Encaustic Cement Tile

Encaustic cement tile has an increasing popularity these days due its unlimited pattern options. It is not a new technique. In the past, clay was used as the source material to build encaustic tiles. Today, mostly cement is used. It is known as mostly cement tile instead of encaustic tile. In some part of the world, encaustic cement tiles are also known as hydraulic tiles. Because these tiles are pressed under a hydraulic press with extreme pressures to make it firm.

encaustic cement tile

If you are into bold, patterned tiles, encaustic tiles are just for you. The main advantage of cement tile is its durability. Cement is a very strong material, therefore you can be sure that your encaustic cement tile will not be easily scratched or destroyed.

One other advantage is the patterns on it. Cement tiles are not painted like porcelain or other materials. The patterns are deeply buried inside the tile. Because of that cement tile colors will not be easily faded away.

What does Encaustic Tile Mean?

On the other hand, it is porous compared to ceramic or porcelain. It can absorb water inside.

According to wikipedia: Encaustic means:

The word encaustic from Ancient Greek: ἐγκαυστικός means “burning in” from the ἐν en, “in” and καίειν kaiein, “to burn”. The term originally described a process of painting with a beeswax-based paint that was then fixed with heat. It was also applied to a process of medieval enameling. 

The Origin of Encaustic Tile

encaustic cement tile

These tiles coming from medieval times are among top choices of interior designers. Even it is believed that encaustic tile was used in ancient Greek. Mostly clay were used in ancient times. That is why colors of clay were important to create different pattern tiles.

When you go to a tile shop, there are different tile design options. From black and white to marvelous colors, you can find either natural stone or ceramic, porcelain tiles. But none of them have unlimited design options as cement tiles.

Social media is another reason of rising popularity of these tiles. You can see them as a stunning, drop-dead, eye-catchy backsplash or as a shower floor. It has an inlaid tile structure. The patterns are literally burnt into the cement tile and it is very difficult to fade away. Because encaustic tile pattern is not only on the surface like porcelain or ceramic.

How to install an encaustic cement tile?

cement tile

To install encaustic cement tile properly, you are gonna need some tools materials.

  • Trowel – 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch
  • Wet tile saw
  • Large heavy cement mortar
  • Tile spacers (1/16 – 1/8)
  • Grout
  • Penetrating Sealer

Step 1: Preparation

Encaustic cement tiles are beautifully hand-crafted and must be cared and installed differently than porcelain and ceramic tiles. It is essential to properly prepare the sub-floor before the actual installation. You have to be hundred percent sure that the subfloor is clean, dry, leveled and there is no cracks or any type of bulges on the surface.

If you are planning to install your gorgeous encaustic tiles over a wood subfloor or on a wall, you must install 1/4 inch cement board first on the wood. Before installing, check your tiles for manufacturing defects. You have to store cement tiles indoor always and keep them dry. Allow tiles to acclimate to your room for at least 24 hour acclimation period is recommended.

Step 2: Installation

Encaustic cement tiles enhance the beauty of your floor through natural variations in color and tone. We recommend dry laying the tiles first to achieve the look you want. Wipe each tile with a damp sponge to remove excess concrete dust. Spread mortar evenly and in straight lines over the subfloor with a trowel. Back butter each tile. 100% coverage is essential.

Thickness of encaustic cement tiles may vary. Adjust tiles accordingly during installation, using a level and gentle hand pressure. Do not use a mallet to tap tiles.

Use spacers between tiles to create even grout lines. Remove any excess mortar from tiles while it is fresh. Tile color may deepen when wet and will return to its original color when it dries.

Step 3: Grout and Sealing

Before applying grout, tiles need to be sealed with a penetrating sealer and must dry for at least 24 hours. Apply a non sanded grout to your floor. Wipe excess grout immediately using a damp cloth.

Do not use a black or dark-colored grout because it may stain the tile. After the tile is set, sweet the floor to remove any excess debris. Then clean with a PH-neutral detergent. Allow floor to dry for at least 24 hours. Do not allow water to pool on tile.

Apply the same penetrating sealer used in the pre-sealing process. Follow manufacturer instructions. To care for your new floor, damp-mob using only a neutral cleaner. Reseal as necessary to maintain optimal performance because sealer may diminish more quickly in high traffic areas.

Is Cement Tile Good For Bathrooms?

Cement tiles are a perfect match for your bathrooms. They will delay the inevitable water on the floors and walls, those steamy showers, and stop any mold damage from grasping.

Resistance to Water 

Cement tiles are solid against chips and cracks. This is because of its unique production process. Encaustic cement tiles are made under thousand pounds of pressure, and no glazes or kilns were used in production. Because of this, cement tiles will have a long-lasting shelf life, and they will easily bear high traffic area’s daily wear and tear without succumbing to fading and water damage.

No More Slipping in the Bathroom

When properly sealed, cement tiles have a very soft and silky surface. But this surface is not slippery. Especially if an older family member lives in the house, these non-slippery tiles will be very protective against unwanted falls, resulting in deadly consequences. 

Long-Lasting Quality

Cement tiles can keep their fresh appearance for years to return. Due to the tough manufacturing process and, therefore, the incontrovertible fact that the planning and pigment are set into the tile itself, you will not get frustrated with fading colors and worn designs like other tiles.

Minimum Maintenance Required

Once cement tiles are sealed after installation, maintenance is minimal. For example, wood floors will warp from the water and due to heat inside of a bathroom. Ceramic or porcelain can get worn down with heavy usage. You can use soap, clean water, or any other natural cleaning product to wipe off stains and marks. 

Eco-Friendly Tiles

Another reason to like cement tiles for bathroom floors and walls is that they’re very natural. Thus, they are eco-friendly tiles. They are made with sustainable materials by hand. Cement tiles require little or no energy to supply. This means, in the production phase, they don’t waste energy sources or pollute the environment. 


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