Concrete TileLearn about the benefits of installing concrete tile versus traditional tile materials such as ceramic, vinyl, porcelain, and marble
When installing tile in your home, you're no longer limited to run-of-the-mill factory-produced ceramic, porcelain, or vinyl floor tiles. A new budget friendly, versatile, and long-lasting alternative is precast concrete tile, custom made for your application. Concrete tile can be used just about anywhere, indoors or out, including floors, walls, fireplace surrounds, pools and patios, shower enclosures, countertops, backsplashes, and building façades. In many cases, concrete tile sizes, finishes, and colors can be customized to suit your design needs.
Concrete Tile Is More Versatile
You can find concrete tile patterns that fit any room size. You're not limited to standard-sized squares. Although you can certainly recreate the look of tiles with repeating squares, concrete allows more versatility for including cutouts and embeds, imprinted patterns, three-dimensional sculptural designs, and more. Check out these images of concrete tile patterns or view the entire concrete tile photo gallery:
Concrete Tile Offers More Color Options
You're not limited to a predetermined color palette as is typical with factory-produced tile. With concrete, you can customize the color of your tiles to blend with your décor, such as choosing a shade that complements the wallpaper in your kitchen. Concrete tile manufacturers offer thousands of color options, ranging from soft natural earth tones to vibrant cherry reds. You can go with a uniform color or add more character by dreaming up a custom color blend. Read more about coloring concrete.
How Does Concrete Tile Stack Up In Price Compared To Traditional Tile Materials?
One of the best attributes of concrete is its ability to be tailored to any budget. Certainly, there are types of ceramic or vinyl tiles that may cost less, but you'll generally have to make sacrifices in quality and design versatility.
Talk to the contractors who make concrete tiles (see our list of resources) and they'll be able to find a way to produce the look that fits your budget parameters and design needs. Craig Smith, owner of Dex Industries in Atlanta, a company that designs and builds concrete countertops, custom tiles, and more, says, "Not only can we produce elegant tile designs, we can do shorter runs than are possible for a ceramic tile maker."
How Will Concrete Tile Hold Up In My House Or Business?
Concrete is one of the most durable and long-lasting surfaces around. It is an optimal flooring surface for homes, offices, and retail environments because it can resist wear and tear, heavy foot traffic, stains, and moisture exposure. Check out these other resources about the durability of concrete: Questions about Concrete Floors
Concrete Tile Is Environmentally Friendly
Concrete tiles are often produced by local manufacturers and use recycled materials, such as crushed glass, recycled aggregates, and silica fume (a byproduct from other industrial processes). In addition, concrete tiles are so durable, they rarely require replacement. If you ever do decide to replace them, the concrete can be recycled. Read more about the eco-friendly benefits of concrete.
Overview Of Concrete Tile Installation
Concrete tiles can, for the most part, be installed like other types of tile. But there are some caveats to be aware of:
Concrete tile is a bit heavier than ceramic tile.
Concrete tile should be handled with care prior to and during installation. Avoid stacking the tiles and dropping them.
To prevent staining, it is advisable to seal concrete tile surfaces with a penetrating sealer before grouting. This will also make it easier to spread the grout and assist in cleanup.
You should always test a colored grout on a spare piece of concrete tile to be sure that the grout pigment does not stain the tile surface.
For installation of concrete tiles use a name-brand fortified thin-set or tile mastic that is recommended for the surface you are mounting the tile to.
After beginning tile installation, remove a piece of tile to inspect the coverage of adhesive you are getting on the back. Ideally, it should be covering 90% to 100% of the surface.
Due to the weight of concrete, when installing on walls you will need to support each tile to avoid slipping.
Maintaining Concrete Tiles
The maintenance requirements for concrete tiles will vary depending on the application and whether the tiles are used on an exterior or interior surface. For example, concrete tiles used as an interior wall cladding will require very little maintenance, while tiles used on a floor or countertop or on an exterior surface exposed to the elements will require regular cleaning and resealing to keep them looking their best. Read these how-to tips for cleaning concrete floors, countertops, and exterior surfaces.
How Have Others Used Concrete Tile?
The applications for precast concrete tiles are virtually endless. They can be used indoors or out for flooring, countertops, patios, wall and fireplace claddings, and more. Here's a look at a few unique projects.
Who Makes Concrete Tile?
Concrete tiles are available in myriad styles and finishes to suit just about any design theme. Of course, you'll find classic smooth concrete tiles that mimic traditional ceramic. But manufacturers also offer organic textures that replicate natural materials such as wood, bamboo, or stone. And for the more daring, you can find many unusual or novel patterns and finishes, including tire tread imprints, cloud patterns, and metallic finishes. In many cases, tile sizes can be custom made to fit the application and space.
To view the many options, check out these resources for precast concrete tiles:
West Milford, NJ
Get more concrete interior floor design ideas