everything you need to know about cement tiles

by clé tile | published: Apr 21, 2021

a cement floor tiled with clé tile solid cement squares in metal and barn.

whether you're just beginning to consider using cement tile for your project, or are about to place an order, here's what you need to know, from whether cement tile is the best tile for your project, to tips on where to install cement tile, to cement tile cleaning and maintenance.

clé put cement tile on the map in the US over ten years ago and we know a thing or two about this extraordinary material and the kinds of questions clients often have about it. here's a round up of the best resources from our wealth of experience.

deciding if cement tile is the best tile for your project

where to install cement tile

cement tile cleaning and maintenance

installing tile outdoors

top installation tips: grout, sealant, and trim

clé tile cement pattern squares in moroccan 2 petite arabesque and alhambra.

are cement tiles right for me?

if cement tiles are new to you, rest assured that in other parts of the world they have graced the halls and walls of fine homes and cool cafes to regal hotels and stately institutions for at least a century. but they're not for everyone. learn more about  choosing cement tile, including what you should expect in terms of color variation and patina.

cement compass in white + black. design: House of Jade Interiors / photo: Travis J. Richardson

cement solid in mocha rectangle. design: City Home Collective / photo: Kerri Fukui

where should you use cement tiles?

so you like the look of cement tiles but are not sure where to use them? fortunately, cement tile can be used on almost any interior surface and exterior surfaces in non-freeze/thaw climates. here is a list of a few of the places we love to see cement tile:

  • interior floors
  • exterior floors (non freeze/thaw)
  • interior floors warmed with radiant heat
  • interior walls
  • exterior walls (non freeze/thaw)
  • showers
  • steam showers
  • residential spaces with heavy traffic
  • commercial spaces with heavy traffic
  • sink backsplashes
  • stove backsplashes
  • fireplace surrounds

see where you can install cement tiles for more details, including questions to go over with your installer and things to remember during the installation process.

clé tile pattern cement squares in new west pattern one. design: natalie myers / photo: charlotte lea.

clé tile solid cement hexes in black. design: veronica valencia / photo: megan welker

top installation tips for trim, grout and sealant

once your installer (one experienced with handcrafted cement tile, please) has installed your cement tiles they'll need to know how to trim, grout, and seal the tile. we follow the international model of no trim but we do give recommendations for alternatives. see our pointers on tile trim for more on the long tradition of no trim and why we prefer it.

when it comes to grout, make sure to work closely with your contractor and installer to pick a grout color that works well in all kinds of lighting, at any time of day. your cement tile installation can only be as good as your installer, so make sure to find a professional who has experience installing cement tile.

due to the porous nature of cement, all cement tile installations will need to be sealed after grouting, and once or twice a year depending on the foot traffic in the area.

read our post on cement tile installation for our tips. (keep in mind, these are not "how-to" or step-by-step installation guides. we leave that up to your professional installer.)

ordering and receiving cement tiles

so you’ve read all about cement tiles and you are ready to order. our blog post on ordering cement tiles tackles a few things we would like you to consider before making a purchase. this includes industry standard notes on ordering overage, how to look at patterned tile as a whole, the importance of an experienced installer, as well as what to expect when your tile order arrives.

a patterned floor created with clé tile cement rectangles in black and square in barn.

tips on cleaning and maintenance

over time, a natural patina will occur on cement floors as they naturally wear. a mild, ph neutral soap (such as meyers) should be sufficient for most cleaning, but make sure to do a spot test before general use.

here are some guidelines on cement cleaning and maintenance.

cement resources

for more product details please review our cement material guidelines.