clé’s flemish black belgian reproduction tile: one tile, two different looks

by clé tile | published: Apr 05, 2022

flemish black in star + cross (bundle). design: taylor & taylor / photo: reagan taylor photography

clé has always been inspired by the way in which europeans embrace tile in design, and the way in which that tile elevates its surroundings. it’s what we look for when we create our tile collections–and it’s something our clients have discovered as well.

one of the best examples of this? our perennially popular belgian reproduction flemish black terracotta tile.

flemish black in hex. design: proem studio / photo: sam frost studio

flemish black in square. design: studio m.haas / photo: michael clifford photography

we created the line as an homage to the great open spaces of northern europe, using rich dark black terracotta to create a versatile tile with refined rusticity that works in a range of environments from traditional to contemporary, and from maximalist to ultra-minimalist. (it’s even fine to use outdoors in warmer climates as long as it is not used in freeze/thaw areas.)

in addition to its versatility, belgian reproduction offers remarkable character and personality: each batch of belgian reproduction flemish tile contains multiple variations in tone–the result of hand mixing and traditional firing methods.

flemish black in rectangle. design: leanne ford / photo: erin kelly

flemish black star + cross (bundle). design: lisa schmitz interiors / photo: jessica cain

better yet, belgian reproduction flemish black can be installed in two very different looks, from richly weathered medium gray in tone to dark and austere. it all depends on a surprising element…the way in which you use grout. think of it as a way to extend your design possibilities.

here are two possible looks that can be achieved using specific grouts and techniques.

as always, hire an experienced installer. as we like to note, your installation is only as good as your installer!

look one: organic and neutral

flemish black star + cross (bundle). design: modern nest / photo: katenelle photography

showcase the natural state of terracotta and its inherent earthiness by using a simple, natural sanded grout and sealant. just apply the grout as you would any tile, keeping the tile surface clean and free from grout. make sure to a grout release or sealant prior to grouting on the light look, then make sure to apply sealant after you’ve grouted.

this method is especially suitable for outdoor installations, as it allows the tile to age naturally.

look one: organic and neutral

the only way to get this moody, consistent dark look is to use a charcoal or black grout and rubber float. float the grout over the surface of the tiles to gently stain them, giving the entire installation an even, dark consistency. then, apply up to four coats of sealant to further enhance and deepen the color.

remember to test sealants and grouts in a small area so you know what to expect.

find the specific grouts and some of the key steps your professional installer will need to take to achieve your desired result in this step-by-step guide.

flemish black square + rectangle (bundle). design: lisa schmitz interiors / photo: mike sinclair