Ceramic is a familiar alternative to vinyl and stone tiles. Not necessarily as expensive as typical marble or granite flooring, these offer cool and eco-compliant solutions. Vinyl may be a relatively cost-effective solution, but it is neither natural and nor does it offer significant aesthetic advantages. So, if you are looking to balance everything from aesthetics to budget and good health (environment-friendly), find someone to tell you all about ceramics. These are available by a wide diversity of colors and textures. In fact, look for someone who works with the material instead of just obtaining them from the producer and selling them.
The first benefit of this approach is obviously the wealth of experience to suggest the best. A professional can easily confirm the high durability of the medium, and tips on long term maintenance. The durability of this age-old medium is already familiar in seeing it on old architectural and novelty heritage. Thousands of years old monuments of ancient Rome, Middle East (Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem), India, and Turkey still have their age-old ceramic tiles in excellent condition. Even the residence of the Queen of England, the famed Buckminster Palace displays some fabulous spaces covered with ceramics.
For the uninitiated, ceramic is essentially a general term defining a glazed product manufactured by heating a non-metallic mineral at an extremely high temperature. Given its wide scope of definition, expect a great deal of creative diversity as the artist works magic on the piece of clay just as you want to see. Encaustic tiles are exclusive because, in these, the designer inlays the pattern onto its body instead of painting on the surface. These artistic pieces can be perfect options to decorate a space of wall in your place with literally anything you want to see in this permanence.
Always ensure that you are working with a talented designer because a lot of details go into the manufacturing process. If the original clay quality is not right, or if it does not go through proper processing, it won’t be a durable or beautiful one. It takes the experience to judge the nature of clay and to regulate the timing and temperature of the kiln among other things! Visit the artist’s workshop, make your queries, and commission your requirements according to your estimated budget.
Installing the tiles
Verify the viability of the manufacturing process, the cost advantage, tentative delivery time, and whether you can get exactly what you need for your home. Another advantage of working with an art professional is that she is equally deft with colors and paintbrushes as with the technical aspects of bringing out a perfect tile from the kiln, and have it repeated as many times as necessary.
Photo by Robert Anasch
Prior to installing them, you ought to know how many units you need. It is an easy calculation. One would only need to calculate the exact area of the floor space, and then divide it with the area covered by a single tile to deduce the number of units. You may need to arrange a home visit with the person concerned to take proper measurements unless you can take it yourself accurately. The tiles near the wall may need to be cut to fit in according to your necessity. It is important to note that you should always commission the production of at least a dozen extra tiles, just in case. Sometimes, despite observing utmost care, these units chip at the corner or develop a crack. A set of these may slip from the hand and break! Those extra tiles would automatically fill in the gap without delay.
Now, to begin the actual installation process, wipe and wash the marked area and let it dry before setting the layout with pencil marks. A professional typically sets the tiles drily at first (without mortar) just so to make sure that everything is alright. This is also the time to make the final measurements and cut the units near the wall accordingly. It is a precise job, one that requires leaving space for applying grout.
Remove the units, the loose pieces, and make any final change in the layout, if necessary. Proceed with placing the mortar with an appropriate notched trowel unit by unit. It is necessary to proceed one by one to avoid hardening of the mortar. Lay the tiles and tap each one gently with a rubber mallet to set it in place. Plastic spacers are useful to maintain even grout lines between successive tiles. This is a tedious and articulate job. It can take from one day to a few days depending on the available time and the covered area. Once it is over, start placing the grout in the gaps. Wipe away the excess with the grout sponge.
Allow it to dry and then again dry wipe the hazy residue. That should do. Behold and admire your new floor or wall decoration with ceramic tiles.