When asked for his thoughts on marriage, Woody Allen once famously exclaimed “Marriage? That’s for life, it’s like cement!” In this post I’ll not delight you with a treatise on something I know little about – namely marriage, but rather on a material I’ve an intimate knowledge of – cement.
The Strength and Simplicity of the Raw Material
Cement is probably the most ubiquitous building material of all time, famed for its durability, reliability, and versatility. Traditionally it’s been associated with industry, and thus for years within homes, cement has been hidden behind paint, wall paper, wood panelling, and the like. In recent times, however, there’s a growing retro trend of peeling back the layers to reveal the raw simple material in its purest form.
The Allure of Concrete
Urban living spaces across the UK are increasingly succumbing to the allure of clean, simple industrial finishes. And polished concrete is the finish de rigueur right now. Such a minimalist look simultaneous portrays a modern edge and a homely natural warmth, uncompromising strength, but with delicate subdued tones. Indeed, cement’s monochrome hues are much sought after as they provide that confident backdrop in which to present creative interior designs. And to add to the bargain, it is an incredibly durable flooring material.
The Problem with Concrete
However, concrete presents the homeowner with one significant problem – staining. Concrete is an incredibly absorbent material and starts to absorb liquid as soon as it comes in contact with it. So you will always need to be vigilant for spillage on your concrete surface. And even if you act fast, there are many domestic liquids such as wine, oils, vinegar, and coffee which, if spilled, will quickly penetrate your gorgeous concrete flooring or walls leaving stubborn and often permanent stains. Thus, you might conclude, it’s just not worth the hassle of adopting this minimalist style to create that modern edgy look in your home.
The Solution of Cement-Effect Tiles
Tile Devil, however, offers a splendid solution to this conundrum via its extensive selection of cement-effect tiles. These robust, highly durable floor and wall tiles replicate dyed cement, retaining the distinctive characteristics and raw allure of the authentic building material. Add to that their ease of maintenance - concepts such as sealing and buffing simply disappear with cement-effect tiles - and the absolute stain proof surface, and you’ve the perfect solution for those seeking the raw appeal of an unrefined cement floor.
Although they’ll never perfectly succeed in achieving the uninterrupted effect of polished concrete, cement-effect tiles come in very large (as well as regular) dimensions which closely simulate the original finish. Take a look, for example, at our Kallio floor tiles, to appreciate just how stunning the cement-effect style can be.
Reminiscent of Polished Concrete
This Kallio glazed porcelain tile is one of the flagship tiles of Halcon, one of Spain’s leading manufacturers. Note how the large tiles faithfully replicate highly polished cement flooring, and the retro design combines simplicity of design with the rugged strength and reliability of concrete. They offer a colour neutral choice for home flooring, with just slight patterning. The highly reflective surface, in a stylish light cream, evokes a natural look that will instil class and charm into any living space.
An Unassuming Backdrop
One of the great attractions of cement-effects tiles is the unassuming manner in which they integrate seamlessly into almost any domestic setting, while never dominating the scene. Rather, they tend to provide a stable, neutral canvas which offers the scope and freedom to the creative home dweller to personalise their environment. Take for example our range of Factory Floor Tiles, available as Factory White, Factory Grey and Factory Large Grey floor tiles.
The Factory grey floor tiles are perfectly designed as the ultimate in cement-effect flooring. They evoke a tough industrial era when the urban landscape was dominated by uncompromising sprawling factories, and the workplace was filled with huge powerful steel machines. Yet the medium grey colour softens this motif, and the tiles do not dominate the room. Rather, they provide a marvellous backdrop and offer a warm invitation to present your own designs and schemes in your living space. They’re the perfect paradox of archaic yet modern, cool yet warm. These grey floor tiles come in a versatile 45 x 45 cm format, or for larger areas in an on-trend 60 x 60 cm format.
Our Factory floor tile is also available in the fabulously dark graphite tone, which provides an eye-catching backdrop to offset white or grey kitchen units. And those who prefer a brighter cement look will be attracted to our Factory White floor tile.
These fabulous white tiles are the perfect solution for those seeking the minimalist look, and work particularly well in the kitchen. The softness and warmth of the off-white hues belie the toughness and endurance of this solid glazed porcelain tile. Like all our cement-effect tiles, the matt surface is user friendly and easy to maintain.
Too Industrial-looking for our Homes?
At first glance, some homeowners may worry that this visceral look is too industrial for their homes. But I hope that the above examples have assuaged such worries, and that our range of subtle cement hues (white, cream, beige, graphite), and particularly our extensive array of warm grey tones, demonstrate how the industrial can be domesticated to create a truly special home space.
A Range of Textures
Indeed, not only do the cement-effect tiles have a range of monochromatic tones, but also a selection of understated textures. In production, the tiles can be clouded, shaded, brushed - and in some cases deliberately scratched with irregular marks. This generates distinctive patterns that allow you to forge refined yet striking decorative styles on your floors or walls and enhance the visual impact. Take a closer look at our Smart Wall Tile below as an example.
If you’re looking to personalise an urban style in your home, you should consider cement-effect tiles. Working equally well in kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces, this motif combines a modern, chic look with the welcoming warmth of unassuming hues. They’re absolutely stain-proof, and there’s no need to worry about durability – just like Woody Allen’s view of marriage, these glazed porcelain tiles will last a lifetime.
By The Tile Monk.
About The Author
The Tile Monk lives a simple life devoted completely to tile worship. He meditates on tiles, about tiles. He no longer lays tiles; that’s for his younger apprentices. You cannot follow him on Twitter or Facebook, as his time on this earth is dedicated solely to the contemplation of tiles, and occasional blogposts.