Cement tiles are all the rage in modern interior design, with their chic matte finish and intricate patterns that bring character to walls and floors. Made from pigmented cement and powdered marble, they’re produced sans glaze, making them more eco-friendly than ceramic tile and more resistant to chipping. But what makes them truly stand out is their ability to be molded and formed in a variety of shapes, colors, textures, and sizes. They can be used on floors, backsplashes, walls, and even in unique applications such as tile rugs.
The process of creating cement tiles is complex, involving multiple steps and materials. First, artisans build steel molds that resemble cookie cutters to separate the different color layers of the tile (think checkerboard cake batter). Then, a layer of white Portland cement is poured into the mold and then topped with a mix of coarse sand and natural mineral pigments. After the color is applied, a dry concrete mixture is added on top of the pigments to reinforce the structure. Finally, the tile is pressed in a hydraulic press to ensure that all the layers are fused together into a single unit.
While the manufacturing process is lengthy, once they’re installed properly, cement tiles can withstand years of use without showing signs of wear and tear. They’re also relatively easy to maintain, with a simple mopping and occasional use of a mild soap. That’s a far cry from the frequent vacuuming and steam cleaning required by carpet, the periodic polishing and refinishing that’s necessary with stone tile, or the wood refinishing needed to maintain a hardwood floor.
Whether you’re going for a livelier Moorish-inspired look or something more classic and traditional, cement tile offers numerous pattern options that work in any home. The most important factor in choosing a pattern is the size of your space. The larger the room, the more dramatic a statement you can make with a bold geometric pattern. For a smaller space, a more muted two-toned style can make just as much of a statement while keeping the floor more neutral.
Another great thing about cement tile is that it can be polished for a glossy finish or left matte, so you can choose the level of shine that best suits your space. However, it’s important to note that when you choose a polished surface for your cement tile, it will need to be sealed regularly, as the gloss can quickly fade in response to exposure to UV rays. For more information on this, see our blog post, Polished Vs. Matte: The Pros and Cons of Each.