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 (Read more below under “Do Cement Tiles Need to be Sealed?”)
- Made by pouring natural pigments into a mold and compressing with Portland cement
- 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 1/2 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: How many tiles do I need?
After measuring your space and recording how many square feet of tile you will need, we recommend adjusting the total with an additional 10% overage. This will cover any chipping or cracking that might occur during shipment or installation.
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.
There is a small order up-charge for cement quantities under 40 square feet, and clay quantities under 100 pieces.
How do I place an order?
Fill out the “Request a Tile Estimate” form linked at the bottom of the product page, or contact us with your desired pattern, colors, shipping address, and contact phone. We’ll get back to you with the break down, including freight shipping and lead time, for your 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. View the full available palette here. Palettes are available for purchase for $12/each. We can also color-match your preferred swatch (additional lead time and cost apply).
CLAY: Yes! Our clay tiles are available in similar colors as our cement palettes for an additional fee ($1-1.15 per tile). Palettes are available for purchase for $15/each.
Do you sell solid color tiles? What shapes?
We sure do! At the moment, we only offer solid color tiles in cement. They can be produced in any of our 60 colors, or customized to match a Pantone color. We offer: Square, Hexagon, Octagon, Subway, Scallop, Diamond, Arabesque, and well as both single and double Bullnose trim tiles. Contact us for detailed sizing and pricing.
How much does shipping cost?
- Most orders are shipped via freight from Texas, and the final cost will vary depending on weight and destination–usually between $250-350 per order.
- Due to freight minimums, smaller orders cost a little more per piece to ship as opposed to larger orders.
- 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.
- 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 6-8 weeks for our clay tiles to be made.
- Once packaged and shipped, freight service takes about 4-8 business days to deliver to their destination.
- Some of our popular patterns, such as Cattail and Otomi cement, can ship out as soon as one to two 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.
- In some cases, we are able to rush an order. Contact us for more information.
Do cement tiles need to be sealed?
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 Miracle Sealant’s 511 series, such as their Porous Plus sealant.
After sealing, our tiles can be cleaned with a pH-neutral cleaner suitable for natural stone. 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.
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.
How are cement tiles installed?
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.