Cement tile, with its bold patterns and colors, makes for an ideal flooring option for Fort Myers, Sarasota and Tampa homes.
Learn About Cement Tile Available at Tile Outlets in Fort Myers, Sarasota and Tampa
TOA: Viviana, tell us about Kertiles.
VC: The Kertiles family has a long tradition in the interior decoration product development and commerce.
Forty years ago, the mother company Kermar S.A, was established in Castellon, Spain, at the center of tile design and production. The founder, Mr. Juan Marcos Jimenez, made his objective to develop and export the Spanish flooring décor. After having travelled throughout Europe and America he envisioned a world where ceramic tile, a decoration material traditionally used in his natal Mediterranean architecture, would be used in every modern house.
TOA: What is the relationship between Kertiles and Euroker?
VC: As father and son :-).
Since 2001 Kertiles has been manufacturing in China and become the largest porcelain tile producer in the world. We have been able to share our experience in the European and American markets with our Chinese partners to produce a great selection of products.
Euroker, under the Kertiles umbrella is the company under which European products and high end materials are grouped, and where the product focuses on a unique design to make the difference among others in the market.
Both companies complement each other to satisfy the market and the customer’s needs.
TOA: Viviana, could you describe the Euroker products available at Tile Outlets of America?
VC: Within the Euroker collection, we carry porcelain tiles, wall tiles, wood look tiles, all beautiful in look and rich in texture and design, Tiles Outlets of America have chosen the most unique product we carry in our line, cement tile.
Handmade artisan cement tiles are a product of antiquity that is experiencing a renaissance hundreds of years after its introduction. Today these works of art inspire a contemporary feeling that retains a nostalgic charm. They are loved by designers for applications from residential bathrooms and kitchens to refurbishment of historical buildings as well as modern cafes and boutiques. The tiles are as versatile as they are bold and unique. Every tile is made by hand; each piece is a work of art.
TOA: What makes these products different from porcelain or ceramic tiles?
VC: Cement tiles are handmade colorful tiles used as floor coverings. They appeared in Catalonia in the 1850s, and have been widely used in Europe and America. They are mostly known throughout the world as encaustic cement tile.
Like their predecessors, encaustic clay tiles, they derive their name from the term "encaustic" which is an art term used for metal enameling that uses a type of lost wax procedure. They have this name because of the intricate patterns and designs that mimic the encaustic enameling process.
Cement tiles are not fired; there is no glaze layer on the surface of the tile. They derive their durability from the combination of a finely dehydrated ground Portland cement layer and a more coarse layer of sand and cement.
Colors are precisely mixed according to the color codes and the new design, The template for the tile design is made carefully with metal bands. Colors are poured into designated locations in the tile’s design; the dye sits for a few minutes; the mold is removed ans the colors stay in place. The pigment layer is hydraulically pressed into the surface and becomes a part of the tile.
This 1:52 minute video from Avente Tile demonstrates the manufacturing process of encaustic cement tiles:
TOA: Where can these products be used? Any concerns about the level of traffic?
VC: Cement tile can be used on floors. As a porous product, it is best used indoors. In the Southwest Florida area, where frost is not a concern, it can also be used outdoors. Note, though, that cement tile must be sealed. More on that below.
Here are technical details on the cement tile collection from Euroker:
Coefficient of Friction (C.O.F.):
The C.O.F of a tile, expressed on a scale of 0 to 1, represents its relative safety to walk on without fear of slipping and is measured by the force needed to move an object across its surface divided by its weight. A low number indicates less friction and the likelihood the tile will be more slippery while a high number indicates greater friction and more traction thus increasing the likelihood it will be less slippery.
- Unpolished/dry: (.80)
- Unpolished/wet: (.90)
- Polished/dry (.80)
- Polished/wet (.60)
Mohs Hardness Test measures how hard a product is. In the case of cement tile, it rates as a 2-3 (similar to natural stone).
Manufacturing tolerances for Euroker cement tiles consist of the following:
- Length and width tolerance: +/- .6mm
- Height tolerance: +/- .6mm
TOA: How do you recommend that cement tiles be installed?
VC: Euroker Provides instructions as guidelines to the installation process. The final installation is the responsibility of the installer since conditions and application of job may vary. Here is a link to a pdf describing the installation guidelines for the Euroker cement tiles.
You should order 15-20% more than required for installation and breakage contingencies.
You will need the following equipment and materials:
- Wet saw with a diamond blade (to avoid chipping edges)
- Sponges and a bucket
- Thinset mortar
- Trowel with 1/2" notches
- Non-sanded grout
- Grout float
- Grout release - we recommend Miracle Sealant "511 impregnator sealer"
- Penetrating sealer- we recommend "DuPont; Maximum Bullet Proof Sealer"
Before installing cement tile, be sure to carefully prepare the installation surface:
- Prepare a perfectly level, clean, dry surface, ensuring the surface is 3/4 inch below the desired floor height.
- Ensure the concrete subfloor is fully cured to avoid evaporative moisture leaving mineral deposits on tile.
- Make sure that the surface of the concrete subfloor is free of dust and debris before applying thinset.
- Pre-seal the cement piece before installation.
During cement tile installation, follow these steps:
- Evenly apply the thinset to the cement floor using a notched trowel.
- Cover or "butter" the back of the tile with the thinset using a trowel.
- Lay the tiles using a level, pressing them into place with the palm of your hand. DO NOT use a tool like a rubber hammer as this will cause fracturing. Be aware that these tiles are hand-made and as such, have a small height variance. Compensate for variance with thinset and a level.
- Use tile spacers to ensure even grout lines. We recommend 1/16" grout lines and spacers.
- Cut any cement tiles to space requirements using a wet saw with a diamond blade.
- Start with a center pattern, then work your way outward.
TOA: How do cement tile products need to be cared for? Do they need to be sealed?
VC: Cement tiles must be sealed just as you would any other porous product. Here is what we recommend after installing your cement tiles:
- If you desire, you can polish the floor at this point, using a large floor polisher with a sand screen.
- Apply two coats of a penetrating sealer following manufacturer recommendations.
- Use a mild ph-neutral cleaner for ongoing cleaning and maintenance.
Then, do the following when installing grout:
- Apply grout release according to manufacturer recommendations.
- Apply non-sanded grout with a grout float (see Why You Need Grout When You Install Tile and Stone). Do not use black or anthrocite colored grout.
- Clean off excess grout immediately. Don’t let grout dry on the surface.
- Once the tile is laid and the grout is cleaned off, let the grout dry according to manufacturer recommendations.
TOA: Are there shading differences from lot to lot?
VC: These cement tiles are a natural and hand-made product, so you might find slight variation in the shading and also after the sealer application, as you would for any other porous product.
Keep in mind this is an artisanal product and the difference in colors and patterns is what makes this product unique and special.
TOA: Will the cement tile colors fade over time?
VC: As I mentioned earlier, it's very important to seal cement tiles before and after installation to ensure the original color on the tile stays true. You also want to re-seal it as needed as a part of the maintenance process.
TOA: How can customers order these products?
VC: Euoker cement tiles are available in any of the three Tile Outlets of America locations in Florida via special order. We carry stock in Miami; if stock is available it is a 5 day delivery. If stock has to be ordered, it will be delivered to the stores in 8-10 weeks from the order date. Be sure to check what is in stock.
8"x8" cement tiles are packaged by the box; 12 pieces per box representing 5.17 square feet per box. Each pallet holds 60 boxes of tile.
TOA: Is there a warranty on the tiles?
VC: As with any other flooring material, we warrant the product by itself which must be installed according to the quality installation guidelines of the TCNA (Tile Council of North America) and the guidelines for installation and grout joints I discussed above.
TOA: Thank you, Viviana, for sharing this information. The collection is beautiful and we are very excited about carrying it at Tile Outlets of America!
Have you considered installing cement tile in your Fort Myers, Sarasota or Tampa home? Come visit our stores to see the product for yourself and learn more.