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Cement Tiles Description & Specs

Most tile patterns are formed by 4 pieces to create the complete design.

Original Mission Tile Cement Tiles Tests results by the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), report TCNA-576-12:

ANSI A137.1-2012: Wet Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) | Average 0.65

ASTM C1028: Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF) | Average Dry 0.85 – Wet 0.78

ASTM C648-04: Standard Breaking Strength | Average 789 lbf

ASTM C373: Standard Water Absorption | Average 14.94% (without sealer)

Unique characteristics of Cement tiles

All Original Mission Tile handmade cement tiles are built with three layers that can be seen in a cross section view.

First layer – Color

The wear layer or tile face is a mixture of highly resistant portland white cement, powdered white marble and natural pigments. Wear resistance, color and brightness rely on the quality of this layer. Finished product has the natural finish surface and they can be polished or sealed. Any cement tiles are glazed.

Second layer – Dryer

It is a mortar made of fine sand and high portland cement. For tile manufacturing, this mortar is applied as a base and reinforces the first layer, providing the ability to withstand compression loads which sometimes may be high for the finished product.

Third layer – Body

Is a porous mixture with the required thickness for impact strength before and after installation.

A good tile should be compact & waterproof, tiles are not glazed, which is accomplished by using mixtures rich in high quality cement, mechanically mixed and manufactured under high pressure. In addition, a thorough curing process is used to increase its strength.

Cement Tiles Specs (8×8 tiles)

Product description: Hydraulic pressed handmade cement tiles

Product components: 

1- Wear colored layer: 3 to 4 mm +/- thickness affixed to the tile body by 1,700 PSI mechanical pressure, composed of: white portland cement, marble dust and mineral pigments for color (oxides and organic)

2- Tile Body: 12 mm +/- in thickness, composed of: gray portland cement & sand

Dimensions: 20 cm x 20 cm x 1.60 cm +/- (8” x 8” x 5/8”)

  • 1.3 kg/tile (3.00 lbs) +/-
  • 32.5 kg/m2 (6.53 lbs/sqft) +/-

Average Coefficient of Friction:

  • Unpolished dry: 0.88 – Polished dry: 0.83
  • Unpolished wet: 0.92 – Polished wet: 0.68

Abrasiveness: (scratch-resistance)

3 to 4 Mohs – approximately same as Black Marble

Freeze / Thaw Resistance:

Like concrete, untreated cement tiles are not resistant to freeze / thaw cycles and should be protected with penetrating sealer and a second coat of a sealer based in acrylic.

Acid Resistance:

Cement tiles are not resistant to acids and should be cleaned with pH neutral cleaners.

Use in Wet areas:

A high quality effective sealant must be used for shower, spa, or pool use.

Water absorption test: 9.5 to 10.5%

Cement Tiles History

Cement tiles are handmade colorful tiles used as floor coverings. They appeared in France in the 1850s, and have been widely used in Europe and America.

They are sometimes mistakenly called encaustic tile, which refers to kiln-fired clay tile. Cement tiles are not fired; there is no glaze layer on the surface of the tile. They derive their durability from the combination of finely dehydrated ground Portland cement layer and a more coarse layer of sand and cement. The pigment layer is hydraulically pressed into the surface and becomes a part of the tile.

Cement tile appeared in the 1850s in the south of France. They were exhibited in the Paris International Exposition of 1867 by the French company Garret & Rivet.

In the United States, several sources say the first tiles were made near the country’s first Portland cement plant. Around the turn of the 20th century, the tiles were very popular and were considered a high-end floor covering. It was used in thousands of landmark public buildings and palaces. Their popularity began to wane in the 1920s, but spread again in the 40s primarily in California and Florida.

Cement tiles are made by hand, one at a time, using mineral pigments, cement, a mold, and an hydraulic press. The metal mold is handmade following specific design drawings. The pigment composition is a mixture of high quality white Portland cement, marble powder, fine sand, and natural mineral colour pigments. Cement tiles being handmade are expected to have slight imperfections, which give them character and depth.

There are numerous cement tile manufacturers worldwide. The primary difference between manufacturers is the hydraulic method used. Small companies employ a hand-operated hydraulic press; the quality of the tiles varies due to inconsistent pressure. Larger manufacturers use electric-powered hydraulic presses that produce a consistently higher quality product. The higher pressure (1,500 PSI) permits a thicker pigment layer to be embedded into the cement layer. The pigment layer is usually 3–4 mm thick.

Another difference is the quality of the pigments used. High quality producers use mineral-based pigments only. Non-mineral based pigments fade with age.

Design Studio

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