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History of Echo Collection Handmade Cement Tile
The Echo Tile Collection revitalizes an art form that developed in France in the mid-1800's and quickly spread around the world. Unlike hand made ceramic tiles, which are usually hand painted, glazed and fired, decorative cement tiles are made by first pouring a mixture of cement and color pigment into separate compartments in a metal mold (a sort of oversized cookie cutter). This first color layer is 1/8" thick. Next we add concrete and press the tile under 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. This upside down cake is left to cure, creating a remarkably strong and lustrous cement tile. This process requires skill, practice, strength, and perfectionism. Granada Tile employs and provides on-going training opportunities to fine craftsmen who take pride in producing beautiful and durable tiles.
Because of the modest start-up costs, the technique of making mastercrafted cement tiles spread like wildfire to just about everywhere except Australia and the Arctic. You find splendid historic installations from Amsterdam to Phnom Pen, and from Los Angeles to Instanbul.
Not all cement tiles are created equal. Cement tiles are typically handmade in small factories. Conditions, materials and quality control vary significantly from company to company. Granada Tile works hard to bring you the best quality cement tile. If you are comparing tiles across companies, here are some of the things to watch out for:
* Varying thicknesses of tile that makes it hard to lay as a flat surface - from lack of consistency in production process
* Pattern is blurry - from pouring pigment sloppily
* Major variations with the same color - inaccurate measuring of color pigments or poor quality pigments
* Chipping around the edges - weak mixture or poor quality control
* Crumbly on the back (weak tile) - from inconsistent hydraulic pressure or too much sand in the mixture
* Ratio of cement to sand - without the right ratio, the tile will not be strong and durable
* Quality of the pigments - if cheap pigments are used, colors may fade (even high quality blues and greens will fade in direct sun)
When in doubt, ask for the engineering test reports. These are tests that are performed based on uniform standards by an outside engineering firm. They are a good objective way to insure that specific standards are being met.
Probably because marketers didn't find "cement tile" or "concrete tile" attractive enough, this type of tile has suffered an identity crisis. In the lingo of the tile world, Granada Tile's Echo Tile Collection could be called hydraulic, encaustic, mosaic, French, Belgian, Spanish, Moroccan, Cuban, Nicaraguan, hand made tile, mastercrafted cement tile, and hand painted tile. Some of these names for cement tile are misleading and some are downright wrong.
To learn more, watch for our upcoming definitive and entertaining new e-book Mastercrafted Cement Tile: Everything you wanted to know about cement tile and were afraid to ask.
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