Encaustic tiles have been around since medieval times, but they’re currently enjoying a bit of a moment. I’m a huge fan, and can’t help but think that their popularity owes to their timeless beauty. You can get them in colorful, intricate curlicues or modern geometric patterns, but they always have a certain “been here forever” rustic charm.
Encaustic tiles are produced by using multiple colors of clay in the body of the tile, so that the patterns you see are integral to the tiles. Because they are not merely glazed onto the surface the color will never wear off. Old-school encaustic tile, which can be seen in many European homes, can have incredibly intricate patterns, but lately there’s been a wave of tiles created with more modern designs. You’ll occasionally hear it referred to as ‘cement tile or concrete tile’ as well. The look is similar, but the material and method of fabrication is different with different appropriate uses.
It’s important to understand what an encaustic tile is and what a cement tile is. The names get confused by everyone, even by tile manufactures and tile vendors. Both tiles are un-glazed; but, there are very important differences. Encaustic tile is generally frost-proof and can be used in any outdoor applications. Cement tile can’t be used in locations subjected to hard freezes and is more commonly found in Mediterranean or tropical climates.
These tiles used as a living room floor mean no need for a rug here. And an added benefit in hot climates is that all that tile feels wonderfully cool underfoot on a hot day.
Encaustic or cement tile is a great way to show off your personality and style in any residential or commercial application and is great on both walls and floors.
Images: Jessica Helgerston Interior Design, Style-Files.com