Encaustic vs. Ceramic Tile Showdown: Which One is Right For You?
In the tile industry, one thing is a given: All things old will be new again with time. One of those things is the decorative concrete tile generally referred to as Encaustic Tile. Encaustic Tile, also called Cement Tile or Concrete Tile, are basic square tiles, normally 8x8 inches, that have a decorative pattern shown on the surface. The tiles have no relief and are suitable for floor and wall placement. Encaustic Tile has been around since the 14th century with varying popularity over the years. Prince Albert commissioned the use of Encaustic Tile in most of the structures built during Queen Victoria's reign. The tile lends a sort of European style that mixes well with current popular distressed finishes and surfaces. However, there are some downsides to traditional concrete tiles.
First, concrete as a material is quite porous and generally absorbs liquids. Depending on the liquids that can come in contact, the tile can be very difficult to clean and easy to stain. Stain resistance can be mitigated through post-lay sealants and conditioners, but it's hard to overcome the physical properties of concrete. Encaustic Tile is also very expensive to make and the production process is hard to control given the tiles are air cured instead of firing them in a kiln. Installers don't like them because the sealant has to be applied after lay, but before grout. With drying time, the process takes roughly 10 days. That's 10 days of not being able to walk on or otherwise use your surfaces. So how can you get the beauty of Encaustic Tiles without the negatives that go with the traditionally built pieces?
Enter the MSI Kenzzi line of high-quality encaustic-look tiles. The Kenzzi Collection comes in twelve different designs of 8x8 inch tiles. When layed in quad arrangements (4x4 tiles), they make a continuous pattern that will tie any surface together. They can also be randomly mixed for a more classic look. The Kenzzi is rated for walls, back-splashes, and even wet areas like bathrooms. These are durable and will last a long time, just like their inspirations, the ancient encaustic tile.