Summer Fun

Summer is in full swing, and we’re happy to bring you some of our favorite images from the home décor set.  A hot day is made infinitely better when you jump into a pool… an experience made even better when the pool is luxurious and beautifully tiled!

This is a customer-submitted photo of our Modena Cobalt Blue tile installed in their pool. It’s a classic look!

 

This is available through the Home Depot.

This is available through the Home Depot.

 

If you’re looking for something a little bohemian, this is very similar to our Coppa Brown Gold and the way it plays off of the shade of the pool water is incredible.

This tile is available through the Home Depot.

This tile is available through the Home Depot.  Photo from Pinterest.

Here’s a way an installer has used tile to make the pool space lush, verdant, and beautiful. This is comparable to our Resort Palm Green tile:

Photo from CasaSugar.com

The Resort Palm Green is available through Home Depot. Photo from CasaSugar.com.

We have a whole Pinterest dedicated to hanging out all summer, and it’s perfect when you’re looking forward to your weekend. Take a look here and give us a follow!  Happy Friday!

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Product of the Week: Avila Arenal Decor

Last week’s Product of the Week was the Revival series, a collection of tiles that looks great laid out in patterns or mixed together. For fans of the charming shuffled look, we recommend the Avila Arenal Décor, which is a ceramic floor and wall tile that has the look of a mosaic of cement tiles without having to meticulously lay down each piece.  Instead, one 12-1/2” x 12-1/2” square takes care of that for you:

The Avila Arenal Decor is available through the Home Depot.

The Avila Arenal Decor is available through the Home Depot.

The Avila Arenal Décor is a ceramic tile with a rustic look that recalls European floral and Islamic patterns.  It has a slightly glossy sheen and a texture that makes the look more distinctive- the gloss finish accents certain parts of the tile, with other parts in a matte sheen.  Even though it looks like a mix of individual tiles, it’s one square piece with a unique glaze encompassing a range of colors and patterns. This is ceramic, so it’s worth noting that while it’ll look great outside in milder climates, it’s not frost resistant- so if you’re in a place that sees extreme weather, this is not the tile for your patio or outdoor space, but it’s great in most indoor residential applications!

This angled shot shows the varying finishes on the tile.

This angled shot shows the varying finishes on the tile. Taken with my cell phone, so apologies for any quality issues!

As previously discussed, the encaustic tile collage is definitely back in style, which is why this is so great. That look works in so many settings. Check it out in this contemporary bathroom:

By keeping the rest of the space low-key, the focus can be on the colors and patterns of the floor.   If you want the pattern to be the center of attention without taking up the entire space, you can always frame it with a more understated piece. It works here, with Avila Cotto, the field tile complementing our product of the week: FPM12ARD_UPC_AvilaArenalDecor_RmScene   Here is a similar layout on Houzz:

If you’re looking to try the same effect with our product of the week, the Avila Cotto is the field tile meant to coordinate with it.  It’s quite a versatile piece, with its rustic, worn look. It’s great for anyone wanting to add a subtly natural touch into their space. It’ll definitely add personality if you pair it up with a tile that looks like it could have been plucked right off of the same patio in Spain!

The Avila Cotto is available through the Home Depot.

The Avila Cotto is available through the Home Depot.

For its creative mix of finishes, range of patterns and mosaic look without being half as time-consuming as putting one together, the Avila Arenal Décor is our product of the week. Take a look at this tile, and the other pieces in the collection, over at the Home Depot website.

 

Don’t forget: We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Houzz, and Google+. Give us a follow! We can’t wait to talk to you.

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:

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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.

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.

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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:

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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.