Crackled tiles create a distinctive, distressed look. But DIY fitters can find them a frightening prospect.
The distressed look is highly fashionable and looks great, particularly in older homes. We see it in everything from shabby chic accessories to clever use of wooden beams and reclaimed brickwork throughout the house.
Until recently, it has not been an easy look to achieve if you are tiling your walls and floors. Tiles typically look clean, modern and sleek – it is often one of the things that people find most appealing about them.
Of course, tiles are also the most practical wall and floor covering, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms, being durable, water resistant and simple to keep clean. So, if the only thing that has prevented you from choosing tiles has been a hankering for that lived-in distressed look, then there could be a perfect solution for you. Welcome to the world of crackled tiles.
What are crackled tiles?
A crackled finish provides that perfect “lived in” look, by using a specially prepared glaze that shrinks as it dries after manufacture. This effectively causes it to stretch and crack, providing an interesting textured finish, with none of the “sterility” that some people associate with a tiled wall.
There have been some horror stories that crackled tiles absorb water and become stained over time, but in reality, this is only a problem if they have not been installed correctly.
Cutting and fitting
What is the trick to installing crackled tiles properly? As with so many things, it is all in the preparation. Make doubly sure your adhesive is even and flat; it needs to provide full contact to the back of the tile. Problems only arise when there are voids present, because moisture can gather, leading to water marks over time.
The delicate nature of the glaze on a crackled tile also means people can be nervous about cutting them. Again, though, there is no problem as long as you know what you are doing. They are best cut with a wet cutter that cuts from the top, as opposed to the traditional type that cuts from the underside of the tile. Remember that point, and you will have no problem creating accurate cuts.
Care and maintenance
Their specialist glaze does not mean that crackled tiles need special treatment, but you do need to take extra care. Ensure the grouting is pressed firmly into the gaps, to guard against potential water ingress, but try your best to avoid getting any onto the tile surfaces themselves – if it gets into the decorative crackle it can be difficult to get it out again.
With any tile, a final coating of a good tile protector is a sensible idea, to keep your tiles looking great for longer. And with crackled tiles it makes even more sense, just to make absolutely sure they are as moisture-resistant as possible.
The perfect look for any room
Crackled tiles provide a unique and distinctive look that can bring texture and life to any room. There is a huge choice available, and they are not so difficult to install as some people think, so don’t be afraid to give them a try.
If you’re thinking of going for the cracked tile look then talk to us here at The Tile Warehouse, or pop into our Maldon showroom, we’ll be happy to discuss all the options and either install the tiles for you, or supply you with everything you need to do the job yourself!