The phrase encaustic tile may conjure up images of a medieval inlaid pattern, but this style has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity since the early 20th century. The cement tiles can be used in a variety of ways to improve the look of a kitchen, bath or entryway. Their durability and versatility make them a choice for both traditional and modern homes.
Despite the name, encaustic tile doesn’t involve any burning, or even firing. Instead, the design is created by pouring different colored cement into the top 5mm of each tile. The resulting pattern then cures in the sun before being cut and polished. Unlike traditional porcelain or ceramic hand painted tiles, encaustic tiles aren’t susceptible to chipping or scratching, as the color is actually embedded within the tile itself.
Encaustic tile is available in a wide range of colors and patterns to suit many different decor styles. From cooler tones, such as blue, green and purple, to warmer shades of red, pink and orange, the eye-catching tile is sure to complement any kitchen palette. When choosing the right shade, take your cues from the colours of your kitchen cabinetry, benchtop, tapware and other appliances. If you’re working with an open-plan kitchen, also consider the tones in your dining and living spaces in order to create a harmonious whole.
It is important to note that, while encaustic tile is durable, it can be damaged by excessive wear and tear, especially if you have a lot of foot traffic in your home. Therefore, you should use a sealer to protect the surface from stains and spills. One option is a Fila FOB sealer, which is specifically formulated for concrete and other hard surfaces. It is a water-based formula that is suitable for both interior and exterior surfaces, making it an ideal choice for encaustic tile.
Another issue to be aware of is that cement tiles stain more easily than porcelain or ceramic, and need to be sealed after installation and every few years thereafter. For this reason, they are not a good choice for areas of your home that will be regularly exposed to foot traffic. If you do decide to use encaustic tiles in an area of your home that will see a lot of traffic, it’s a good idea to put down a non-slip mat or carpet in the entrance way to help prevent slippage.
Overall, encaustic tile is a great choice for homeowners who are looking for a classic Mediterranean aesthetic. Its durability and versatility mean it can be used in a variety of different types of rooms, including powder rooms, laundry rooms and entranceways. If you are interested in incorporating this trending style into your home, MSI’s selection of encaustic tiles includes a variety of traditional and contemporary patterns.