How and Where to Use Encaustic Cement Tile

Often, when we think of renovation, we jump to the idea that it’s something you should only do if you absolutely have to. Maybe you just bought your first house and you don’t want to live with the Pepto-Bismol pink bathroom any longer than you have to, or maybe you visited a friend and realized that, beat for beat, they have the exact same kitchen as you. Maybe you’ve been living with the same formica countertops for 25 years, and you’re feeling like it’s time for a change. While all of these are great examples of renovation opportunities, situations like this aren’t by any means a prerequisite to changing things up in your home. You don’t have to wait for the stars to align before you take steps to build the perfect space, and distinctive materials like encaustic cement tile can help you create something specific to your tastes. 

A kitchen backsplash making use of the bold and stunning Erizo Blue.

Encaustic tile (often referred to as ‘cement tile’) makes use of amazing geometry, unique color schemes, and remarkable consistency to create classically-inspired spaces across the spectrum of interior design styles. These fabulous tiles can be commonly found in regions well-known for exquisite tiling, such as Morocco, Spain, Cuba, and Miami. With a Moroccan heritage dating back centuries, encaustic cement tile is a classic art form that gradually made its way into American homes as a functional and gorgeous option for flooring, showers, patios, and backsplashes. Some options are subdued, using soft colors and delicate linework or intricate patterns to lend strategic doses of style, while others are bold and bombastic, making their presence known wherever they’re used. 

As amazing as this variety of tile is, cement tile’s relative complexity and singular look may leave some of you scratching your heads a bit. You might be wondering whether or not something this distinctive will be a good fit for the space you’re dreaming up, much less the style of your home. That’s an important point well worth considering. Encaustic cement tile isn’t something you can simply drop into any old space. Without planning, it might clash with other decor elements, leaving you with a space that looks overcomplicated or even gaudy. BUT, as you’ll see in the examples below, a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room that is specifically built with the chosen tile’s color schemes and patterns in mind almost always end up being unbelievably interesting, impeccably stylish, and resistant to the fickle winds of interior design trends. 

So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive into the world of cement tile!

Splashes of Vibrant Color

At Riad Tile, we make it our goal to equip interior designers and DIY-ers alike with the tools and materials needed to craft something truly special. Our encaustic tile is available in numerous colors and patterns, ranging from bright greens and sky blues to soft salmon and rosy pinkish hues to understated neutral tones of grey, black, and white. Our selections of encaustic cement tile are chosen with the goal of inspiring the people that choose to use them.

Cement tiles tend to reward bold design decisions with exceptional spaces that exude vibrance and texture. Take this half-bath for example:

With its rich blue color, octagonal shape, and intricate pattern, Nola Blue is among our most striking cement tiles. It’s not something you can put just anywhere, but it can absolutely be used to great effect in spaces like this one, where bright white dominates the room. Though this bathroom makes use of conventional materials like white subway tile and even white cabinets, it is far from ordinary. The deep color of Nola Blue adds just the right quantity of complexity in this half-bath, taking what would be a serviceable but simple space and transforming it into a positively radiant room that is at once stylish and comfortable. The blue hue is the perfect offset to the bright white present in much of this room, while the pattern provides the texture needed to keep the subway tile from feeling too standard. What’s more, the darkness of the tile helps the darkness of the mirrors, faucet, and other fixtures better meld with the white tiling and cabinets, softening the edges of this contrast.

Encaustic Cement Tile in Your Home

Though bathrooms provide an excellent setting for encaustic tile, they certainly aren’t limited to the confines of your bathroom. Our cement tiles are commonly used in kitchens for multiple purposes, holding up against food splatters as backsplashes, spills as countertops, and combined stains and foot traffic as flooring. As a high-use, high-strain area, the kitchen typically presents challenges for any and all materials used to create them. Our encaustic cement tile meets these challenges, remaining steadfast in even the busiest kitchens. With cement tile, you don’t have to worry about staining; the tile is incredibly easy to clean, resistant to stains, and ready for just about anything you can throw at it. 

So we’ve established that cement tile is durable enough to withstand the stress of kitchen placement, but what about looks? Might this intricate style of tile be a bit too much for an area as central as the kitchen? After all, something more neutral certainly seems more versatile. 

If neutrality is what you’re after, there are a few different styles of encaustic cement tile that will do the trick, but ultimately, this tile is about making a bold design statement. Even the most subdued of cement tiles are relatively complex, offering some degree of contrast within each variety. But that doesn’t mean that cement tiles aren’t versatile enough to be used in a wide variety of home styles. In fact, the bold contrast of these tiles, when used properly, can really bring a space together, like in this kitchen island.

This island is an amazing use of Zanzibar Black created by one of our customers to add just a bit of texture and contrast to their crisp, clean kitchen. Similar to the Nola Blue half-bath, this kitchen uses encaustic tile to add contrast to a largely bright white space. The bold, angular look of Zanzibar Black is perfectly placed in this kitchen island, allowing the significant natural light the breathing room it needs to illuminate this space without reducing its subdued contrast. The white background of this tile gives it the brightness needed to match the rest of the kitchen, while the darker patterns provide the complexity needed to create a well-rounded room. All in all, this kitchen is a fantastically planned example of how even the boldest tile can be used to accent the rest of the kitchen, rather than become its centerpiece. 

Though kitchens and bathrooms are the most common places one might find stylish tiling, they don’t have a monopoly on the uses of cement tile. Many people use cement tile to turn oft-ignored spaces like laundry and mudrooms into comfortable and interesting spaces in their own rights. This laundry room, featuring the mid-century chic Bowen cement tile, is the perfect example of encaustic tile in less trafficked areas.

This space has a simple, black-white-grey color scheme that performs its purpose with aplomb. Even the stainless steel light fixture is matched by Bowens thin lines. More than just an exercise in simplicity, this laundry room exhibits one of the greatest strengths of cement tile: the ability to draw disparate design elements together while still making its own mark. If you remove the Bowen tile from the equation, you have 3 simple design elements: white walls, cabinets, and shelves, black cabinet handles and sink fixtures, and a grey lighting fixture. These elements, while neutral enough in color to match, lack an intermediary to help them mesh into one cohesive space. This customer had the vision to use Bowen, something that has each of the 3 different colors of the 3 design elements, to act as glue that connects these parts of the room, instantly turning them into a single concept that simply makes the space better. See? Style isn’t just for the kitchen.

Though Bowen is definitely what we’d categorize as slightly leaning toward the bolder side of our catalog, boldness isn’t required for a stylish laundry room, as you can see in this Estrella Grey laundry/mudroom.

With eggshell walls and cabinets of such a soft blue that it’s almost white, bright colors or stark contrast could easily overwhelm this space in a moment. This customer clearly had the vision to use the subdued color of Estrella Grey to enhance this room without inundating it with color. In this space, you can see one of the primary strengths of the more subdued cement tile coloration. The delicate grey color disguises the complex pattern just enough to help it blend with the gentle color scheme present in the space. But make no mistake, Estrella Grey’s classic, intricate pattern is an essential addition in this room. With such soft colors, adding any kind of contrast or texture can be a bit of challenge, as too much will instantly ruin the calming atmosphere these colors provide. To meet this challenge, this customer used Estrella Grey, a tile rooted firmly in the classic patterns present in more traditional styles of encaustic tile, to carefully add a sprinkle of texture to this soft room. The result: a space that manages to be both calming and complex, a unique mix of two seemingly contrary ideas in one space.

Riad Tile’s Dedication to Quality

By now, you might’ve seen enough to be interested in taking the cement tile plunge and adding it to your renovation. With that in mind, you might still have some questions about these tiles and their composition. After all, what good is a gorgeous tile if it’s easily damaged or hard to replace?

First and foremost, cement tiles are as durable as they are beautiful. Each one is composed of multiple layers of cement compressed in a powerful hydraulic press. They are then sent to cold-cure for several weeks, hardening into the final product that we ship to your door. But cement tiles aren’t just an exercise in durability and consistency. In fact, all of our cement tiles are carefully handcrafted by artisans, who draw upon years of experience to craft each and every one. At Riad Tile, we even mix our own colors, using blends of natural pigments to achieve our unique hues.

We are driven by the fundamental belief that everyone should have access to the high-quality materials needed to craft their dream space, so we keep our prices as low as we possibly can while maintaining the quality and consistency you should expect from your tile. So go ahead and order a sample of our tiles to see the hard work of our craftsmen firsthand!

Take Advantage of Our New Quick Ship Offerings

In addition to our low prices and high quality, we at Raid Tile are proud to unveil yet another step in making our offerings as accessible as possible: Our Quick Ship Collection. Everything you see in the Quick Ship Collection is ready to ship once you place your order. Rather than waiting for your order, Quick Ship items will arrive at your door within 4-10 days, and if you’re local to Dallas-Ft. Worth, you can pick up your purchase from our warehouse in as few as 5 business hours. 

Shop Our Selections Today!

Whether you’re renovating your entire kitchen or you’re just adding a half-bath backsplash, encaustic cement tile is a unique offering that can help you build a space that is intricate, unique, and above all else, completely your own. If you’re interested in seeing any of our tiles in person, please feel free to order a sample at any time and we’ll ship it directly to your door. 

We recommend ordering a few tiles with each sample, as encaustic tile always looks its best forming the patterns for which it is well-known.