Encaustic Tiles.

Posted on March 18, 2018 by The Little Tile Company

We are updating our Encaustic Tile collection here at The Little Tile Company and thought we would produce a short news blog on this theme as we get asked many questions weekly on this subject! These tiles are gorgeous, stylish and contemporary.  They range from black and white to beautiful blue and green hues and other various chic colours and from simple geometric to more complex designs.

What are Encaustic Tiles and what is the definition of Encaustic Tiles?

‘ENCAUSTIC’ is one of those names that some of the general public know but others don’t and it is only when someone is looking into say, a bathroom, kitchen or house design that they come across it. There is also some confusion between whether encaustic tiles are made of clay or cement (concrete) and depending on what literature you read this can be unclear. Encaustic tiles were first crafted and used in the churches and monasteries of the 12/13th Century. The pattern or design on the surface is not a product of the glaze, but of different colours of clay. Encaustic tiles are usually made up of two colours and sometimes more. The pattern is inlaid into the body of the tile and then fired, so that the design remains as the tile is worn down. That process is why encaustic tiles used to be called ‘inlaid’ tiles. The Victorian era saw the change of name which some purists are not happy about! Encaustic tiles are made using a two-shot moulding process and are traditionally unglazed. Modern sizes are 20cm x 20 cm and normally 15/20mm in thickness and quite a heavy tile. However, you will find that many manufacturers and companies use the term ‘Encaustic’ as a general term to describe either a clay or cement based tile of this rustic appearance and the manufacturing processes vary.  The craft is still used today to make beautiful colours and patterns and the variety available is growing. Our particular encaustic tiles are of very high quality and made and finished in Spain. The material of our ranges comprise of cement, marble and quality pigments. Most modern day encaustic tiles are in fact made and produced this way. When these tiles are laid, the repeat of the pattern gives the most amazing effect!

Where can Encaustic Tiles be used? Do Encaustic tiles need to be sealed? Can encaustic tiles be used in a bathroom? Can encaustic tiles be used in a shower room? Can they be used on a floor or on a wall or in a kitchen or even outside?

These are many of the questions we get asked. Encaustic tiles have to be sealed and we recommend sealing before installation twice and again after installation and then continually maintained and sealed throughout their life. In some countries where the climate is much warmer, encaustic tiles are used outside but here in the UK the climate is colder and wetter and therefore advice must be taken from your installer if being considered for outside use. We would say that the majority of our clients want these tiles for a floor, either in a bathroom, hallway or kitchen and therefore they are areas that can be sometimes wet, but if maintained well and sealed properly, are perfectly fine. We have seen our tiles in such areas and are perfectly suitable. Encaustic patterned tiles can also combine to make a beautiful tiled hearth in a fireplace. Perhaps for a power-shower cubicle again, we would advise to steer away. You should also check with your builder or installer as to the suitability of the floor and walls prior to installation. Encaustic tiles can be heavy, especially with adhesive and the strength of the wall backing needs to be checked. However, each project can be discussed with us here at the Little Tile Company!

Are Encaustic Tiles compatible with underfloor-heating? We would say yes. However, each project can be discussed with us or again discussed with your builder or tiler.

Finally, encaustic tiles are rustic in nature and due to the composition and manner of manufacture, they have slightly uneven and brittle edges. We believe this adds to the charm and beauty and once installed correctly, these tiles will last for many years.

We have a large range of encaustic tiles both patterned and plain and can source other colours and styles if you cannot find what you are looking for. We can assist you in any tiling project you may have and work with individuals, companies, tilers and designers both in the UK and abroad! So please look at our range of encaustic tiles and if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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