These rock hard, durable tiles are made from a centuries old process. These tiles are made from marble and Portland cement and natural earth pigments. The tiles are made in three layers which undergo intense pressure from a mechanical hydraulic press. Our tile are not fired. The tiles undergo hydrolysis and harden when soaked in a vat of water. Each tile is hand made individually and is a work of art. There will always be slight subtle variations in each tile and that is a part of the charm.
These tiles are known as mosaicos in many Spanish speaking countries. They are not made of clay or fired like ceramic tiles, they are made from a combination of marble dust, cement and natural pigments. The cement in these tiles give them their incredible strength. We are proud to say that Villa Lagoon Tiles are a very 'GREEN' flooring material.
Each tile is made individually and slight variations from tile to tile are to be expected and are a part of the natural appeal of Encaustic Cement Tiles.
The first step in making a Villa Lagoon encaustic cement tile is the making of the hand-crafted pattern that is used to form the colorful design in the tile. Similar to an elaborate cookie-cutter, the pattern grid has different sections into which the colorful mixes are poured. This pattern grid is securely set into a mold framework that defines the boundaries of the tile.
Once the colors are prepared, the tile-maker pours by hand the proper color of the marble / cement / pigment mix into each section of the grid. What will later be the top of the tile, is face-down in the mold. After the color layer is complete, the grid is carefully removed and a much drier layer of cement mixed with sand is carefully sprinkled on top. This layer draws moisture from the somewhat liquid color mix. The third layer of cement / sand is poured in the mold and leveled.
Afterwards, the "cork", a strong metal plate, is placed on top and the tile in the mold is pressed using a hydraulic press using an immense amount of force.
After pressing, the tiles are carefully removed from the molds and placed in a rack to be lowered into a tank of water to receive the moisture that is necessary for the Portland cement to undergo the chemical change that produces hard concrete.
The tiles are allowed to cure for several days in the racks and not touched. They are then removed and kept in a controlled atmosphere for as long as a month of total curing for strength before being packed for shipment to their final destination.
Encaustic Cement Tiles were manufactured in the United States up thru the 30's and 40's and have been used in stately homes and national landmarks, especially in California and Florida. The tiles go by many different names depending on what country or what part of the country you are in. In English they are often called Encaustic Cement Tiles. Worldwide, the terms that are used to describe this type of concrete tiles vary by region. Names include: cement tiles, hydraulic floor tile, encaustic tiles, hidraulico, hydraulic tiles, ladrilhos hidráulicos, ladril, carreaux de ciments, spanish mission tile, redondo tile, rajoles hidràuliques, baldosas hidráulicas, baldosa hidraulica, pasta potosi tile depending on the language and the country. In Brazil mosaicos hidráulicos are also called "ladrilho de água".
If you have ever wondered about the clay tiles you may have seen in London leading up to the front doors of the elegant townhouses or on entrance hall floors in New England townhouses, then you have seen old clay encaustic tiles. These tiles have color all the way thru them and are in matte finish. They were made in a smilar fashion to our cement encaustic tiles. One British company currently makes Victorian floor tiles like the old ones that they call Original Style Tiles. These old fashioned clay tiles are made in a limited pallet: red, buff, black, white, brown, blue, green and grey. The Victorian Floor tiles are suitable for exterior use and are frost resistant, providing that rainwater can drain freely and cannot penetrate beneath or between them. We can get cement tiles for you with the same geometric patterns but in a much broader color range.