In the late 19th century, France, a blending of natural metallic oxides, powdered marble and fine sand with portland cement was discovered as a way of making tile, which over time and depending on the locale have come to be known as cement tiles, encaustic cement tiles, hydraulic tile, incrusted tile, impost or mission tile.
The process is simple: the blend is spooned into a mold and squeezed by hydraulic presses before being water cured and aged for strength. Both the materials and process are genuinely eco-friendly. Unlike ceramic tiles, which are usually glazed and fired, very little energy goes into production. Cement tile has slight irregularities and imperfections, giving the tiles an appealing artisan quality that beats ceramic floor tile for character. Because the pattern is several millimeters deep you’ll get decades of service as they develop a natural patina.
The custom is to design one group of 4 tiles. each single tile is rotated 90* to contribute to one motif and when groups of these are arranged over a surface an interlocking tessellation or pattern comes to view. Since cement tile can be molded in endless shapes; hexagonal, rhombus, ogee, arabesque and more and any colour, you may want to submit your own design for a project. Where have you used cement tile?