrooms, Tips and Advice | Response: 0

    Sealing your tile is determined by the type of tile that you used -glazed or unglazed. If you’re unclear on the difference between the two, we wrote a previous blog post on glazed vs. unglazed tile.

    So what’s the difference when it comes to sealer?

    Sealer is unnecessary and should never be used on glazed tile. Sealer is often used on unglazed natural clay tile, pavers or unglazed porcelain tile. Some manufacturers of these products recommend a particular sealer. However, in most cases a good penetrating sealer is advisable. It is usually invisible or provides a soft luster. Heavy sealers such as urethane are not recommended because of potential scaling or uneven wearing.

  • Friday Tile Inspiration

    Date: 2012.08.24 | Category: Bathrooms, Custom Tile, Ideas and Inspiration, Kitchens | Response: 0

    Happy Friday! We’re kicking off the weekend with these inspiring, ceramic tile ideas from Pinterest. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

    Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

    Source: via Tan on Pinterest

  • Tile Color Variation

    Date: 2012.06.13 | Category: Custom Tile, Ideas and Inspiration, Tips and Advice | Response: 0

    When pondering a custom tile installation, it’s important to know each tiles’ color or shade variation. Color consistency (shade variation) is typically listed on the back label of a ceramic tile sample. Ratings include low, moderate, high or random. Here’s how to decipher these ratings:

    Low means consistent shade and texture

    Moderate means average shade and texture variation, varied yet similar.

    High means extreme shade and texture variation, however all the colors will be present in a single piece of tile to some degree.

    Random means severe shade and texture variation for a random, unique installation that could be totally different colors.

    This online chart helps visualize all the tile color variations.


  • The Look And Feel Of Wood With The Durability Of Tile

    Date: 2012.05.06 | Category: Bathrooms, Custom Tile, Ideas and Inspiration, Kitchens, Living Rooms | Response: 0

    Love the look of hardwood, but want the durability of ceramic tile? There’s a solution for you!

    Wood tile is a ceramic or porcelain tile that is made to look like a genuine hardwood floor. The tiles can also be textured to resemble the feel of natural hardwood floors in addition to the look of hardwood. Modern style wood tiles are available as well as tiles that give a traditional hardwood look. They can also come in an aged or distressed look for an old-fashioned, antique style. As with all tile installations, the choices for a hardwood look are vast. The tiles are created to simulate virtually every type of wood grain- chestnut, maple, mahogany, oak, etc.

    Here are just a few of the benefits of a ceramic, wood tile over natural hardwood flooring:

    • Ceramic tile that looks like wood is easy to clean & sanitize (perfect for kitchen or bathroom installations.)
    • No fear of water damage.
    • Say goodbye to felt pads under your furniture! Ceramic tile is resistant to scratches.
    • Extremely durable in high traffic areas.
    • Also resistant to fire, pest damage, moisture.

    Do not hesitate to contact Garretson Tile Company in Gettysburg, PA with any questions about a custom, wood tile installation!

    Source: via Venta on Pinterest

  • Floor Construction For Ceramic Tile

    Date: 2012.03.28 | Category: Custom Tile, Tips and Advice | Response: 1

    A common question we hear when it comes to ceramic tile installation is , “Does ceramic tile require a special floor construction?”

    In answer to this question: Standard floor construction of 2″ x 10″ floor joists spaced 16″ on center with 5/8″ plywood underlayment is suitable. However, more than 20 years experience shows that rigid cementitious backer board is superior to plywood as an underlayment. Whether consisting of a double layer of plywood or a layer of plywood with cement board on top, the total thickness of the subfloor must be at least 1-1/4″. A clean, structurally sound concrete slab is suitable and does not require additional underlayment. In some cases 1/4″ or 1/2″ thick cement board can be laminated directly over existing floor coverings without having to remove them.

    If you have any tile questions, we would be more than happy to answer them! Please leave us a comment.

  • An Important Tile Resource

    Date: 2012.03.15 | Category: Custom Tile, Tips and Advice | Response: 0

    Tile Council of America provides valuable information on the proper installation of ceramic tile in virtually any condition. They research all the installation methods and conditions and annually publish industry standards for the installation of tile.

    Any reputable Ceramic Tile Contractor will be very familiar with their publication. At Garretson Tile Company it’s our “bible”.

    Visit for endless amounts of resources and tips.

    The Garretson Tile Showroom

    One particular example is this great article called “Ceramic Tile for Geniuses and Dummies”  presented by Robert E. Daniels, Executive Director Emeritus of TCNA. This article discusses the intricacies of the tile business and how important it is to work with a reputable Tile Contractor. There are so many variables when it comes to tile. The article also details the basics in ceramic tile. Here is an excerpt:

    Ceramic tile itself can be a complex subject. Let’s slice down the layers of complexity and make it simple. There are two major types of tile, quarry tile: that is tile that is made by extrusion from natural clay or shale and tile that is made by the pressed dust method. This category includes wall tile, mosaic tiles, and floor tile. Either type of tile can be glazed or fired as unglazed. Glaze is a ceramic surfacing material that is used to provide a certain appearance. Let me restate this point: any ceramic tile type may be glazed or unglazed. This includes porcelain tiles. Read more here.

    Bottom line is: Do your research and be sure to speak with a tile expert. A general flooring expert and tile expert are two very different things.

  • Inspirational Tile Artisans

    Date: 2011.08.01 | Category: Ideas and Inspiration | Response: 0

    Tile Magazine did a recent feature on Art and Specialty Tile. The article focused on three very different artisans and their inspiration behind their works. Just reading about their thought processes and creativity is extremely inspiring.

    Here are a few excerpts from the article about the artisans, but you will want to check out the full article here by Joann Locktov.

    Marie Gibbons: Tactile Memory Tile
    “Gibbons took to the street to create her “Urban” tile series. Rolling slabs on city streets, she memorialized the debris of Sidewalks: manhole covers, cracks, and asphalt joints. The 5” square fired slabs were washed with black acrylic, which was then scrubbed off to reveal the white clay body. The gritty abstractions that remain are a tactile memory of every street Gibbons has traversed. Growing up on Long Island, Gibbons balances urban reality with the beaches and more natural environment of her childhood. Both co-exist and inspire work that is derived from the freedom to explore.”

    The work of Marie Gibbons. Courtesy of Tile Magazine.

    Susan Tunick: The Color of Clay
    “Ceramic artist Susan Tunick has a penchant for scale and surface. All of her creations, site-specific sculptures, mosaic murals and individual bricks and tiles are testaments to architecture. The surfaces are intricately laced, lush in color and texture. Studying architectural ornamentation has given Tunick a heightened awareness of edges, shadows and context-both physical and historical.

    Tunick’s perforated tiles and brick Units…explore dimension. The perforated tiles are built with layers revealing surprising glimpses of pattern and depth. The perforations are witty reminders to both inspect and respect what lies beneath the facade.”

    Layered tile by Susan Tunick

    Art of Board: From Tailside to Tile
    “Scratched, dented, smashed, and abused, what to do with skateboard relics that are too damaged to carry their intrepid riders? Rich Moorhead appreciated the dense seven-ply laminated maple, the graffiti inspired graphics, and turned up tails. Where others saw broken sports equipment destined for landfill he saw an authentic surface material. Experimenting with the tools of the construction trade, he utilizes scroll and ban saws, routers, drills and sanders to create tile in four shapes, brick, cube, border and orb. He sorts the tile pieces by color, form and size. This gives a rhythm to the cacophony of pieces, the better to reconstruct walls, countertops, backsplashes, cladding and retail displays.

    Finished with sanded grout, the tile is being used in residential and commercial applications. What on first glance looks like a vibrant colored mosaic, is upon closer inspection an energetic expression of an irreverent sport that has been with us since the fifties. When Moorhead was commissioned to create tile cladding for a square column at Life Rolls On, a subsidiary of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, he integrated “positive orbs.” He searched his bins for life affirming words and images, cut them out in circles and placed them strategically amongst the carnival of scarred tiles. He also included a Superman logo in homage to the enduring Reeve film legacy.

    Skateboards are designed to be functional and illustrative, at Art of Board their purpose is sustained, without injury.”