How are cement and clay tiles different?
While cement and clay are similar in appearance once installed, there are some important differences to consider when selecting the right tile for your project.
- Matte Finish
- Thicker 5/8ths inch depth
- Porous + must be sealed (Similar to stone)
- May develop a patina over time (See “Sealant and Maintenance Tips for Cement Tiles” below)
- Made by pouring natural pigments, marble powder, and Portland cement into a mold and compressing
- Pigment depth of 1/4th inch allows for heavy tread that can be lightly sanded/refinished if necessary (appropriate for high-traffic areas)
- Water-cured and not fired (eco-friendly)
- Should be cleaned and maintained with pH-neutral cleaners only
- Exceeds industry standards for slip resistance (CoF)
- With care, can last forever
- Satin finish
- Thinner 3/8th inch depth
- Non-porous, no sealant necessary (i.e. ideal for a backsplash)
- Won’t patina
- Made by screen printing non-lead pigments onto the surface of clay-based tile
- Thin surface pigment depth may show light wear after many years of heavy use
- May be washed with standard cleaners
- May be slightly slippery when wet
- Designed to biodegrade after 150 years
Aside from the above, their similarities are notable. Both tiles are can be used both on the floor and on the wall, and are appropriate for residential and commercial projects. While we don’t recommend our tiles in pools or fountains, they can be installed in wet areas with the correct installation practices. Both tiles are known for their handmade, natural variation, and character-adding colors and patterns.
Tile help: Know before you order
OVERAGE: After measuring your space and recording how many square feet of tile is needed, we recommend adjusting the total with an additional 15% overage. This will cover chipping or cracking that can occur during shipment or installation, and is key to a timely and hassle-free experience.
All tile orders will be rounded up to the next full box to ensure they are packed correctly. Please check the product page for the exact number of tiles per box.
ORDER MINIMUMS: While we offer quantities as low as one box, it’s important to note that the delivery cost can be higher per piece for orders under 50/sf.
VARIATION: Because all of our tile is made by hand, some variation in color, finish, edging, and pattern should be expected. We aim for perfection, with a mix of wabi-sabi.
SAMPLES: As always, it’s wise to order a sample first to ensure you love the look and finish of your tile. Keep in mind your final order will be a close match to the sample you receive, but as noted above, may vary slighly due to the natural pigments used. Grow House Grow does not issue refunds for these inherent variations.
FREIGHT DELIVERY: Freight delivery is by appointment, and is curbside only. Someone should be present to accept your order, inspect each box, and sign for the pallet. A lift gate can be requested when your delivery window is scheduled. Should the delivery destination change after an order is in transit, any charges to redirect the shipment will be the sole responsibility of the customer.
DAMAGES IN DELIVERY: In the unlikely event your order is damaged in commercial freight delivery, Grow House Grow will replace the quantity needed to complete your installation free of charge. (For example: two boxes [24 pieces] of cement tile arrive broken, and eight tiles are still needed to complete your job. Grow House Grow will send one more box of 12 tiles, gratis. While we do our best, replacement tile cannot always be rushed and may be subject to normal lead-times.)
REFUNDS + RETURNS: Because our tiles are handmade just for you, we do not accept returns once your order has been placed.
How do I place an order?
Can I customize the color?
CEMENT: Yes! Our tiles are handmade to order, which means customizing using our 60-color palette is free of charge. Palettes are available for purchase for $12/each. For colors outside of our palette range, we can mix a hue similar to your preferred Pantone color (additional lead time and fees apply). Custom sample tiles are also available upon request ($80 for one, +$45 for each additional with a 2-3 week lead time).
CLAY: Yes! Our clay tiles are available in colors similar to our cement palettes. Individual color chips are available for purchase for $0.80/each. Custom sample tiles are also available upon request ($60 for one, with a 6-8 week lead time).
Do you sell solid color tiles? What shapes?
We can create a variety of compliemtary solid color tiles to match our patterened pieces. We offer square, hexagon, octagon, subway, scallop, diamond, arabesque, and both single and double bullnose trim tiles. Contact us for detailed sizing and pricing.
How much does shipping cost?
All orders are carefully boxed and tightly packed onto a pallet, and delivered directly to your job site.
- Tiles are shipped via freight (FOB Laredo, TX) and the final cost will vary depending on weight and destination–usually between $280-450 per order.
- Due to freight minimums, smaller tile quantities cost a little more per piece to ship as opposed to larger quantities.
- Freight delivery is by appointment, which means someone will need to be present to accept your order, inspect each box, and sign for the pallet.
- Freight delivery is curbside only.
- Please note there is an additional charge to change a delivery address once the product as shipped.
*Note to Austin shoppers: Our clay tiles are available for local delivery ($80 per pallet), or can be picked up for free in north Austin.
What is the lead time? Can I rush my order?
- While lead times can vary, it usually takes 4-6 weeks for our cement tiles, and 10-12 weeks for our clay tiles to be made.
- Once packaged and shipped, freight service takes about 5-10 business days to deliver to their destination.
- Some of our popular cement patterns, such as Cattail and Jardín de Luna, can ship out as soon as 2-3 weeks. Please check your preferred tile’s product page for general lead times. Since our tiles are traditionally made, it’s advised to plan ahead.
- Please note that while orders are rarely delayed beyond their stated ship window, lead times can change unexpectedly due to unforeseen circumstances (such as transit issues due to weather, Covid-related production delays, etc.). In the rare event that a lead time must be extended, we will alert you as soon as possible.
- In some cases, we are able to rush an order. Contact us for more information.
Sealant, grout, maintenance, and care tips for cement tiles
Cement tiles are naturally porous, much like stone. To prevent staining and discoloration, it’s important to seal the tile both before and after grouting. Depending on their location and how much traffic they experience, it’s wise to reseal them every few years (according to the sealant’s instructions). We recommend Dry-Treat Stain Proof and Miracle Sealant’s 511 series, such as their Porous Plus sealant.
When selecting your grout color, be sure to choose something that is similar or lighter than the main background color of your tile. Dark pigments can cloud and stain the surafce of cement tiles if not applied carefully, and should only be used with a dark pattern. Be sure to check our installation guidelines for application pointers to keep your tile looking fresh!
After installation, our tiles can be cleaned with a pH-neutral cleaner suitable for natural stone, as well as polished with wax. Always follow the usage and dilution instructions from the manufacturer, and test new products in an inconspicuous area. Other easy maintenance includes regular sweeping, and the use of floor mats at busy entryways. Never use bleach or acidic cleaners, as they can strip the sealant and damage the tile’s natural pigments.
Since the top pigment layer of cement tile is 1/4th inch deep, their surface can be refinished with a wet sander (using 400+grit), and then resealed to their original condition if necessary. Smaller topical stains can also be sanded down by hand, and individual tiles resealed.
Cement tiles have added luscious pattern and color across the world for nearly 200 years, though they are still a fairly new product within the United States. Their coveted patina, which adds texture and develops over time, is an integral part of how they wear in to fit their environment. That said, they may not be ideal for clients who are unaccustomed to their varied natural look. Cement tiles are meant to last a lifetime, and with proper care they’ll be a vibrant addition to your space for years to come.
For further care and product recommendations, please see our Cement Tile Installation Guide.
Can I enhance the color of my cement tile?
Yes! Should you wish to enrich the finished look of your cement tile, we recommend a topical sealant such as DryTreat Intensifia. It’s important to test your enhancing sealant on a sample tile to ensure you like the finished look.
Installation + Technical Data
Installing cement tiles is a straight forward process, though some steps will vary depending on where they are being used. We recommend hiring a professional installer familiar with cement and concrete tiles.