Ceramic Tile FAQ's

Answers to frequent questions about ceramic tile lines.

Can any of your ceramic tiles be used in frosty environments or wet applications like a pool?  

Yes, when a tile must withstand freeze-thaw cycles or installed in a pool or shower chose from these lines:

  • Yucatan field tile is a vitreous tile and an ideal choice for countertops, fireplaces, pools, and fountains.
  • Porcelain Pool Tiles are high fired porcelain with Art Studio glazes.  These tiles will not crack and are an exceptional choice for both wet and frosty environments. 
  • Malibu decorative tile and Malibu Field plain tile is High Fired Stoneware and suitable for environments subjected to freeze-thaw cycles. For pool applications, order with a clear over-glaze (additional cost). 
  • Clay Arabesque tiles will hold up to freeze-thaw cycles, but deicing minerals can damage the tile's surface over time especially unglazed tiles. We recommend that in freeze-thaw climates it is especially important to seal unglazed tile using a high quality penetrating sealer.  Avoid using unglazed tile in any pool application.

Are tiles made of white clay bodies or bisque superior to those made with red clay bodies?

No. However, to maintain color purity when glazing over red clay, an initial layer called an "engobe" is applied. Using white clay eliminates this step and may help keep production costs down.

Are thick tile stronger and more durable than thinner tile?

No. The thickness of tile has to do with the method of production and the type of clay body and bisque, not its strength and durability.

Are surface glaze irregularities considered defects in handmade tile?

No. Surface glaze irregularities like pin-holes, occasional specks, glaze build-up, glazed-over nicks and chips are not defects. The hand of the ceramic artist is evident in the variation that of a handmade and hand-glazed tile. These variations are part of their charm and make each tile unique.

Are inexpensive thin because they use less clay to keep costs down? 

No. Inexpensive tiles are thin because they are typically mass produced by a machine that compresses the clay into a dense, thin tile. All tiles are not the same thickness, and most handmade tile lines are thicker than inexpensive tile lines. 

Can I mix white or off-white glazes from different tile manufacturers or lines on the same installation?

No. NEVER mix white, off-white or neutral glazes from different tile lines. Factories use different bisque and glaze recipes, and over the expanse of a wall or floor, they can look very different from one another. Even if the samples look close, there is too much variation when installing next to each other.  Additionally, hand-applied glazes amplify the difference. A single tile cannot tell the whole story.