Month: June 2014

Glaze Application and Dye Lots

Glazing methods have advanced as the technology has evolved.  While screen printing used to be the primary mode of transmitting the images and color onto tile, the introduction of digital imprinting has revolutionized the industry and provided boundless opportunities for patterned tile.

Even though the patterns are consistent, it’s inevitable that as different batches are produced certain factors vary slightly.  Each different manufacturing run is called a dye lot, and it refers to the tone as well as the sizing of each individual unit of tile- these factors can vary up to 10%.  Acknowledging this is important: the cartons are marked with dye lots (usually abbreviated with a T and a C for tone and caliber) and each individual order will be pulled from the same dye lot.  We advise that you keep the dye lot number handy in case you need additional tile so we can try to provide an exact match.

For reference:

  • Screen printed tile has a “frame” effect, as they are imprinted per individual tile:

Image

Our Westport Marron is a screen printed tile.

  • Digitally printed tile goes right to the edge and continues to other tiles. This is how wood-look tiles are able to look more realistic; the pattern varies on each tile, which helps them look more authentic.
Our Castle Antic is a digitally-printed wood look tile.

Our Castle Antic is a digitally-printed wood look tile available through the Home Depot.

When making your tile purchase, be sure to look at this detail! It’ll be helpful to tell exactly what type of pattern you’ll have.

Advertisements

Product of the Week: Revival Series

Something surging in popularity lately is cement tiles with a heavy European influence.  Extra points if the color is a bit subdued to imitate aged, slightly faded tile from another era.  The range is captivating. The patterns pull from anywhere from encaustic Spanish tile or the geometric hallmarks of midcentury décor.

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC

Though these tiles often have distinctive patterns, it’s becoming more and more common to mismatch them, creating an accent wall or a floor that’s 100% unique to your home.

Click to see this series on HomeDepot.com

Click to see this series on HomeDepot.com

 

Our Revival series (pictured) is a favorite.  Its rich, warm golden shade is balanced by a cool blue-gray, arranged in floral and geometric patterns that are a true throwback to European artisanal tiles. For its diversity and timeless charm, it’s this week’s Product of the Week.

Something fun about these pieces is that the patterns are so unique that it’s easy to mix and match, but they look great arranged in their respective patterns too.  Look at the way this tile fits in with this rustic kitchen without the pattern overwhelming the space:

 

 

Another product of ours, the Cementi Quatro Trab Centro, looks fantastic when laid out in its pattern.  It has potential to seem busy, but breaking the repetitive patterns with wood planks prevents that from happening and adds a rustic touch to this installation.

The Cementi Quatro series is available through the Home Depot.

The Cementi Quatro series is available through the Home Depot.

Another perk of this tile is that it’s just as individualistic and interesting as its cement or encaustic predecessors, but with a more appealing price tag. The 7-3/4” by 7-3/4” Revival pieces are ceramic and $1.97 each from the Home Depot. Comparable pricing of actual cement tile from one website showed $6.90 per 8”x8” piece.  If you think that may be due to durability or wear resistance, consider this: the PEI rating for the Revival series is high, meaning that the glaze is extremely resistant to wear.  Ceramic is also considerably lighter in weight, making it more suitable for a wall than heavy cement.  It is also frequently necessary to re-seal cement in order to keep it relatively slip resistant.  This tile is already marginally slip resistant, enough to stand up to standard residential use, so there’s no need to re-seal it.

Its utilitarian nature and fantastic balance of modern patterns and artisan arrangements make the Revival series our product of the week.  Special order it from the Home Depot for your next home renovation!

Curious about the origins of these distinctly European tiles? Sign up for email updates from the Merola Tile blog. A brief primer is coming up soon!

Sources: Here, here, and our resident experts.

To see more photos of this product and our other Products of the Week, go check out our Product of the Week Pinterest Board!

Product of the Week: Tessera Alaskan View

Tiles of mixed textures and finishes have always been popular, but on glass tiles the light plays in such a way that the variety truly pops.  These variations are what make glass mosaic tile so much fun: you really can get any look you want by getting the right colors, choosing the right texture, and placing them in the right light.

Our Tessera Alaskan View is proof positive of that.  Shades of ice blue and deeper blue complement each other while the various finishes add dimension. Just in one sheet, you’ll find frosted glass, smooth glass, and glass rippled like drops of water.  Bright white matte tumbled stone throws a snowy element into the mix, accomplishing a chilly, soothing look.

I took this with my cell phone to give an idea of the textures:

The ripples look like droplets of water. Love them!

The ripples look like droplets of water. How cool is that?

And here’s a professional photo to reflect the wonderful color variety in this mesh-mounted mosaic:

SONY DSC

The variety of color and finishes makes the Alaskan View a great choice.

If you’re hesitant to use such a seemingly bold tile in your space, consider the palette: it’s been discussed before that blue and shades of it are versatile and soothing, and the Alaskan View is no exception.

Here it is as an accent in a shower niche.  It breaks up the pattern in the wall and works really well with the glass wall enclosing the shower!

 

If you’re looking for a large expanse of glittery, textured beauty, take a look at some examples.

This tile is quite similar to the Alaskan View, and when used as a main wall installation, the other fixtures (plumbing, cabinetry, et cetera) either tie into the tile or directly contrast it. The dark cabinets look so striking in this bathroom!

And let’s not forget the fantastic potential it has as an accent. Though this is not the Alaskan View, it has a similar palette. It’s in an unusual location (the face of the stairs) which is why it’s so captivating- it’s difficult to realize what a focal point stairs are until they look absolutely marvelous, like these do. The Alaskan View could certainly fill this purpose!

Finally, they make a lovely accent for a pool.  The intensified light coming off of the water really unlocks the mosaic’s potential with how it works with light.  Here is a customer-submitted photo of an installation:
That glittery accent underneath the edge of the pool? That's Alaskan View!

That glittery accent underneath the edge of the pool? That’s Alaskan View!

Its chilly palette and sparkly qualities add up to a captivating mosaic, and for that, the Tessera Alaskan View is this week’s Product of the Week. Use it as an accent or a main focal point, and wow everyone who passes by!

For Your Consideration: Picking a Tile for Outdoor Installation

It’s no secret: as the weather gets warmer, outdoor home improvement projects dreamed up in the dark recesses of winter start to take shape and become a reality.  Gardens are almost in bloom, lawns begin to grow, and outdoor entertaining becomes an option.  A patio becomes so much more welcoming when it’s given custom touches to make it feel more like a home and less like an appendage onto the house.  Tile is a perfect choice for an outdoor space, as many varieties are durable, frost proof, and slip-resistant.

Durable tile comes in so many designs that it’s easy to get that perfect look.  But what factors should determine whether a tile is suitable for a patio?  Here are some tips on picking the right product.

Make sure it’s suitable to your climate. As previously discussed, ceramic and porcelain tiles differ in the amount of harsh weather they can stand.  In milder climates, either ceramic or porcelain will do- it’s entirely dependent on your taste.  In extreme climes, however, porcelain is denser and more impervious, making it frost resistant.  When choosing the flooring for your space, think carefully about where it will be installed and the weather it will be exposed to.  Your design options are not limited, as both materials offer a wide range of looks.

Check for a high PEI rating. A tile’s PEI rating determines how well the glaze will stand up to dirt and wear.  The higher the rating, the more scratch-resistant the tile.  For patio installations that will be getting foot traffic, we recommend a tile with a PEI rating no lower than IV- this is a good way to ensure it can withstand the dirt and foot traffic standard (consider the possibility of pets, kids, and guests) for an outdoor application.

Research slip resistance. Depending on where this tile will be installed, slip resistance can be a huge factor in your decision. Assuming there will be slippery conditions outside (rain, a pool, spilled margaritas), it’s important that you set up a space that’s safe for you and your guests. You can find slip resistance information on the product overview section of any given item on the Home Depot website. See the below screenshot from the Home Depot page for Attica Gris indicating the location of whether an item is slip resistant or not:

Pick one that suits your style! Are you going for a rustic or natural look? Or something sleek and modern? Through tile, any look is possible. Whether you’re building an outdoor retaining wall, lining a pool, or using this as a major focal point and social center for your home, loving your tile is of utmost importance!  Tile lasts a long time (possibly centuries) so if you’re not absolutely positive it’s for you, keep looking.  It’s imperative to love your home- from the ground up.

 

Sources: here, here, and our resident experts.

 

Product of the Week: Attica Beige

Flagstone is a classic look for patios and other outdoor spaces.  It has the rugged feel of natural stone but has been sufficiently tamed to function as a usable surface for a rustic space.  It’s a tasteful and welcoming look.

There are, however, down sides to using actual flagstone. Laying them requires patience- the stones are natural and thus all different shapes and sizes, so arranging them to fit together can take a while. This guide from the DIY network refers to it, quite rightly, as “basically like assembling a big, heavy puzzle.”  Another challenge is making sure all the stones are even, since it only takes one that’s lower or higher than the rest to tilt a table or trip someone.  Finally, there’s the price tag: it tends to be a bit more expensive than other materials.

Enter our Attica Beige tile, which gives you the look of flagstone without the fuss.  It’s a ceramic floor and wall tile inspired by flagstone that with a high PEI rating for work in residential and high-traffic commercial settings. If you’re concerned about it looking natural, the edges of the tile are wavy so they fit together in a way that’s a little less restrictive than regular tile squares:

 

Attica Beige is available through the Home Depot.

Attica Beige is available through the Home Depot.

It’s a ceramic tile, which means it’s perfectly suitable for a patio in milder climates but not great for outdoor installation in places that see extreme cold. Just look at the way flagstone looks outside. It definitely lends a rustic look to this classic home style:

It also looks great installed indoors, pulling elements of nature into your home. Here’s an actual customer application of the Attica Beige. Look how well it lightens up the room and complements the beautiful view outside! It’ll look great through all seasons: it’ll make a lovely accompaniment to the autumn leaves, and will certainly bring a warm look to the room in the dead of winter. Altogether, this is a great application for this product!

This is a customer installation of Attica Beige, available at the Home Depot.

A customer installation of Attica Beige.

A customer installation of Attica Beige.

For having all the durability, quality, and versatility of a ceramic tile, and for providing a fantastic low-cost, easier-to-install flagstone alternative to homes all over America, the Attica Beige is our product of the week.

Installing and Caring for Stainless Steel Tile

Our Meta Steel Hex tile, available on HomeDepot.com

Our Meta Steel Hex tile, available on HomeDepot.com

Did you fall in love earlier this week? Was it with our Product of the Week, stainless steel penny round tiles? We don’t really blame you. It’s a seriously fabulous product. But people are a bit leery at the thought of putting metals in their home, specifically a spot like their walls, which may see a bit of wear and seem a little harder to install. Fear not… it’s a lot less intimidating than it may seem, and it’s worth the research to have such a hardy material in your home! Here are some things to keep in mind when installing and caring for stainless steel tile.

  • Measure the surface area you’ll need to cover, and then add 10% onto that to compensate for any damage or extra cuts (this is generally recommended for all tile purchases and installations).
  • Use a silicone-based adhesive or mastic to stick the mesh-backed tile to the surface where you’re installing it.
  • We also strongly recommend using non-sanded latex-based grout, as sanded grout may scratch the stainless steel top.
  • As with all tile installations, it is extremely advisable to use all new products: a fresh, new sponge; new buckets for grout and water respectively (any leftover residue from past projects may wind up in the grout or the water, potentially scratching the surface of the tile); and a brand new float- preferably the softest you can find, as being gentle during installation is essential to the finished look. Here at the warehouse, we use a float that’s a bit foamy.
  • While sponging as you grout, make sure you go in one orientation (up and down or side to side). Swirling the sponge around may leave stains.
  • If necessary, cut this tile from the rear with a diamond-tipped wet saw to prevent uneven edges. You can then treat and smooth the cut edges with fine sandpaper or a metal file.

Once you’ve successfully completed your beautiful installation, all you need to do to keep it clean is use warm soapy water and a soft, clean sponge! Here is a photo from a customer of our alloy quad tile as a backsplash:

Our Alloy Quad series is available through the Home Depot.

Our Alloy Quad series is available through the Home Depot.

These simple steps will keep your stainless steel tile looking great through the years. Just as you bought stainless steel appliances for their durability, the same goes for tile. With a little upkeep, you’ll have this timeless glinting metal for as long as you like!

 

You can find other general tips about installation here.

 

Source: our resident experts.

Product of the Week: Stainless Steel Penny Rounds

We all have that one room in our homes that just needs a certain something.  It’s not really that the space around it isn’t nice, but perhaps it just isn’t quite as you envisioned it. Not enough character? Not bright enough? Lacking some sparkle that you need in your life? Look no further: stainless steel penny round tile is here.

The Merola Alloy Penny Round, available through the Home Depot

The Merola Alloy Penny Round, available through the Home Depot

Penny rounds are a classic shape. They came about, much like subway tiles, around the Industrial Revolution in an attempt to keep everything more hygienic (or at least give the appearance that it was) as indoor restrooms became more commonplace.  As tile evolved in terms of shape and aesthetic, penny rounds became a little less popular but never fell out of favor- much like subways or hexagons, they are a timeless look with vintage origins.

Fast-forward to the past five years: the surge in demand for metallic tile has resulted in inspired and artistic mosaics that have really accented the versatility of the material.  Check it out when mixed with other textures:

The Tessera Square Alpine tile is available through the Home Depot.

The Tessera Square Alpine tile is available through the Home Depot.

GSDTSQAL_732763605054_TesseraSquareAlpine_Prod

A closer look at the Tessera Square Alpine.

SONY DSC

The Fusion Linear Lorraine, a glass and metal mix mosaic tile available through the Home Depot.

However, in the face of all this innovation, ageless looks stand tall: stainless steel penny rounds are tremendously popular. The addition of a glittery sheen to such a versatile look brings this vintage look into the 21st century.

That doesn’t mean it has to go in with other futuristic looks, though. It works with a range of styles. Check out this stainless steel penny round backsplash in this craftsman kitchen:

It coordinates beautifully with the dark colors of the island and the cream cabinets on the wall. Not to mention the fabulous way it contrasts with the copper pots- brilliant!
When paired with polished granite, the effect intensifies. Look at the reflective properties that come together here. This installation is sure to brighten the room:

Just because it’s an up-to-date look doesn’t mean it can’t work anymore with its vintage brethren! Here it is as an accent with some vintage-look subway tile. It acts as a medium-tone between the bright white tile and the dark walls and black accents, accomplishing an effortlessly clean and coordinated look.

As versatile as the original penny rounds that surfaced in the 1900s, stainless steel penny rounds are a perfect example of teaching an old dog new tricks. By adding the stainless steel caps, the look is brought up-to-date while retaining its classic allure.

Curious as to how to care for metal-topped tile? Stay tuned for a post dedicated tips for cutting, installing and caring for your new look!