Handmade tiles and natural stone tiles are quite different – they have diverse longevity, resistance, durability, appearance. The most distinctive opposition between the two types is their origin – while the first are made due to the skills of a craftsman, the others are a result of the abilities of mother nature.
Handmade and natural stone tiles, however, share one common quality: they are unique. Nature creates the stone that we use for our flooring, walls, kitchen and vanity tops using different methods like sedimentation, precipitation, extreme pressure, etc. This results in each piece of stone having specific and one-of-a-kind shades, veins or patterns. In addition to that, after the stone is quarried and cut into tiles, each tile has individual characteristics and with some stones, like slate for example, the tiles even vary in thickness. That is why when we purchase natural stone tiles we are always warned that batches and even tiles differ in their appearance.
The same goes to handmade tiles, since if they are truly made by hand no two tiles are exactly the same. Below we are going to present you several types of handmade tiles and give you some ideas how to use them for your unique décor combined with the high quality of the natural stone tiles.
Types of handmade tiles
If you would like to have a tile made by hand the truth is that you can use almost any material to do so, even natural stone. Just bear in mind that handmade can refer to natural stone tiles only to the extent that they can be cut by hand to achieve a special shape, edge or thickness. If you would like handmade tiles to decorate your home, however, it is better to turn to a crafty artisan and ask them to do the tiles for you. They will follow your requirements to every specific details and provide you with a final product to satisfy your personal requirements. The most often types of handmade tiles are made of clay (ceramic tiles) or cement (cement tiles).
- Ceramic tiles
Claddagh set done in honey gloss with customers border and field tile by Earth Song Tiles
Handmade tiles are mostly made of different types of clay that is fired in a kiln at different temperature to achieve the desired result. Some of the most popular clay variants, that are also used for commercial production, include earthenware, porcelain and terracotta clay. The beauty of handmade clay tiles comes in the freedom to use more clay varieties and blend them together and the option to create a tile for a specific person, place or purpose. We can differentiate roughly between two types of clay or ceramic handmade tiles based on their purpose:
- All-purpose tiles – the idea here is that you order a whole batch of handmade tiles for your kitchen, backsplash area or even an external wall. You can choose one-colour tiles or hand painted tiles or tiles with decoration that will cover the entire area they are designed for. Handmade tiles are ideal to create a specific atmosphere – country cottage, reminiscent of Edwardian times or typical for certain cultural, e.g. Portuguese, Mexican, Spanish, etc. There are some companies that even use local artisans and support the fair trade initiative so you actually get a real piece of the culture you are fond of.
- Accent tiles – handmade tiles are excellent decoration and a powerful tool to highlight a specific place or change the entire feeling of a certain room. Decorative ceramic tiles can come in almost every shape, size and colour and numerous patterns. You can choose plant and floral tiles, tiles with different real or fantasy animals or pieces depicting scenes from the Greek mythology or from beloved fairytales. Celtic symbols are also very often used to decorate the walls of kitchens or bathrooms. Handmade accent tiles combine excellent with all types of natural stone tiles. Depending on the stone you have chosen, you can pick and order handmade decorative tiles that match or contrast its texture, shade and type of finish.
- Cement tiles
Cement tiles flooring options for entryway and kitchen
The other quite popular handmade tiles are cement tiles, also known as hydraulic tiles. These are colourful tiles that are mainly used for flooring. Their origin is back in 1850s in the region of Catalonia but were widely used both in Europe and America. Cement tiles decorate the floors of public buildings and places and were often used in churches and basilicas as well. A curious fact about cement tiles is that they are not fired and there is no glaze layer on the surface of the tile. Nevertheless, cement tiles are also quite durable due to their compounds – dehydrated ground Portland cement, sand and cement. The pigment layer is pressed into the surface of the tile by means of hand-operated or mechanized hydraulic press and is actually an intrinsic part of the tile. Once popular in the past, cement tiles are once again on the market for anyone who would like to have unique handmade tiles that can match their specific desire for colours, patterns and shades. Each cement tile is made by hand using a mold, mineral pigments, cement and a hydraulic press. The slight imperfections that are result of the manual process of their manufacturing only enhance their quality, beauty and uniqueness. Cement tiles can be used for floors and walls and create interesting backsplash patterns. Their texture and durability makes them a good option to match with high-end natural stone tiles.
Unique blend of natural and man-made products
Instead of a conclusion we would like to point out that handmade and natural stone tiles are quite a good combination for any bathroom or kitchen project. They are an unique blend of nature and man made pieces that match perfectly to represent the personalized touch for any home.
You can browse through our selection of various high quality natural stone tiles and compliment them with a set of handmade tiles to highlight their aesthetic values and create your own, unique masterpiece.