do i need to seal cement tiles?
due to the porous nature of cement, grout lines and the tile surface in all applications (dry and wet) must be sealed after grouting with mapei's flexcolor cq.
exterior walls require vertical weather flashing and waterproof, penetrating sealant. exterior floors must be installed above grade with waterproof, penetrating sealant.
for more information about sealing please see our encaustic cement installation & maintenance guide.
do you offer trim for your cement tile?
at clé we follow the international model of no trim and highly recommend our clients to do the same. below are the trim alternatives we recommend for this collection.
- if your project needs to turn a corner either inwardly or outwardly, mitering the tiles to meet seamlessly in a corner gives it the cleanest, crafted finish.
- another way to complete your tiling is to run a bead of caulk or grout along the exposed tile edge.
- if you have a painted surface next to your tile, you can choose to paint the outer edge of the tile to match the painted surface.
- like with any of our tiles, you can also build out the sheetrock so that the surface of the finished sheetrock is flush with the surface of the tile.
how do i clean my encaustic cement tiles?
over time, a natural patina will occur on floors as they are maintained and naturally wear. mild, pH neutral soaps should be sufficient for most cleaning—test before general use. clean using soft materials, like a cloth, instead of coarse materials. always avoid harsh chemicals and acidic or alkaline cleaning products. grout lines can be cleaned with warm water and a soft bristled cleaning brush. immediately clean up spills—do not allow liquids to sit on the tile surface. most stains can be removed with a pH neutral dish soap, hot water and the scrub side of a sponge.
topical sealants will require periodic stripping and re-application of sealant— please refer to a professional for this. single coat reapplication of the penetrating sealant is required once a year in shower applications due to the continuous exposure to water. reapplication is needed more often if installation is in a steam shower. please refer to a professional for this.
see our encaustic cement installation & maintenance guides for more information.
what does it mean to have cement tiles come pre-polished and pre-sealed?
all our cement tiles come pre-polished and pre-sealed with a smooth matte surface. other cement tiles do not have the benefit of a pre-polish and pre-seal finish. polishing means that the cement surface "tooth" has been polished away and it allows the tiles to resist surface dirt. it also helps to begin their inherent patina right away. the polishing is completed with a light penetrating sealer that allows the tiles to ship without the abrasion issues that are prevalent when shipping pigmented tiles. we keep the sealant light so that it doesn't act as a bond barrier for the setting material. the tile will still require additional sealants.
our cement tiles are considered ‘inherently non-emitting sources’ under the Low-emitting Materials Credit of LEEDv4/v4.1, but our current pre-seal offering is not compliant with LEED. Because we offer them finished in a pre-polish & pre-seal format to support stain resistance, we would recommend ordering them without the sealant, in the pre-polish format only, in order to qualify for the Low-emitting Materials Credit.
what are encaustic cement tiles?
each encaustic cement tile is painstakingly hand crafted, one tile at a time, to create solid or patterned tiles formed from pigmented cement. the tiles are not fired in a kiln, but are cured in water for a lasting cement surface that is as stunning in its finish as it is good for the environment.
clé 100% guarantees that no two encaustic cement tiles will be alike. in fact, it is all these imperfections that designers find so captivating. if your design tendencies do not lean toward imperfection, then encaustic cement tiles are not for you!
what types and levels of variation and imperfections should i expect?
if you are expecting perfect tiles- then cement may not be for you. cement tiles are created from cement and natural pigments. this, alone, creates tiles of extreme variation of color, pattern, shade and size. additionally, each tile is made by hand- one tile at a time. if your project requires beautiful hand made variation that is perfectly imperfect, then cement tiles will be good for your project. due to the color and shade variations, it is very important to blend the tiles from all boxes once they arrive and place them in their installation area to ensure you have the layout you want before installing. do not install without blending tiles from all boxes.
how will my cement tile samples compare to my actual order?
as noted in the variation and add on orders sections of our faq, color and size variation between production batches of cement tile, in addition to variation from tile to tile, is to be expected given the handcrafted nature of the product. this makes it unlikely that your sample will be a perfect match with your actual order.
if you are expecting uniform tiles- then cement may not be for you.
variation and imperfection ratings:
cement tiles are rated 'level 3 medium' for color variation, 'level 1 smooth' for texture variation, 'level 1 slight' for size variation, and 'level 1 light' for both chips and cracks.
see illustrations in the product specifications section above, and read more about the ratings in our tile variation and imperfections guide.
what should i expect with my order of cement tile?
dust and shipping residue are to be expected and should be cleaned prior to installing. irregular or chipped edges and cracked surfaces are also to be expected and normal.
Smudging caused by friction during shipping, and clouding of the tile surface where the pre-application of sealant has humidified are uncommon, but these issues can sometimes occur.
-smudging tends to be more common/ noticeable on contrasting black and white patterned tiles.
-in general, our recommended 15% overage should cover any smudging or clouding found within an order, however, if needed, tiles can easily be sanded down by hand with 400 grit sandpaper to fully remove any smudging or clouding prior to sealing.
-all of our cement tiles have a pigment layer that is roughly 1/8" (+/- 1/16") thick, so sanding will ONLY effectively remove the top-most micro-layer of the tile surface to access the fresh pigment underneath.
-cement tiles are traditionally not packaged with a sheet of paper or styrofoam between them as the tiles are generally still moist from production; during shipping, if packed with paper this moisture can turn to mold - or if packed with styrofoam, this can act as a moisture trap and contribute to clouding.
why do you suggest i order at least 15% more than my measurements?
industry standard suggests adding at least 15% overage due to tile cuts, potential breakage, or future repairs.
is it possible to purchase more of the same material after my initial order (i.e. place an add on order)?
color and size variation between production batches of cement tile is a normal occurrence and to be expected given the handcrafted nature of the tile. please keep this in mind when calculating your order, and be sure to purchase enough material.
for more information related to ordering and shipping, please be sure to visit our shipping and returns and delivery information resource pages.