"It's no longer hip to be square"
Decorative ceramic tile, custom hand made tile for unlimited possibilities
Commonly asked questions and answers
All of our tiles are 100% handmade ceramic tiles that are made in the USA. Everything is 100% custom made at the time of the order, per our customers specifications.
You have the choice of loose tiles or film MOUNTED!
Yes, all of our tiles are safe for showers and floors. They are fully vitrified.
Yes and No. No tiles should be used in a cold climate on cement surfaces that are shovel. Snow removal will chip ANY ceramic tile. If you live in a warm climate they are fine because they are fully vitrified.
If you use tiles outside in ANY climate, ALWAYS seal the concrete where they are set. This protects the concrete from molds forming beneath the tiles, resulting in popping-off tiles.
A tile that is "vitrified" is considered "glass-like. It has been processed in such a way that it has extremely low porosity and water absorption. This means it stain resistant and very strong. By having extremely low porosity, this makes our tiles frost-free.
At Tiles with Style, I use mid-fire porcelain/earthenware clay-bases. These clays must be fired to a specific temperature to be vitrified. I kiln-fire to a slightly higher temp to assure that the entire load of decorative ceramic tiles are fully vitrified.
Vitrified tiles have better mechanical strength. They can be used in a variety of temperatures, are scratch resistant, resistant to acid, alkali, and chemicals, and resistant to staining. Stones, such as marble or natural granite, terrazzo, etc. can stain, scratch, and chip.
Most wall tiles, Mexican clay tiles, and decorative tiles are not vitrified. Tiles that are not vitrified can absorb water over time and possibly breakdown.
Tiles with Styles decorative ceramic tiles ARE FULLY vitrified to last for several generations.
Always use a "sanded grout." Sanded grout is basically cement with sand and coloring that has been added to it, to create a concrete like condition.
If you cannot find a specific color grout, for example blue, you can purchase a neutral tone sanded grout and some cement dye, mix them together and the result will be a custom grout color. Just make certain that you mix an ample amount of grout so you have overage. Otherwise you might not be able to mix up another batch that is exactly the same color.
I would recommend that you weigh the coloring agent prior to mixing, just in case you don't mix enough of the custom color sanded grout.
YES! Always seal the tile grout using a premium grade sealer. These can be purchased at any home improvement store. Buy a top quality sealant like a silicone or teflon sealer. Don't purchase a cheap water-base sealant. These need to be reapplied yearly; just too much work.
By sealing your grout, it keeps fungus and molds from permeating the grout. It also creates a watertight barrier and protects the grout from discoloration from various environmental conditions.
I recommend 501 Impregnator. It's a top quality grout sealer and is available from Home Depot. It's available in a small blue plastic container.
YES; for a couple different reasons. The first one being you do not get an accurate color representation of the stone / pebbles / micro-pebbles / rock until it is sealed. An example of this is shown below.
The stone on the left is sealed; the overlapping right stone is not sealed. If you look at the two speckled stones, you can see that the sealed one is darker and appears to have a variety of color(s) in the stone.
Gray stones can be tricky! If you were to mix paint to try to get a neutral gray it's very difficult. It's comprised of an equal amount of primary colors; blue, red, & yellow. There are a multitude of grays, based on the weight of color combination(s) which are infinite.
ALWAYS seal your stones to get an accurate representation of the color(s). Depending on the finish; glossy, satin, or matt sealer, the color of your sliced pebbles are going to change. They should look deeper and richer in color.
NOTE: You must seal your sliced pebbles PRIOR to installing them, or you will get mortar in the slice-marks or indentations in the stones, creating a hazy look to the rocks.
I prefer a glossy sealer for fish floors, because it lends a wet-, water-look, and appears very clean. If you are looking for a flat, dull appearance, use a matt. I use Glossy, TileLab from Home Depot, for sealing my stone/rock/sliced pebble installations for that wet-look.
Secondly, you MUST seal the stones before installation, to keep the mortar out of the tiny, porous cracks in the stone. When you are completely finished with the installation, and the sanded grout between the joints are fully dry, seal the entire installed floor / shower / wall. I seal my grout using the same sealer as the stone; my preference.
You CAN seal the tiles it will not hurt them! I seal my tiles with the same rock or grout sealer that I use, when I seal the grout. It adds some additional protection to any glaze cracking that naturally occurs during firings.
YES! Please do! Grout pigments are just that; pigments like paint, so you can mix blue and yellow to achieve greenNothing makes a nicer installation than using your grout color that coordinate with you design. The picture below shows an example of blue grout that was used to simulate water.
I want you to see an example of the studio layout, prior to grouting and the finished installation with grout. Look at the left picture; it lacks depth; the main focus is on the tree. This is because the background is the same color. Now look at the picture on the right; there is depth, unity, and a sense of peace. Breathe it in and enjoy.
Japanese Maple Tree of Life - "Hands of God"
This beautiful mosaic tile Tree of Life is made up of individual shaped tiles that comprise a Japanese Maple tree ceramic tile mosaic. It stands strongly alone in a green pasture with a flowing stream beneath it.
As you can see, this kitchen sink back splash ceramic tile design perfectly posed behind a sink/vessel, comes alive when installed; just like when our soul enters our vessel at birth.
The sky and tiled stream use a blue tile grout and the grassy area used a green ceramic tile grout to create depth.
Yes you can! Go to www.directcolors.com. You can purchase an additive there to use with White and Gray SANDED grouts. Specifically see their Concrete Pigment page. Blue colors are near the bottom of the page and include:
This is an example of a green concrete pigment that was added to a cream-based sanded grout...
The picture below show our "busy," Showroom bathroom floor. The Dark Ocean, sliced pebbles use a medium gray sanded grout, while the water area uses a sea foam green-toned, ceramic tile sanded grout.
When you look at the picture, the gray rocks almost look fuzzy. This is because a "like" color grout was used in the rocks; blending the colors together. I didn't want to emphasize the rocks, but the pond.
Another example of the showroom bathroom but standing inside the shower. Just a subtle grout color change makes the difference when creating a stream effect.
This is an example of a dyed blue grout to simulate tropical waters.
"Our house remodel is almost complete and they finally finished grouting the coral reef today. www.DirectColors.com had the blue concrete pigment that you suggested on your website. It is a true work of art — probably our favorite part of the remodel! I really love it. Thanks for creating something we'll be proud of for a very long time!" R & M Hudson, Ft. Walton Beach, FL
Please visit my Design Process page in the left column.
No. All tiles are shaped; not square. Thus our slogan..."It's no longer hip to be square." I feel by eliminating the nasty horizontal and vertical lines caused by the grout lines, the overall appearance is more soothing to the eye; natural. The grout actually becomes part of the design.
I personally feel that my tiles are easier to install than square tiles, because you don't have to perfectly match up any straight lines. If you are doing a sliced-pebble installation, you remove some of the rocks, from the location where you want to place a fish, then replace the rocks around the fish. It's quite simple, so no special expertise is required.
1/4" thick, or as close to that as possible. Being handmade and not manufactured, there are no exacts.