August 25, 2021
Patterned tiles are experiencing a resurgence right now, with encaustic look tiles being incorporated into kitchen splashbacks and bathrooms across Australia.
But before you head into your local tile shops in Perth to request encaustic or encaustic look tiles for your home, it is important to understand the subtle, yet important differences between the two variations.
History of Encaustic Tiles
Encaustic tiles are patterned tiles that feature between two and six different colours of clay.
The history of encaustic trials can actually be traced back to medieval times. They were originally called ‘inlaid tiles’, as the process to create each tile involved different colours of clay being inlaid together to create a pattern, before being fired in a kiln.
The term ‘encaustic’ is actually a Greek word, meaning “to heat or burn in” and refers to a Greek painting technique, where a porous material like wood was painted onto with a beeswax-based paint before being heated to set the paint.
However, it was during the Victorian era (19th century) that the medieval style inlaid tiles were mistakenly referred to as ‘encaustic’ tiles, as someone mistook the inlaid tile patterns for the similar paint style of the ancient Greeks.
And the (incorrect) term has stuck ever since!
What are the Differences?
The key difference between real encaustic tiles and encaustic look tiles in Perth is the material that they are made from; real encaustic tiles are made from cement, while encaustic look tiles are made from porcelain or ceramics.
This difference in make between these two tiles has a flow on effect, making the two tiles different to install and maintain over time, as well as changing their likelihood of deterioration due to wear and tear.
How Are They Made?
Traditional encaustic tiles are made by hand, using varying colours and traditional techniques to create gorgeous tiles with slight imperfections. The tiles are coloured on the top with a cement base.
In contrast, encaustic look tiles are created by using digital technology – these tiles are made from porcelain to ‘look’ like other types of materials, such as encaustic, wood, and stone tiles. This process can create beautiful tiles like the Picasso Morocco or Paprica P3 Esagono.
Ease of Installation
The handmade nature of encaustic tiles results in slight variations in the tiles, which means the tiler needs to work harder to match the inconsistent sizes and shapes of each tile.
In addition, real encaustic tiles need to be sealed before being laid – as well as regularly after installation – as the cement structure of these tiles is quire porous and can stain easily. This means that if you have your heart set on real encaustic tiles, you have to be comfortable with not only the maintenance, but the tiles gaining a patina over time.
On the contrary, encaustic look tiles are generally made of porcelain, making them much easier to install as each tile should be uniform in shape and size. Porcelain tiles also do not require sealing prior to installation or during their life span.
As cement is a naturally porous material, real encaustic tiles require much more specialised care and maintenance than porcelain encaustic look tiles.
Real encaustic tiles should be swept to remove debris and mopped on a regular basis with a PH-neutral cleaning product – any strong detergents, acidic products or even puddles of water may break down the tile.
Encaustic look tiles made from porcelain have a very low porosity, which means that they do not need to be sealed at any stage. Porcelain tiles are naturally stain resistant and much easier to maintain – they simply need a mop and vacuum for maintenance.
Wear & Tear
The porous nature of real encaustic tiles doesn’t just make them harder to maintain, it also means the tiles are more susceptible to changing colour over time and wearing more easily.
Encaustic look tiles do not wear or change over time, ensuring you can enjoy the modern look of tiles like the Futura Half White or the decorative charm of the Art Nouveau Folies Bergere for many years to come.
Visit Myaree Ceramics for Ceramic Tile Supplies in Perth
For the best range of encaustic look wall and floor tiles in Perth, Myaree Ceramics is your go-to.
Make an appointment with our experienced consultants today to find out how encaustic floor tiles from Myaree Ceramics can bring style and sophistication to your home.