Mention concrete to many people and they think of cold, gray, concrete sidewalks or walls. Those in the business, like John Panagos, founder of Olde World Stone & Tile, describe it another way; “the unique aged-look of our concrete stone and tile is reminiscent of those found in the villas of Tuscany, the chateaus of Burgundy, and the haciendas of old Mexico.” He goes on to say; “It blends as comfortably around a Florida pool, as it does a Bucks County, PA barn. Our customers are able to control the illusion of age… the color, patina, the imperfections, and most importantly... their price.”
Concrete stone and tile, also called cementitious stone and tile, has been around since the days of the Romans. Back then; pouring a mortar-like mixture on site formed the tiles, as with the building of the Coliseum. Today companies produce tiles in factories using various methods to achieve the different textures and styles available. A number of companies, including Olde World, use the wet-cast method to give the tile a hand-made appearance. Styles, shapes, textures, and sizes are virtually unlimited. The use of iron oxide colorants in the mix guarantees that the integral color will never wear out. Concrete tiles are produced by one of three manufacturing processes. They are either poured, extruded, or ram pressed. Some concrete tiles duplicate the look, and can replace other softer and less durable tiles, like brick and Mexican Saltillo, for use in high-traffic, commercial applications.
How big is the concrete tile market? Wausau Tile, the country's largest manufacturer of concrete tile has been producing what it calls pre-cast terrazzo tile for over a decade. Olde World Stone & Tile has been designing and making molds and helping entrepreneurs start their own tile and stone manufacturing businesses since 1992. They now sell molds directly to consumers too. Ro-Tile, a division of Coronado Stone Products, Inc. is one of six plants that Coronado has throughout the U.S. and Canada. They've been manufacturing concrete tile for over 40 years. Cal-Ga-Crete has been producing concrete tile since 1963. Their concrete tiles have been used in Disney Parks around the world, with over 250,000 sq. ft. of concrete tiles being used in Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center, and Animal Kingdom. The original Los Angeles City Hall was built in 1928. Some 73 years later, due to retrofitting and restoration programs, the clay tile walks were removed and replaced with 16,600 concrete tiles made by Arto Brick. They were made with concrete to match the old clay tiles.
In the residential market, concrete tiles are used for driveways, kitchens, family rooms, patios, etc. They can also be used around swimming pools, due to their natural slip resistant properties. Architects like concrete tile because they can be used for both interior and exterior applications, creating a flow and feeling of one big space. Imagine… the same tile from the kitchen, to the family room, and out to the swimming pool and beyond.
Concrete tile is installed by setting them in mortar, just like ceramic tile. We recommend back-buttering the tiles, and the use of a mortar bag to fill the grout joints. Installers used to working with ceramic tile and cleaning off the grout the next day, sometimes using acid, have to work differently with concrete tile. If the grout haze is not removed right away, it may stick a bit. Most producers pre-seal their tiles at their plants to facilitate ease of grout haze removal for their installers. It should be noted that any type of acid should never be used on concrete.
There is no debate that concrete or cementitious stone and tile, is here to stay. And that the category will continue to grow. Companies like Olde World Stone and Tile offer molds, free training and finishing instructions, as well as colorant, sealers, and other supplies and support, to help consumers make their own custom-colored stone, tile, bricks, and pavers. These products can now be made at home for $0.28 to $0.60+/- per square foot, depending on the thickness of the product made. That's a small fraction of the retail price consumers normally pay.
For those who do not wish to make concrete stone and tile products for themselves, big companies like, Eldorado, and most of those mentioned above, manufacture and offer their stone and tile products through dealers and distributors, finished and ready to install. Who hasn't heard of Cultured Stone®, an Owens Corning company?
For additional information about concrete tile, contact the Concrete Tile Manufacturers Association, (CTMA) in Buena Park, CA., or visit their website. Or visit the websites of any of the concrete tile manufacturers mentioned in this article. For information about molds, sealers, additives, or how to make your own custom, lightweight, concrete stone and tile, visit the Olde World Stone and Tile website at: www.TheMoldStore.com.
Concrete is not just for sidewalks anymore...
Should you need molds or moulds, colorant, concrete sealer, stains, or other concrete, cement, or plaster supplies for your handyman or home improvement project, please visit our catalogue website at www.TheMoldStore.com or our shopping cart website at http://www.TheMoldStore.us to get ideas. If you are interested in starting a concrete stone and veneer, or concrete and cement paver, brick or tile business, visit our Olde World Stone & Tile Business Opportunity website at www.Oldeworld.com for full details, instructions and various stone making and other concrete product making packages. We also offer D-I-Y Packages in our catalogue and on our shopping cart websites.
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