Cement tile has been popular for a couple of years. We see cement tile applications more often both in residential and commercial buildings. What makes cement tile so popular lately?
While cement tile or concrete tile is not something new, more people are asking about it and they want to learn the pros and cons of cement tile. Let's start with pros first.
Advantages Of Cement Tile
The main advantage of it is unlimited options of colors and of of course technically infinite cement tile patterns. Concrete tile is not a natural stone. This means you are not limited to the color options or pattern options as well.
This tile is also called as encaustic cement tile. "Encaustic" means "heat or burn" in old Greek. These tiles were painted with heat and the paint was being made from natural pigments. That is the reason why sometimes they are called encaustic. Because of this special technique, cement tiles can have solid colors that will not fade easily.
It is a very old tile. Because of that, there are many traditional patterns that are a hundred years all as well as modern designs. There are various color and pattern options.
The second biggest advantage of this tile is durability. Just like cement floors, concrete tile is very hard and strong. Cement tiles are also very thick compared to traditional natural stone tiles. This makes it hard to break or crack in the short and long term.
Colors are also diffused deeply into the cement tile, unlike ceramic tile which is painted mainly on the surface only.
The third biggest advantage of this tile is its authenticity. Cement is coming directly from the earth. It doesn't have any chemicals in it. It has its unique aging process which gives it a different character. Hence every tile will be different than others by time.
These tiles are also energy-efficient. If you are someone who is worried about global warming or usage of fossil fuels, these tiles are just for you. Because unlike ceramic which requires high heat, cement tiles are molded by hand and the colors are also poured by hand into the mold. This makes concrete tiles more eco-friendly. After molding, a hydraulic press is used to squeeze tiles.
These gorgeous handcrafted tile floors can be used as a backsplash and wall tiles. If you are working on a tile project and you are looking for something with high quality, you should definitely take this tile into your shopping list. At Marble Systems, we have different cement tile alternatives.
Disadvantages of Cement Tile
Let's look at the other side of the coin. The first disadvantage is the installation. Unlike the other tiles, cement tile installation can be trickier and it may cost a bit higher than the average installation. The average cement tile is 5/8 inch. It is not only thick but it is also heavier. This means if you are going to apply it to a wall, you have to be sure that the wall can carry its weight.
If you are planning to apply it to the floor, you may want to calculate the thickness. Because of thickness, if you are planning to use it with other materials, leveling becomes important.
The second disadvantage of this tile is its porous character. This means it is much more vulnerable to stains than other natural stones or ceramic. Especially if you are going to use it as kitchen backsplash, the light surface of the tile can be stained easily with grease and oil. You have to sand it to remove the stain.
A better alternative is to seal the tile properly. So that you don't need to worry much about stains. A proper sealant will do its job and while protecting the colors of cement tile, it will also keep its characteristics which is what people love about concrete tiles.
The best way to do it sealing the tiles before applying to the wall or floor. You have to seal it three times before applying. Also, this tile requires periodic sealing. If the tiles are on the floor in a busy traffic area, you may consider sealing it more often.
You can try to soak cement tile with water. If it absorbs the water in it, this means it is time to re-seal it. For floors. 2-3 times a year, for walls, sealing once a year will be enough.
Re-sealing is quite easy. You just need to put your sealant into a bucket. And with the help of a sponge, you'll slowly move up and down to wipe the tiles and let them dry. If you are really into these beautiful tiles, re-sealing should not be a problem.
The last cons of cement tile is about using it outdoors. This earthy material is a little bit sensitive to cold. If it is applied to a patio, porch or garden, it can get cracks because of cold weather. Little hairy cracks may not be a problem but if you use it on a high traffic area like the restaurant surface, and if you want everything to be very pristine, these cracks can bother you. Of course, natural cracks are part of the cement tile character. You just have to be cautious using it if you care about these cracks.