Ceramic Tile

Image of wall tiled with Merola Earthen Elements ceramic tile and bowl of apples atop console in frontCeramic 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. That’s 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 you’d want, and after heating will remain rigid and durable. Ceramics can be good thermal and electrical insulators, and they don’t oxidize (rust). Add a glaze to ceramic tile, and it’s 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 don’t have much to hold on to. That’s why ceramics are used in places that need to be especially clean.

How is ceramic used? Let’s see … it’s rigid and durable. An electrical insulator. Doesn’t rust. Impervious to water. That sounds like a great material for the floors and walls of bathrooms and kitchens! That’s 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 that’s 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 is used for a classic kochelofen created by Sonehouse Pottery in Guelph, Ontario

Image via Stonehouse Pottery

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.

Kachelofens have been around a long time, and they’re 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.

Ceramic tiles used to create beautiful Sea Creature Bathroom, by designer Michelle Griffoul

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.

Ceramic Floor Tile on Wall as displayed in Stamford house and installed by Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

Photo via Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

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. It’s brilliant, really — a sort of minimal mosaic. Look for the Stamford house on the firm’s online portfolio to see more of this beautiful home in Austin, Texas.

A ceramic mosaic container by artist Jan Wilmeth

Mosaic pot by artist Jan Wilmeth

Mosaic elements can also liven up pottery. We previously profiled mosaic artist and teacher Jan Wilmeth. Many of her creations, like the mosaic pot we see above, feature ceramic tile purchased at The Home Depot.

Freya Container Set is glowingly finished with distressed sky-blue ceramic and antique khaki undertones.

Contemporary ceramic pieces often evoke the timelessness of the material. The Freya Container Set above features distressed finished and muted colors that could be from centuries ago, but still look comfortable in a modern setting.

Collage with three different types of tile from Merola that have bold colors, intricate designs and and raised textures

Article found on http://www.Homedepot.com To see post in its original context, please click here.

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