It is hard to believe that tile flooring has been around since the 4th millennium B.C. The Romans brought tile making to Western Europe as they moved into their new homeland. Then the fine art faded until the 12th century, when Cistercian monks figured out a method for making encaustic floor tiles for cathedrals and church floors.
Decorative floor tiles didn’t make their way to America until 1870, where they kept flourishing. New tile companies opened up shops and made changes to new and creative patterns, introduced mosaic patterns, as well as faience glazes for a more handcrafted appearance.
Fast forward to present day. New machinery used today uses speed as part of their manufacturing process. What used to take 70 hours in the kiln can now be done in just two hours, from raw material to finished product.
Porcelain vs. Ceramic Tiles
Porcelain tiles are denser, tougher, less porous, and more expensive. Usually porcelain tiles require professional installation, but once installed, porcelain is very forgiving to scratches and is relatively low maintenance.
Ceramic tiles are less expensive. Since it can be cut with a simple tile cutter, it is a great choice for DIY. The maintenance is more disciplined, requiring a deep cleaning more often, and it is not forgiving to scratches.
If you’re considering natural stone tile, it is very expensive and very high maintenance, but will look beautiful and increase the value of your home. However, we don’t recommend it if there kids or pets in the home.
Notable Luxury Tile Brands
Here are several luxury tile brands to consider for your home:
Daltile: This manufacturer is eco-friendly; their products are very similar to those higher-end, more expensive brands. Daltile has a full array of porcelain tiles that are made to look like other materials, such as wood, marble and stone. All of Daltile products are made in the USA.
Ann Sacks: Today, the Ann Sacks brand is a global entity, but the creative integrity is still a solid mainstay as it was back in 1981, when it started as a small factory in Portland, Oregon. The designs are absolutely beautiful, and because of guest designers who come on board, they are always rich in inspiration.
Walker Zanger: Their family business started in the quarries of the finest stone, and they pride themselves on the relationships built to make this brand one of the world’s top luxury brands in the stone and tile industry. Their designs are very creative, and since they also design tiles in natural stone, the fluidity of their designs coupled with the characteristics of said stone have made this brand a favorite. Since this brand never discontinues their products, this is a huge benefit for customers wanting to reorder their favorite styles.
AKDO: This brand prides itself on bringing the world to America through beautiful natural stone and luxury tiles. They have partnered up with a multiple of quarries and factories around the world and created a global network. They are known for their work with mixed media, such as stone with glass, stone with mirror, stone with metal, and stone with shell, creating a more visceral experience for the customer.
Emser: Established in 1968, what makes this brand different is that they are the largest privately held marketer as well as designer in the USA. This company also adheres to minimizing their carbon footprint. Their tiles come in natural stone, porcelain, ceramic and glass, with beautiful designs available for every level of budget.
American Olean: You will find many of their designs in commercial spaces, such as hotels, restaurants and offices. American Olean also has a marble collection. They offer a potpourri of tile types and styles, with innovations such as StepWise™ technology, which is used in a wide array of commercial applications, yet also suitable for residential use.
Luxury tiles are like pieces of artwork that come together to create part of a whole. All the above companies mentioned have exceptional products, but as in conventional artwork, part of their beauty is how they are conceived, and the intention of their creator. So whether you want to bring a piece of another country into your home, or want your home to display the beauty of America, we hope our notable list will be of assistance.
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