Get Inspired: What’s Happening on Share Designs This September

It’s fall. The air is getting crisp. The leaves are starting to change. And the cement tile designs are coming thick and fast on Granada Tile‘s Share Designs page. If there was one theme that seems to recur on the site in the last few weeks, it’s black and white. Some of the most interesting tile designs feature just a simple palette of black and white (maybe a hint of gray here and there). It’s pared down and sleek—the perfect feel for the reason.

The first concrete tile design we spied and loved was one dreamed up by Cassie Bergstrom. It’s a riff on one of our larger-scale tile designs—the 10-by-10-inch cement tile pattern we call Malaga. A classic strawpwork design, it can be dressed up with multiple colors, but we like how Cassie went for just two—and chose to remove the central star pattern. It’s sophisticated and timeless and would make a great, bold statement for a floor tile installation, say.

Cassie Bergstrom Malaga

For Granada Tile’s riff on Malaga, tile-phile Cassie Bergstrom opted for a black-and-white palette for her take on the tile design. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Besides a simple palette, another theme that seemed to pop up this month was our Share Designs users interest in transforming patterns by subtracting and adding colors. Typically, our Normandy tile design has a simple pattern of fleurs-de-lis inset in quatrefoils and medallions. Susan Calderon took it down to one of its essential elements, retaining the fleur-de-lis pattern and shedding the rest.

Susan Calderon Normandy

Susan Calderon pared down our Normandy concrete tile design to its essential elements. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Finally, Sophie Cunningham chose our Estrella concrete tile design to play with. We love the big, bold star design (hence the name “Estrella”), and we love the way she opted for a gray-scale for the the pattern, letting its essential graphic elements shine through. In a bathroom tile installation or a kitchen tile installation, this would look phenomenal.

Sophie Cunningham Estrella

Bold Estrella gets a great black-and-white makeover from Sophie Cunningham. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Curious to see more from Share Designs? Mosey on over and check out what else our dedicated tile-philes are up to. There’s plenty of color too and lots of beautiful patterns. Everything is designed to jazz up any fall tile installation plans you might have.


Get the Look: Cement Tiles Inspired by Antique Cement Tiles of Nicaragua

Yesterday, we showed you some more incredible cement tile photos snapped while  Marcos and Melanie have traveled around Nicaragua. As you might expect, some of these antique tile designs have made their way into Granada Tile’s own tile designs. Today, we’re thrilled to show you how you can bring the look of of some Nicaraguan tile designs into your own tile installation project.

First up, Tangier. It’s a design that takes its cues in part from the tile design spotted in a Nicaragua hotel. It’s an abstract tile design that lends itself to a large palette of hues. You can play around indefinitely with it—try going for contrasting colors or mute its boldness by choosing a mix of similar shades. It’s a great concrete tile design for tile installations both large and small.

Tangier cement tile design

With its rich, abstract pattern, Tangier has an almost quilt-like effect. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

For a riff on the tile design found at the Gran Francia hotel in Granada, Nicaragua, look no further than our Montalcino tile design. It captures the same delicate beauty found in the antique tile design with its small sprigs of flowers dotting the central quatrefoils. There are echoes of Italy (hence its name) combined with the strong flavor of Central America.


A floral design fits inside the trellis pattern of Montalcino, which brings a bit of Italy—and Nicaragua—to cement tile. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Star-type patterns are a classic the world over, so it’s no surprise that Melanie and Marcos would come across one in Nicaragua, this time at the Hotel Dario. We’ve got several to choose from at Granada Tile, which incorporate a star design in various interpretations. A great choice would be Calais, an eight-by-eight cement tile design that’s simple and elegant. It uses just a star pattern with small squares at the corners. To amp up the look, try varying the colors of the star points or the corner squares. Try it, when you’re looking for something with a bit less pattern.


A simple star pattern is a great tile design choice when you’re looking for a simple, elegant tile installation.

For more tile installation ideas, visit our historic tile design pages. We’ve got plenty more lovely images of antique tile from Nicaragua, not to mention other stunning concrete tiles from all over the world.

Living History: The Cement Tile Riches of Nicaragua

Long-time readers of Granada Tile‘s Cement Tile Blog will know this already: It was walking around Granada, Nicaragua, as a young boy that planted the idea of cement tile in Marcos Cajina’s mind. As the company he and Melanie Stephens founded has grown, the cement tile designs of Nicaragua have been a continued source of concrete tile design inspiration, so today we thought we’d share more tile photos of antique cement tile from Nicaragua.

At a hotel in Nicaragua, Marcos and Melanie snapped a photo of an amazing tile floor. It’s a lively, complex pattern of abstract forms in an earthy palette of reds and yellows. We love how a complementary cement tile border highlights a section of the tile design and creates an inset carpet of concrete tiles. It’s a great design idea, if you’re looking to break up space in a large tile installation yourself.

Cement tile design hotel

A lively and abstract cement tile design discovered by Marcos at a hotel in Nicaragua. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Here’s another great cement tile installation from a hotel—this time the Gran Francia in Granada. The main tile design features a quatrefoil pattern. Inside the tile design, it’s sprigged with flowers. Around it, a Greek key–pattern border is itself bordered with a checkerboard design. By keeping all the hues in the same family, the mix of patterns remains unified and not busy at all.

Three tile designs in Granada.

The Hotel Gran Francia in Granada, Nicaragua, offers not one but three stunning tile designs in a floor tile installation. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

It seems that hotels might have the monopoly on outstanding cement tile installations, if the photos Melanie and Marcos have shared with us are any indication. In yet another Granada hotel, this time the Hotel Dario, there’s yet another fantastic tile installation. It’s a similarly complex tile installation featuring three distinct concrete tile designs: a large medallion pattern, a Greek key motif and a star motif. The tile designs are rendered more complex with the addition of various colors depending on the location of the tiles. Again, it’s an outstanding tile idea for when you’ve got a lot of space to cover and want to vary the visual interest.

Hotel Dario tile installation.

At the Hotel Dario, the cement floor tile installation takes the cake for complexity. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Tomorrow, we’ll show you how to get the look with Granada Tile designs inspired by the cement tiles of Nicaragua. You’ll get some great cement tile ideas. 


Installation Equation: More Great Bathroom Tile Design Ideas

Yesterday, we showed you how Granada Tile‘s cement tiles can be transformed by playing a bit with color—and how the tiles can transform a space. Today, we’re back with some more amazing bathroom tile installations created by designer and builder Ken Koonce and featuring sensational cement tiles from our Echo Collection. In this crop of projects, Cluny figures prominently again, but it’s used in two very different ways. You’ll also see how our concrete tiles play nicely with others, since a couple of the projects also include ceramic tiles for a mix of shapes and textures that yield rich results.

The first project we want to show you is a bathroom with a floor covered in our Cluny tile design. In the traditional-feeling space, Koonce opted for a mix of warm, neutral shades for his take on the cement tile. The slightly darker shades add another dimension to the space, with its palette of lighter neutrals.

Normandy in neutral

Cluny in neutral hues covers the floor of the bathroom. Its pattern gives just the right amount of flair to the space. Tile photo, Ken Koonce.

Switching gears from Normandy, our client went with St. Tropez in another bathroom project. This space has a similarly timeless and traditional feel and shows just how well Granada Tile can mix with other types of tile to create a richly layered palette of materials. The tile design blends effortlessly with the mottled beige ceramic subway tiles and the tile medallion inset in the tub area.

St. Tropez

The shades of sun and sky in our St. Tropez tile design brighten a bathroom. Tile photo, Ken Koonce.

Our last cement tile installation is a quite a showstopper. For the project, Koonce went with the always-chic combo of black, white and gray. We love how the fixtures and fittings are a balance between the traditional (the tub for example) and the modern (the contemporary, almost sculptural faucets). What could be almost sterile is softened in large part due to the Cluny tile design covering the floor. The floral hints in the concrete tile provide a nice dose of pattern.

Normandy black and white

The crispness of the black-and-white palette in a bathroom is offset by the the curves and florals of our Normandy tile design. Tile photo, Ken Koonce

If you’re still hungry for more bathroom tile ideas—for small bathrooms or large bathrooms—we’ve got plenty more ideas. Just head over to our installation pages, where you can see dozens of great tile photos to get you on the road to your dream cement tile installation.

Special thanks to designer/builder/photographer: Ken Koonce


Installation Equation: Three Bathrooms Show the Versatility of Our Cement Tile Designs

We can’t help but say it again and again—you can do so much with Granada Tile‘s sensational cement tiles. Not only that, simply by playing with colors you can totally transform the look of the tiles and, by extension, whatever space you’re using them in. Today, we’re delighted to be able to show you this in detail. You see, our client Ken Koonce, a designer and builder, has used our Normandy and Cluny tile designs, big favorites of ours and our customers’, in three very different bathroom tile installations, experimenting with color and contrast to create distinctive, unique tile installations.

First up, a small bathroom. Our client kept his palette—both of colors and materials—to a minimum. The color on the walls echoes the color of the Normandy cement tile covering the floor. For texture, the stone immediately surrounding the tub, provides just the right amount. There’s nothing bold or overpowering. The space instead is a restful retreat.

Normandy two color bathroom

For a small bathroom tile installation, our client chose our Normandy tile design in two muted shades. Tile photo, Ken Koonce.

To make a bigger aesthetic statement, you can’t go wrong with some contrast, and that’s just what our client did in another small bathroom tile installation. For this space, he opted for gray walls. On the floor, he installed our Cluny tile design in a bold black-and-white combination. We love the color contrast—and the textural contrast with the white ceramic tiles in an arabesque shape. Together, they yield a rich, layered feel.

Cluny bathroom contrast

Cluny’s graceful quatrefoils cover the floor in a small bathroom. The contrast between light and dark gives zip to a tiny space. Tile photo, Ken Koonce.

Our last small bathroom tile installation idea goes all out. Instead of choosing just two colors for the tile design, our client went with several, in shades of blue for a completely custom look. The effect, along with the blue ceramic tiles on the walls, creates a jewel-like effect. It also illustrates how a little color and pattern in a small space doesn’t overpower.

Multicolor Cluny

Cluny cement tiles incorporating several colors create a fun, fresh bathroom tile installation. Tile photo, Ken Koonce.

Is your curiosity piqued? Try experimenting with color yourself. And, stay tuned, because we have even more wonderful bathroom tile ideas to share with you tomorrow!

Special thanks to designer/builder/photographer: Ken Koonce


Living History: Exploring More of the Cement Tile of France

Several months ago, we took you on a brief tour of some truly fabulous French cement tiles Granada Tile‘s own Melanie and Marcos spotted on a trip to France. Of course, being the devoted tile-philes they are, they took lots and lots of tile photos, so we have some more stunning tile pictures to share.

Melanie and Marcos came across a lovely, classic cement tile installation in the northern town of Mont St. Michel. In the tile installation, a complex tile carpet, with a center field featuring a strapwork design, is surrounded by two thin, but equally stunning borders. We love the bold mix of patterns and colors, which has a perfectly French flair—no fear of either!

Mont St. Michel tile entrance

A carpet of cement tiles welcomes diners to a restaurant in the north of France. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

It’s probably no surprise that strapwork patterns figure so heavily in French cement tile design. After all, the pattern was a popular one in medieval times, and the French pretty much wrote the book on that style (Notre Dame and Chartres, anyone?). It seems to pop up everywhere in Melanie and Marcos’s photos, including one from small bookstore in Paris. Paired with a central compass design, it’s sophisticated and simple, with just the right nod to history.

Strapwork cement tile in Paris.

A classic strapwork and compass cement tile design covers the floor in a Parisian bookstore. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Our erstwhile travelers spied another great cement tile design through glass—still more proof that they keep their eyes trained on tile no matter the circumstances. The combination of realistic and abstract designs is really what gets us going. The central medallions have a jewel-like feel, and we love the way the blueish maple leaves frame the design as does the fretwork pattern that runs around the perimeters of both.

jewel like tile carpet in France.

Deep jewel tones make for an eye-catching tile carpet that was spotted through a window in France. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Feeling inspired? We’ve got plenty more cement tile designs inspired by French concrete tiles. And, keep a close eye on this space in the coming months—we’ll have more French-flavored tile design to share. Stay tuned!

Nuts and Bolts: More on Installing Your Cement Tile Design

Fez Biscuit Filmworks

Granada Tile’s Fez cement tile design line the wall and cover the floor at Biscuit Filmworks—designed by the firm Shubin Donaldson. To create your own sensational concrete tile installation, read part two of our installation instructions below. Tile photo, Granada Tile.

Once you’ve installed your Granada Tile cement tiles and allowed the mortar to dry (usually between two and four days), it’s time to grout. The process is straightforward. If you’ve chosen tiles that aren’t presealed, you need to apply grout release following the the manufacturer’s instructions. (Grout release will keep the tiles from being stained by the grout.) Next, fill the small gaps between the tiles with your grout, using a rubber float. It’s critical here that you also remove any excess grout immediately with a damp sponge or cloth, since it may become difficult to remove or stain your new cement tile surface.

From here,  you’re almost done. The next step, once your grout is dry (give it around 48 hours or so), is to use a 17″ floor polisher fitted with a sand screen pad (a #220 sand screen pad should be able to cover around 50 square feet). Let any remaining water drain away and finish drying with a cloth. If it appears that the color is running, don’t worry—it’s not. In reality the sand screen pad removed a fine layer of the concrete tile’s surface because the surface layer also has color. It gives the impression the color is running. Nonetheless, it’s very important to rinse this away and fry your concrete tile surface thoroughly.

The good news at this point is that you’re almost done installing your new cement tile surface. All that’s left is to seal it, using a high-quality penetrating sealer. To begin with, make sure it’s impeccably clean. That means there’s absolutely no grease, oil, dirt, wax, leftover grout release, or other material on the surface. Following the sealer manufacturer’s instructions, you’ll then apply a penetrating sealer for cement and concrete tiles. Be sure not to put anything on the tiles until the surface is dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. At this point, you can buff the tiles with a floor polisher and white pad in a back and forth motion to get the shine you want.

As a reminder, please bear in mind that these general guidelines should be taken as suggestions to installers. Since applications and job site conditions vary, the installer is ultimately responsible for ensuring proper installation and sealing of the tiles.



Nuts and Bolts: Some Cement Tile Installation Tips

Tile installation

How do you get your cement tile floor to look its best? Read our handy tile installation rundown. Tile photo Granada Tile.

A while back, we shared Granada Tile‘s brand new tile installation video with you, featuring Guy Vidal, of Design Vidal, taking us through the steps involved in installing cement tile in a bathroom. It’s a great overview and visual, if you’re about to take on a cement tile installation project yourself. For some of us, though, getting the scoop in an easy-to-digest written form helps too, so today we’ll break it down so you can be off and running. (Please bear in mind that these general guidelines as suggestions to installers. Since applications and job site conditions vary, the installer is ultimately responsible for ensuring proper installation and sealing of the tiles.)

For materials, besides your tile, of course, you’ll need Thinset Mortar (For light colored tiles, use white color thin-set and for darker colored tiles, use gray color thin set material. Do not use ceramic tile adhesive.); tile spacers (1/16″); a trowel with 1/2″ with semicircular notches; a sponge; a bucket; a wet tile saw with a diamond blade; grout; a grout float; grout release for cement/concrete tiles; penetrating sealer for cement/concrete; a 17″ floor polisher, with sand screen #220, green and white pads.

Next it’s time to get to work. First, you’ll need to prepare your surface. Make sure it’s a perfectly level, clean, dry and slightly rough surface in concrete. It should be 3/4″ inch below the desired finished floor height (5/8″ for the tiles and 1/8″ for the mortar.

The concrete slab surface needs to be completely dry before you begin installing the cement tiles. Never lay your cement tiles directly on to fresh, uncured concrete. If you don’t allow your surface to dry all they way, the moisture in the concrete will evaporate through the tiles and cause powdery white limestone deposits called efflorescence.

IMPORTANT: Some slabs may continue to release moisture on the surface even after fully cured. Test your slab by taping a small piece of plastic (polyethylene film) to the area to be tiled. Make sure all edges are thoroughly taped down. If moisture accumulates on the underside of the plastic, you should apply a waterproofing membrane before proceeding with the installation.

Also keep in mind that your substrate—and the earth itself moves and expands and contracts. To prevent cracking or fracturing, be sure to include expansion, construction, isolation, contraction, generic and perimeter joints where appropriate. To learn more, definitely consult your architect or engineer.

You can install cement wall tiles  over drywall, plaster, cement block, cement backer board (for moist areas). As with installing cement floor tiles, the surface should be flat, smooth, and dry and any loose paint or cracked surfaces should be scraped off and patched. Use thinset behind the backer board, not to adhere the backer board but rather to fill voids beneath the backer board.

Once you’ve gotten your surface prepared, next comes a fun part. You get to decide on your cement tile layout. Put them in position before installing them to make sure you’ll like the finished product. For a traditional carpet-style floor tile pattern, start with the center pattern, then lay down the border tiles. Finally, lay down the outside tiles and cut them to fit using a wet saw with a diamond blade.

Now, using a sponge, wet the back of the cement tile completely to enable the thinset to adhere to the tile. For more complete instructions, follow the thinset manufacturer’s guidelines for laying floor tile. Then you’ll want to evenly apply the adhesive mixture to the floor subsurface, using a trowel with 1/2″ with semicircular notches. Be sure to cover the entire back of the tile with thin set material. Make sure you always brush the adhesive in the same direction, otherwise air will be trapped and the tiles may lift up.

You’re then good to start laying the tiles.  Use the 1/16″ tile spacers to separate each tile and with nothing more than the palm of your had to press the tiles into place and to ensure that they’re level. (If you use a tool, such as a rubber hammer, micro-cracks will start to appear over time.) It’s very important too to remember and to check that the tiles remain perfectly level throughout your tile installation process, as they can’t be polished down as materials such as marble or granite.

As you install each additional tile, move the tile back and forth to that the new one is level with the first you installed. Bring them together to a grout joint of 1/16th of an inch and continue laying them until all tiles are set in place. Take care and Immediately clean thinset or mortar off the face of the tiles. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to clean it off. By the same token, don’t let thinset or mortar dry on the face of the tiles or it will be very difficult to remove without damaging the tiles.

Finally, let the thinset mortar dry completely, usually 2 – 4 days, before grouting.

Stay tuned for more as we share with you how to grout and seal your new cement tile surface.