Historically Ceramic tiles have been made by man for almost 4000 years. Be it decorative tile work of Persia, mosaics of Spain, the majolica floor tiles of renaissance Italy, the faiences of Antwerp or the tile iconography of Netherlands all remain landmarks in the history of ceramic tile. Though Ceramic tiles of modern world had humble beginnings as simple white or beige color squares for bathrooms and kitchens, today they come in all sorts of shape, size, color and design and have made their way into the rest of the home.
What’s more Ceramic tile have a true “Green” pedigree as it is made entirely from natural, recyclable and biodegradable materials. Being naturally waterproof and mould/mildew resistant, ceramic tiles improve indoor air quality and as they need no polishing are installed faster.
There are various types of ceramic tile products available in market that can be used as floor tiles, wall tiles or roof tiles with literally thousands of styles and grades to choose from. However based upon the material and properties of ceramic tiles they are divided into few broad categories:
Vitrified tiles: These tiles are compact, scratch and acid resistant and possess better mechanical strength. They are practically replacing stone and marble as flooring due to their stone like qualities such as seamless joint and uniform color and texture.
Porcelain tiles: These versatile tiles come with a plain, rough, or polished finish and can be used in interiors and are an excellent choice for outdoor conditions as they don’t wear easily under heavy traffic.
Mosaic tiles: These are small tiles, about .75 inches to 1 inch in size mounted on paper sheets or latex mesh for easy installation. These tiles can be ceramic, porcelain or glass and are most suitable on walls, curved surfaces as murals, in water pools, and low traffic floors. They do not chip easily and due to numerous grout joints are slip resistant too.
Glazed tiles: These non porous, smooth surface tiles are stain proof, most suitable for low traffic areas, walls and countertops. The large format glazed tiles with satin finish are quite popular these days.
Quarry tiles: These thick and dense tiles are mostly used in heavy commercial establishments. Their natural color and rugged surface texture gives them naturally stain resistant and slip resistant qualities.
Terracotta tiles: These handmade or machine made tiles are often used as roof tiles, they feature a rustic look and stay cool in summers and warm in winters though unglazed terracotta tiles need a coat of sealer every year.
Tiles are the most versatile medium and design possibilities are limited only by imagination. The latest tile design trends range from bold colors to black and white scheme and from large sizes to tiny mosaic patterns. While black and white is the minimalist design expression in step patterns, diagonal designs and combination of patterns and textures, the vibrant color palette brighten up the spaces and works well in homes. Bold colors tiles can also accentuate the black and white layout. Another recent trend is the metallic finish tiles in steel, copper, bronze, gold or silver, with fresh as well as rusted and classic appearance. Ceramic tiles with steel inlays and Stainless steel finish borders can give the most contemporary look. Oxidized and weathered steel look are the other designer finishes in demand. In terms of size large format tiles are the hottest look that gives a grand look to the space.
With their flawless jointing and eye-catching finishes they almost look like stone. Besides as the focus is now on natural materials, they are being emulated in tiles too such as stone, wood and textiles, even natural elements like bamboo and pebbles are being reproduced in tile finishes. As natural design does not repeat itself similarly the emerging concept based tiles- that are designs made using a combination of tiles, too break monotonous pattern and are thus popular with designers. Similarly there is also an inclination towards history and heritage; manufacturers are increasingly borrowing from the past to capture the essence of old world and reproducing in tiles. Retro is one of the hard to miss old school style reemerging today with lime green, orange colors and checkerboard pattern. For luxury spaces there are now high end tiles with gold and silver texture and Swarovski inlays. As also the exclusive digitally printed ceramic tiles that are custom made with complete image permanence.
Ceramic tiles nowadays have become a major lifestyle product and designer tiles have caught the fancy of Indian customers. With technological innovations and designs, the options are endless in terms of finishes and aesthetics as well as application for various uses. Today tiles are used all over for interiors, residential as well as commercial spaces and in fact are considered new fashion statement.