Ceramic Tile Meet the Material — Home Improvement Blog — Home Improvement Blog – The Apron by The

Ceramic Tile Meet the Material - Home Improvement Blog - Home Improvement Blog – The Apron by The

Meet the Material: Ceramic Tile

Ceramic materials are some of the oldest manufacturing and art materials known to man. Some of the oldest human artifacts are pottery a type of ceramic produced some 27,000 years ago. Thats certainly a testament to the durability of the material.

Ceramic materials are used in all sorts of industrial and artistic settings, but the first ceramic material that might come to mind is the ceramic tile in your bathroom or kitchen.

And, as we can see in the image above of a wall covered in a beautiful ceramic tile by Merola, ceramic materials can be quite eye-catching as well as practical.

What are ceramics? Ceramics are non-metallic substances created through exposure to high heat and then cooling. When heated, these substances form crystalline structures at the molecular level, which make them rigid and strong.

What are some of the cool properties of ceramic? Ceramics can be molded into just about any shape youd want, and after heating will remain rigid and durable. Ceramics can be good thermal and electrical insulators, and they dont oxidize (rust). Add a glaze to ceramic tile, and its practically impervious to water. The glaze will also smooth out the surface to the point that teeny-tiny particles and microscopic critters such as bacteria dont have much to hold on to. Thats why ceramics are used in places that need to be especially clean.

How is ceramic used?  Lets see its rigid and durable. An electrical insulator. Doesnt rust. Impervious to water. That sounds like a great material for the floors and walls of bathrooms and kitchens! Thats why ceramic tile is one of the most common uses of the material. Those same properties make ceramics good for dinner plates and other tableware. We are all familiar with ceramics as an artistic medium. And thats not to mention the many high-tech uses, including semi-conductors, bio-medical implants, spark plugs, and even heat tiles on the Space Shuttles.

Take a look at how ceramic tile can be both beautiful and useful.

Ceramic tile can hold heat and release it over a long period of time. This led to the development in Europe 500 years ago of the kachelofen a large home heater made of ceramic bricks and tiles. These are often called masonry heaters, but kachelofen is way more fun to say and write.

The kachelofen is heated from within, usually by burning wood or coal, which warms up the tiles on the exterior of the heater. The fire only has to burn for a short time to heat up the tiles enough for them to radiate warmth into the room for several hours.

Ceramic Tile Meet the Material - Home Improvement Blog - Home Improvement Blog – The Apron by The

Kachelofens have been around a long time, and theyre still being created today. Above, we see an elegant and understated modern kachelofen created by pottery maker and artist Jessica Steinhäuser, who operates Stonehouse Pottery in Guelph, Ontario.

Sea Creature Bathroom by designer Michelle Griffoul

Bathroom tile can be understated, bright and bold, or, adding mosaic elements, positively artful. Designer Michelle Griffoul has made a career of custom designing ceramic tile, and using it in remarkably creative ways. Above, we see how she turned a bathroom into a virtual underwater environment with her Sea Creatures-themed mosaics on the bathroom and shower wall, and streaming through the middle of the bathroom floor.

Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects have taken ceramic tile out of the kitchen and bathroom, and into the living room. See how beautiful eight simple ceramic floor tiles look when displayed together on a white wall. Its brilliant, really a sort of minimal mosaic. Look for the Stamford house  on the firms online portfolio to see more of this beautiful home in Austin, Texas.

Mosaic pot by artist Jan Wilmeth


Leave a Reply