Picking out and Living With Terracotta Carpet Tiles


Terracotta – as well as literally “earth” or “fired” is just about the most basic and oldest making materials ever made. Terracotta’s essential clay has been fired in a very kiln until it becomes tricky and semi-vitrified and this substance is used to make roof porcelain tiles, drainage pipes, and flooring tiles.

As a flooring substance, terracotta has had to take on a massive range of alternatives which can be currently available on the market, ranging from ceramics through to travertine but it could be very difficult to find a material that may be quite as “living” because of this one.

Spain, Portugal, This particular language, Italy and Mexico will be the main countries of origin for most of the terracotta floor coverings available today and they supply porcelain tiles of numerous colors, shapes, thicknesses, and qualities. The key to purchasing the best floor for you is always to seek good advice. Despite offering this material, some retailers tend not to seem to know much regarding the product and this leads to inadequate sales or worse, negative advice – leaving a buyer with a floor that is not whatever they expected – hopefully, this information will help you make an informed choice the very next time you are considering an investment in a clay surfaces floor.

As already mentioned, clay tiles come from countries using a temperate clime – this is certainly no coincidence because several terracotta manufacturers use the sunshine as a means of air-drying their particular tiles prior to firing inside a kiln. When first created from wet clay, the porcelain tiles have to dry naturally just before they are put in the kiln, should they weren’t they would simply break as the water within these boiled off and broadened. Once the tiles are dried up they can then be dismissed from your job in the kiln – the moment and temperature of which ranges upon the type of tile staying produced.

Essentially there are a couple of basic types of tile, hand-made and machine-made, both presenting quite different finishes to the carpet.

Hand-made tiles are typically considerably more rustic in their appearance and in addition they display much more texture of their finish – some can even have paw prints, as well as bird’s feet, marks included, where they have been walked with whilst drying outdoors. Hand-made tiles are exceptionally fantastic at disguising dirt as their conclusion is so variegated and they completely lend themselves to installment in a rustic environment for example a barn conversion etc.

Often, handmade products are made in an increasingly basic way and kiln temperatures are not as operated as some machine-made solutions. Some kilns for instance, usually are fired by wood and infrequently a brisk wind will probably draw the kiln disease, creating a fluctuation in heat range within the kiln, which causes sloping firing. A consequence of this is this tiles can be produced that contain dramatic color variation inside of themselves and from to pick from to tile and also salt-pitting – small pockets of mineral salts that push through from the surface of the to pick from ranging in size from a pea up to a golf ball in dimension. Small fissures and breaks in the surface of these porcelain tiles are also quite common.

Some hand-made tiles are thrown inside a mold that rests on yellow sand, the wet clay will be trimmed to size as well as the tile is pushed out of it is mold ready for drying and also ultimately firing – one of many accidental benefits of this technique is the fact one side of the to pick from is sand-textured and the porcelain tiles can be laid “upside down” to create a more rustic result during installation if desired by the client.

Machine-made clay is a much less labor extensive process as much of the work blending together and cutting the clay surfaces is done by machine: this does give a degree of order, and regularity to these types and the shooting process is usually in electric-powered kilns with a close dangerous temperature that produces a far more uniform and blemish-free solution. Be aware that even machine-made flooring can still have minor weaknesses such as bowing and trivial salt pitting but these are really a characteristic of the material and ought to be seen as positives as an alternative to negatives.

There are some manufacturers who all combine both methods, being created the clay by hand and firing it in electric kilns – these tiles provide the best of both worlds presenting a rustic tile with a considerably more uniform finish – particularly San Genis in Spain.

How do we choose? Well, firstly you need to look at your lifestyle before finding any type of flooring. If you are the almost person who wants (or needs) to be scrubbing or scrubbing floors every day – in that case, avoid terracotta – that you are far better with a product including ceramic. If you are not – read with…

If you are happy to live with a little bit of dirt, then terracotta can be the right choice. The floor should not appear pristine and many clays, especially hand-made ones actually take advantage of dirt and neglect. The kind of room that is being ceramic will also have an influence on your own choice – your decoration may not lend itself to the rusticity of some clays but may be better best for a machine-made product.

We might recommend that your tiles are generally sealed using the traditional technique of boiled linseed oil* as well as coats of traffic wax tart paste, this really does give you a terracotta an authentic finish that could get better with age plus a little dirt. There are alternate options but we would always highly recommend using oil as the principal sealer as it will give typically the tiles color and security – an alternative finish for you to wax can be any one of any number of proprietary finishes for instance HG Cotto Finish rapid a water-based metalized emulsion that is applied after olive oil – this will give your mosaic glass a wax-like luster nonetheless they will not “weather” in for the reason that dirt just will not remain focussed on this type of sealer.

(* take note, linseed oil is an oxidizing oil and it generates high temperature as it sets… NEVER put olive oil-soaked rags in a tray or bag as they could spontaneously combust… always clean up out or burn olive oil-soiled rags/sponges)

So, when you have come to this point and chosen to choose terracotta your next major step is to select your own personal installer. Not all tilers are aware of working with fired clay so please check that your tiler is usually fully conversant in the issue, they should certainly know about their use, which sealers to work with, and how to care for the floor later – if they cannot rapid don’t use them – get someone who can!

Looking after your own personal floor… as we have stated previously, terracottas are decent at hiding or hiding dirt. We always advise that our customers just spread around or vacuum their surfaces and if they really have to break the mop in anger, either use ordinary water or a radical cleaner such as HG Superfloor – don’t use detergents because they remove your hard-earned polish film! Most installers will even offer the customer a rewaxing service (after all they ought to have the commercial polisher to perform this) and the fee is generally quite reasonable – especially if the floor is well established — a 15 sqm ground would usually take just below 1 hour to rewax as well as polish.

So what’s this – we hope we’ve provided you with enough information to be able to call and make an informed decision about clay tiles and whether or not they would be the right choice for you. If you undertake to decide to invest in this type of floor and it is installed correctly you could expect it to be with you for a lifetime.

Richard Williams is the owner of Dovetail Wood and Stone, professional installer of all types of ceramic tile and wood flooring.

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