Encaustic tiles – sometimes known as cement tiles – are becoming an increasingly popular pick among discerning UK homeowners. They’re usually easy to recognise, thanks to their bright colours and eye-catching patterns. They’re also a very versatile tile choice, as they are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, on walls, floors and a selection of other surfaces. We offer an extensive collection of encaustic tiles by Bert & May. All of these are ethically sourced, and meet the highest standards in terms of both quality and sustainability.
Inspired by a vintage, reclaimed find, this is our Bert & May Vejer Encaustic Tile design (£189 per sq m). A Mediterranean blend of blues and greens helps to modify this design, which could be perfect for a patio or contemporary garden room
What are encaustic tiles?
Encaustic tiles have a been a key staple throughout Europe for many years. In the UK, this beautiful style was prevalent in Victorian times too. The term ‘encaustic’ (derived from Ancient Greek) means to heat or burn. It refers to the firing process that burns the glazed pattern onto the tile surface. It can also apply to cement tiles that have been inlaid with pigment to create the patterns and colours displayed. This is as opposed to having the design stamped or painted on.
Encaustic tiles are handcrafted, using traditional techniques and natural colours. Our Bert & May tiles are designed in the UK, and hand-poured by a family of fourth-generation artisan tile-makers in Spain. In addition to the key components of cement and natural pigments, they craft these encaustic tiles with crushed marble, to create extra strength and a beautiful, raw finish.
Our Bert & May Sanabria Sweet Yellow Tile (£180 per sq m) incorporates a geometric design that you can lay in different ways. This pairs especially well with warm whites, beige tones and other classic neutrals
You will find plain and patterned encaustic tiles, and the latter usually features between two and six different colours. Nowadays, people sometimes use the terms encaustic and cement interchangeably, although the production methods differ slightly. For example, true encaustic tiles are fired in a kiln, whereas cement tiles are not.
The benefits of encaustic tiles
Encaustic tiles offer a range of different benefits. Firstly, consider the aesthetics. Encaustic tiles add an instant ‘wow’ factor to any interior and/or exterior setting. Generally, their colours are bright and bold, and it’s easy to use them in creative design schemes.
A stellar choice: stars take centre stage in our Bert & May Luna Rose Encaustic Tile range (£240.84 per sq m). These can be perfect for a subtle feature wall or eye-catching design accent
Encaustic tiles are often the go-to choice for anyone who wants to make a statement with their decor, via a distinctive design scheme. They are a great choice if you love patterns, and bring character and charm to any setting. And, when properly sealed and cared for, encaustic tiles really do stand the test of time. Tiles that were fitted during the Victorian era (and earlier!), for example, can still be in great condition today.
As mentioned, encaustic tiles are also hugely versatile. They can be laid both indoors and outdoors, although bear in mind that they are heavier/thicker than other types of tiles so do take that into consideration re: hanging and sub-floors.
How to care for your encaustic tiles
Although they are hard-wearing, your encaustic tiles will need regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking their best. Always use a specialised sealant, to counter their porosity and help eliminate any staining. And reseal your tiles as necessary, probably once every couple of years. Rubbing in and polishing your sealant will create a lustrous patina.
We recommend cleaning your encaustic tiles with mild soap and water. Avoid harsh chemicals, such as bleach, acids or abrasives, and never, ever soak them. Regularly sweep or vacuum floors, and clean up any spills promptly.
The classic neutral shade of our Bert & May Brighton Stone Encaustic Herringbone Tile (£209.95 per sq m) works well on its own, paired with a patterned tile, or combined with other colours from the herringbone collection (pic credit: Samuel Heath)
Where to use them
You can use encaustic tiles in so many different ways. They are an obvious choice for feature walls, or any areas you wish to highlight, such as backsplashes. You can also experiment with them for smaller zone borders or to create design accents. Coordinate with a setting’s furniture, or use contrasting colours and patterns for maximum impact and interest.
The clever design tessellations of our Bert & May Tilt Marigold Tile (£156 per sq m) on this floor are endlessly versatile, work especially well in retro/rustic settings, and are suitable for both interior and exterior walls and floors
Many people hesitate to use encaustic tiles in wet areas, as they are concerned about colour fade. A certain amount of fade is part of the natural ageing process – especially where darker colours and patterns are concerned. However, the right sealant will help to reduce this.
You can introduce encaustic tiles on virtually any internal floors and walls, provided you prepare the sub-base properly, due to their weight. Encaustic tiles can look stunning in garden areas and patios (provided you properly seal and care for them). They tend to have a high thermal mass, which means they hold their temperature well. Do check whether your choices are frost-resistant however, if you plan to lay them in areas which are prone to prolonged wet and freezing conditions.
True Blue: Our Bert & May Jade 10 x 10 Encaustic Tile (£240 per sq m) works brilliantly in bathroom settings. Pair with white for a cool, classy feature wall, or go bold with navy or terracotta for an eye-catching contrast
Which grout should I use?
For the best results, use a non-pigmented, cement-based grout, and try to match it to a background tile colour, so that it blends well into the overall pattern. A dark or contrasting colour is more likely to detract from the design of your encaustic tiles, and could even causing unwanted staining.
Keen to learn more about other types of tiles? Click here to discover how to make the right terracotta tiles choices, inside and out.
Hyperiontiles.co.uk – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the return policy?
Seal the grout lines with a grout sealer to prevent stains and discolouration. Reapply the sealer periodically, as recommended by the manufacturer. Browse our range of encaustic cement tiles to find the one that matches your aesthetic.