Since its inception in the 1800s mosaic cement floor tiles have provided an unsurpassed living experience, embellishing mansions, palaces, temples, and important public buildings throughout Europe and America. World-renowned architects and designers have made use of hydraulic cement floor tile in many of their master architectural works. Antoni Gaudí one the greatest Spanish architects of all time, utilized them extensively on several of his commissioned projects.
Tierra y Fuego is proud to showcase and offer encaustic cement floor tiles as an exquisite, and functional element of architecture. Our master artisans with decades of experience in the art of making floor tiles use the best natural materials to create handcrafted cement floor tiles of exceptional quality.
In the early 20th Century, there was a rapid expansion in the use of mosaic cement tiles. Historians attribute the popularity to the Art Nouveau style of architecture, which is characterized by highly stylized, flowing curvilinear designs that often incorporate floral and other plant-inspired motifs. Europe was the central stage for the adoption of cement floor tiles. Later the tiles were introduced to Latin America, and the United States during the Spanish Revival Architectural Period of the 1920s and 1930s that took place in California.
The test of time has proven that encaustic cement floor tiles have an everlasting impression. Mosaic cement tiles can be found in many parts of Europe, particularly in France and Spain. For instance, Gaudí’s private home in Barcelona is fully covered with cement floor tiles. In many of his works, Gaudí uses handcrafted cement tile as an important element of functionality and beauty. Casa Batlló, built between the years of 1904 and 1906, has cement floor tiles decorating many of its rooms, passageways, and terraces. This unique house is now a historic landmark in Barcelona, located in Pasaig de Gracia.
References of the embracement of hydraulic cement floor tiles, also referred as Victorian encaustic tiles, are also found in American historic states in California. The Kamins House in Beverly Hills displays handcrafted cement tiles in an open-air living room adjacent to the dinning terrace. Simultaneously, this element of architecture was also well adopted in Latin America. The floor tiles can be seen in many haciendas and churches throughout Mexico. They can be found as far away as Rio de Janeiro in Brazilian villas.
During the 1960s, the industrialization of mass-produced tiles and their accessibility to the markets almost caused the disappearance of the use and making of mosaic cement floor tiles. However, the timeless appeal of these tiles is once again gaining prominence. In recent years, some construction companies, interior designers, architects, and homeowners have found a particular interest of incorporating this high quality artwork into their projects. Because of the versatility of cement tiles, they are being used in classic, as well as contemporary, and modernist settings.
How to Order Tile Samples
|You may order samples online or by phone. Sample must be purchased and shipping charges apply. When ordering samples please keep in mind there is no guarantee tile samples will match future orders due to the handmade process.|
|Body||The Cement floor tiles are handcrafted using a hydraulic press and a mould to apply a multi-colored pattern, the tiles are made one at a time, and composed of three layers. The top layer is the decorated surface about 1/8 in. thick, made from a mixture of gray cement, marble sand and pigments. The second layer, the intermediate layer, is about 1/8 in. and made of a mixture grey Poland cement and sand; it function is to absorb the excess water from the top layer. The third, base layer is approximately 1/2 in. thick and is made of a mixture of grey Portland cement, regular cement and sand; its porosity makes it easy for the tiles to adhere to the floor during installation.|
|Tile Thickness||5/8" thick. As with any handcrafted tile differences in product thickness and overall dimensions will vary from piece to piece. Since these tiles are not fired in kilns as ceramic tiles, the variations in size are minimal.|
|Characteristics||Surface imperfections, color variations, and slight color run offs are intrinsic, since each color is apply by hand. Color tone variation is dependent on the natural pigments and as everything in nature, the color deposits change depending on the extraction site. Mexican Hydraulic Cement Tiles are flat and soft. Should always be stored in a dry and covered environment. If the tiles come in contact with any liquid when the tiles are still in the box, the surface finish may be damage. This can be caused by the liquid itself or by the carton boxes releasing color pigments on to the tiles. Is a cement-based product and may present efflorescence. The tiles are not perfect and may present chipped edges, nicks and variations in texture. The cement floor tiles are highly porous, and easily absorbs liquids. Must be sealed with a penetrating sealer and or a topical/surface sealer.|
|Recommended Grout Type||use a non-sanded grout.|
|Color, Size and Design Variation||Lot variation in size and color may be present from shipment to shipment. There is no guarantee that tiles ordered as add-ons will match those from the original orders. This is an inherent characteristic in all natural colored cement floor tiles, and particularly in all handcrafted tiles.|
|Purchasing Tile||Industry standard recommends adding on 5-10% additional tile to the tile needed to account for waste, special cuts, or other unforeseen problems. This is particularly important in complex installations.|
|Recommendation||Tierrayfuego.com strongly recommends consulting a experienced licensed contractor for the installation of your mosaic cement floor tiles. There are many variables that can go wrong when installing cement tiles that an experienced tile installer can better deal with any issues, and should provide advice for the proper care and maintenance of your tile flooring.|
|NOTES||Before making any arrangements for the installation with your tile installer or contractor, make sure that you thoroughly inspect your order of floor tiles from Tierra y Fuego. Check for quantities, designs, colors, and damage that may have occurred during transit. If you notice any discrepancies call Tierra y Fuego\'s customer service line at 1-877-945-4900.|
|Suitable Usage for Cement Floor Tiles||All residential floor and wall, and commercial floor and wall applications.|
|• Suitable for interior floors and walls when proper installation methods are followed.|
|• Exterior applications with moderate climate. If exterior use, seal with penetrating sealer and follow sealer manufacture instructions for application and durability.|
|• Mexican Mosaic Cement Floor Tiles are ideal for Mexican, Spanish, Southwestern, or Mediterranean style architecture.|
|• Outdoor use is subject to climate change. Mosaic Cement Floor Tiles tiles are NOT frost proof.|
|How to Install Cement Floor Tiles||Before you begin any prep work, take a few minutes to inspect your Mexican Cement tile flooring. Open up the crates and check the boxes for damage. The procedure of installing cement floor tiles is similar to techniques used when installing natural terra-cotta tiles or natural stone.|
|• Floor Preparation: Concrete surfaces to be tiled must be flat, structurally sound, dry and free from oil, grease, dust, loose paint, sealers or curing compounds. Remove baseboards and or any contaminants with tile neutral cleaner, or by sanding, scraping or chipping. Any imperfections the floor should be patched with a waterproof patching compound. If cracks are present on the concrete, an anti-fracture membrane for tile floors is recommended.|
|• Install an isolation membrane (also called an anti-fracture membrane) that will span random cracks in the floor. It will isolate the tile from the concrete with a cushion of plastic encased fiberglass fibers. The membrane absorbs the stress-not the tile and its thin-set adhesive. First, carefully examine the entire concrete surface to find and mark all the cracks, then follow these steps specified by membrane manufacture.|
|• The perfectly level surface of concrete has to be at least 7/8" below the line of the intended floor height. The area to be tiled must be completely dry before installing the Mexican mosaic cement tiles, otherwise if there is any humidity in the concrete it will evaporate through the tiles, resulting in efflorescence, which is a white crystalline or powdery, often fluffy/fuzzy deposit on the surface of masonry materials like concrete, brick, clay tile, etc. It\'s caused by water seeping through the wall/floor/object. The water dissolves salts inside the object while moving through it, then evaporates leaving the salt on the surface.|
|• At this time it is recommend to pool tiles out from different boxes and laid them out before they are installed. Shuffle the tiles to acquire the desired effect. Decide on the layout of the tiles, and put them in position to ensure the result before installing them. If you choose a traditional carpet style pattern, you must first frame the center part, then lay down the border tiles. Finally, install the outside tiles, and cut them to fit against the walls. A wet saw is required to make any tile cuts.|
|• Lying out your tile floor. Snap chalk lines with a 90 degree intersection, preferably in the center of the room, and work your way out. The more time you invest in laying out your area the better your project will go. Solve your lay-out questions before the adhesive is even mixed.|
|• Before the installation process begins. It is recommended to pre-seal only the surface of the tile with a penetrating sealer, be careful not to saturate the tiles with sealer. Do not seal the sides, because the grout may be repealed, not making a proper seal. The pre-sealing process will help to maintain the tiles clean and prevent staining, it may also prevent efflorescence. We recommend using the 511 Impregnator from Miracle Sealants Company. For best results follow the sealer manufactures instructions.|
|• Mix the thin set according to Manufacturer’s instructions and have all your tools at the ready before the tiling process starts. Apply thin set onto the concrete surface using the flat side of the trowel. Follow the “keying in” process by combing out the thin set to a uniform depth using the notched side held at a consistent 45° angle.|
|• Start laying the tiles one at a time. Make sure to wet the back of each tile with a wet sponge and back butter each tile with thin set using a notched trowel. This damping will speed the adhesion process to the floor.|
|• As the tiles are being installed, put them into place using only hand pressure, ensuring that they are perfectly level with each other. Do not use any tools to put the tiles in place. Immediately clean any excess thin-set or stains during installation.|
|• The typical installation for Mexican Hacienda cement tiles is the butt joint method, leaving a very narrow grout line of approximately 1/16". Take care to align the tiles so that a regular pattern is maintained throughout the floor. Throughout the installation, ensure that that the tiles are perfectly level.|
|• Once the installation is completed allow 48 to 72 hours for the tiled area to dry, and then apply a coat of penetrating sealer before grouting.|
|• Grouting: use a non-sanded grout. After the Mortar has dried at least 48 to 72 hours, you are ready to grout. There are a variety of grout colors available to enhance the look of your tile floor. When working with grout it is mandatory to keep conditions as consistent as possible throughout the job: moisture, temperature, mixing and application. Use a grout float to work the grout into the tile joints. Skim off the excess grout with the edge of the grout float and wipe the tile immediately with a damp sponge (rinse the grout sponge frequently and change the rinse water regularly). It is better to grout small areas at a time so no grout will dry on the face of the tile.|
|• Sealing the Grout. After grout has dried 48 to 72 hours, seal all grout joints with penetrating sealer to reduce maintenance and to retain the grout color.|
|• Once installation and grouting is completed clean the area with a PH neutral soap and water. If stains, grout haze or any other sediment cannot be removed with soap and and water. Use a #600 sandpaper for removal, and buff the area.|
|• These guide is provided as a mere helpful resource. Tierrayfuego.com is not responsible for any wrong installation, misuse, or damaged caused by the direct or indirect use of the content in this article.|
|Further Installation Details||Barcelona Tile Installation
The successful installation of cement tiles is highly affected by the installation process. Tierra y Fuego strongly recommends hiring or consulting a skilled professional tile installer, even for small projects. Tierra y Fuego is not liable for tile that has been altered from its original state due to improper handling during the installation process. Inspect the tile prior to installation as installation signifies acceptance.
For a successful installation of Barcelona tiles, please take note of the following recommendations:
• Carefully choose a skilled tile installer.
• Properly blend all tiles prior to installation.
• Make sure the installer is informed of all the procedures and products; and carefully follows the manufacturer’s instructions of any solutions such as sealers, grout releases, and cleaners that may be used or come in contact with the tile during the installation process.
• Seal tiles with a penetrating sealer of your choice prior to grouting. We recommend 511 Impregnator Sealer from Miracle Sealants Company for the most porous surfaces such as terra cotta tiles.
• Apply a grout release (like Aqua Mix’s) before grouting following the manufacturer’s instructions; this process helps to protect textured surfaces, and reduce grout staining.
• One important consideration as part of the tile selection process is the color of the grout. Depending on the desired final overall look, there are three basic approaches to selecting the grout color: matching, contrasting, and neutral. Grout will affect the product’s final appearance.
• Use sanded grout. Premixed epoxy grout is NOT recommended due to its viscosity.
• After the grout has dried completely, if need it, clean tiles with Grout Haze Clean-up from Aqua Mix.
• Allow the entire tiled area to dry completely. Depending on environmental climate, it will typically take 24 hours to dry.
• After the installation has been completed, seal the entire area once again with a penetrating sealer.
• If desired and further protect the tile we recommend the use of High Gloss Finish Sealer from Miracle Sealants Company. This surface sealer enhances color while providing resistance to chemicals, stains and dirt.
• As part of a normal maintenance procedure, terra cotta floor tile requires re-sealing on a regular basis.
• Note: Always test a small sample tile with the solutions that might be used during installation before applying to an entire area.
This guide is intended to provide information on frequently asked questions. Opinions vary in the ceramic tile industry about the proper installation of ceramic and terra cotta tiles. However, since Tierra y Fuego tiles are porous they should be sealed with a penetrating sealer before and after grouting.
|Maintenance Cement Floor Tiles||For routine cleaning of the Mexican mosaic cement floor tile use a neutral PH detergent, water, and mop as needed. Never use abrasive cleaners or bleaches because they will the color and finish.|
|• The floor will acquire a beautiful natural patina as is used and maintained.|