FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING POPHAM DESIGN TILES
WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT FROM A HANDMADE CONCRETE TILE
popham design encaustic concrete tiles are meticulously hand crafted in Marrakech by our skilled artisans. popham design tiles are handmade, each and every one, individually; a labor of love that takes three to five minutes per tile. Like the best handmade products, popham design tiles are perfectly imperfect. One of the appealing aspects is the fact that no two tiles are ever the same. The tiles are made from cement, marble, pigments a special “sauce,” and a few additives for strength and durability. Given the ingredients and the hand made production, there are a few things you should expect: subtle color and line variation, mild differences in dimensions and thickness, small bumps, and occasional chipped or irregular edges. These subtle variations and irregularities are a natural aspect of popham design´s handmade product, lending an authentic charm to every installation. When considered tile by tile, the variations can be alarming, but a tile installation is the sum of its parts. When dispersed across a floor or wall, the variations result in depth and movement. Also, concrete tiles improve with time and wear, acquiring an exceptional patina and singular texture.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM ORDER
We have a 5-box minimum order. Depending on the size of the tiles, this is roughly equivalent to approx. 3.5 m2
WHAT IS THE LEAD TIME
The production lead time + transport time is 8-12 weeks. Cement tiles are not fired like a ceramic tile. They gain strength by curing over a period of several weeks.
CAN THE TILES BE INSTALLED OUTDOORS
Exterior applications are a bit more complicated. There are several considerations. First and foremost is that the tiles may experience some cracking if installed in an environment with freeze/thaw conditions. If moisture enters the tiles and is frozen (thereby expanding), it can cause micro-cracking of the tile. To prevent this from happening, an experienced installer must do the following: create a moisture barrier in the substrate onto which the tiles are installed, and seal the face of the tiles and joints to prevent any water absorption. A second consideration for outdoor installations is sun exposure. The tile color may diminish with UV exposure, especially with the blue and green pigments. We recommend that tiles installed outdoors be sealed with Fila Hydrorep.
CAN THE TILES BE INSTALLED IN A SHOWER
Yes, cement tiles work very well in showers with several caveats. If installed on a shower floor, care must be taken that they are cleaned only with mild soap and the occasional scrub with a Scotch-Brite pad. Acidic or harsh chemical cleaners, which are sometimes used to clean soap buildup from a shower floor, can damage the tiles. Also, cement tiles are slippery when wet (although popham design tiles are approved even for commercial installations). You might want to consider treating the tiles on a shower floor with a slip resistant sealer.
CAN THE TILES BE INSTALLED AS A KITCHEN BACKSPLASH
Yes, cement tiles make for lovely kitchen backsplashes. As with any installation, however, they should be well sealed to prevent staining from grease and other kitchen “mishaps”
CAN THE TILES BE USED WITH RADIANT HEAT FLOORS
Yes, cement tiles have excellent thermal mass and are sublime with a radiant heat floor. When installing over radiant heat, we recommend a larger grout joint (3-4mm) versus the small grout joint (1mm) we normally recommend. Also, the grout material should be flexible. This will allow for some natural expansion/contraction of the heated floor without cracking the tiles.
CAN THE TILES BE CUT AND HOW
Cement tiles cut very cleanly and easily with a wet saw. You can even use the saw to cut mitered edges for corner installations.
HOW ARE THE TILES INSTALLED
Each cement tile is unique. Laying them is not difficult, but does requires particular care. We recommend that cement tiles are installed by a professional installer who has experience with cement tiles. When properly installed, cement tiles will look better and better with age and wear. An installer should cut the tiles only with a wet saw. The laying of the tiles should be the last phase of a construction or renovation project. Please consult our INSTALLATION GUIDELINES for specific step-by-step advice.
DO THEY NEED TO BE TREATED AND HOW
Yes, cement tiles are porous in their natural, raw state. They should be treated with a penetrating sealant wherever they are installed. The sealant will protect the tile from staining. Further sealing and finishing is a question of personal taste and installation location. Regarding the former, there are wax sealants – chemical or natural – that give the finished tiles a subtle satin finish. Other sealants retain the matte finish of the tiles. In wet rooms, as kitchen backsplashes, and in certain exterior installations, the tiles may require additional or specific sealants. Most sealants are applied with a sponge and allowed to absorb and dry. Sealant manufacturers’ instructions should be followed by a professional installer.
CAN YOU RECOMMEND A SEALANT
CAN I USE PIGMENTED GROUT WITH TILES
No, unfortunately. We recommend only a white or gray (cement) grout. As cement tiles are porous, a pigmented grout risks staining the tiles, even if the face of the tile has been sealed, as the grout can seep in through the sides of the tiles.
MY TILES HAVE BEEN STAINED. WHAT CAN I DO TO CLEAN THEM
Don’t panic. If your concrete tiles have been sealed, most stains can be removed by some good old elbow grease. Scrub the tiles with a fine-grained (400+ grit) sandpaper with mild soap and water. Be sure to flush the tiles will lots of clean water thereafter so that no soap remains. For tougher stains, Fila makes a soap formulated for concrete called Fila PS87. In cases of deep staining, we recommend using a stand-up rotational polishing machine fitted with diamond pads.
HAVE THE TILES BEEN TESTED FOR HARDNESS, SLIP, ECT.
Yes, an independent laboratory in California has tested our tiles. Test results are available on demand. They meet standards for commercial as well as residential installations.