by Lena Gatti
Old World Tiles
We started Old World Tiles because we felt there was a need for high quality, handmade, tiles with colour and design. The selection of tiles available were predominantly white or an off-white colour. My husband and I were remodelling our home and we needed tiles for several areas and this was the most difficult finish to find. It seemed like we were constantly “settling” for a tile – never did we find something unique and colourful that we loved. So, we decided to bring colourful, unique, high quality tiles to the market ourselves.
These are the most commonly asked questions…
What are the characteristics of a genuine handmade tile?
Due to the handmade processes involved in creating our tiles, you can expect to see differences in:
- exact size (tile size can can vary +/- 2mm)
- exact weight
- exact glaze application
- crazing marks in tiles which is not a fault but lends to the antique appearance
- tiles may not be exactly flat or perfectly square
Chipped edges are not a characteristic of high quality handmade tiles. Chipped edges indicate poor handling or that the tiles are seconds / discards.
What style of house or kitchen are your tiles suited to?
Mediterranean – any of our Classic or Arabesque Lantern tiles suit this style.
Cottage / Farmhouse / Rustic – The Petals line as well as Garden Classic and Garden Flora are very popular in these warm and inviting country homes.
Traditional – any of the Solids, often laid on point with a framed feature behind the cooktop.
Craftsman – this style calls for handmade tiles so go for it!
Classic – Pure White, Mexican White or Black handcrafted tiles are beautiful in Classic homes. The handmade characteristics make the simple black and white irresistible.
Eclectic – Our tiles are at home in this vibrant atmosphere.
These tiles are pieces of ceramic art so they bring character, colour and style to any home.
Where can your tiles be used?
Our tiles can be used almost anywhere - kitchen backsplashes, bathrooms, fountains, outdoor walls and entry ways, fireplaces, patio benches, outdoor kitchens and many other places. In fact, some clients adhere cork or Feltac to the back of the tiles to make drink coasters which match their backsplash, fireplace surround or outdoor area! Our tiles are not recommended for floors. Our tiles cannot be used in pools. Our tiles cannot be used outside in frost-likely climates. Our tiles are not frost-proof.
Can Old World Tiles be used around a fireplace?
Yes they can however, putting the tile directly in the firebox is not recommended.
How can I select a tile from the Classics Range?
Start by deciding on the colour you like. Are you a lover of green or does blue catch your eye. Essentially there are nine colours in the Classics Range. Decide which you like or perhaps it is a few and then narrow the tile selection to only those. You will find that the individual designs are far easier to select from. For the green-loving clients, you may like a very subdued Garden Classic or a vibrant Cristina II. This selection will be easy to make but know your colours first.
How do you use the Solid colours?
The Solids are designed for use with our other ranges or on their own. Many of our clients use our Pure White or Mexican White for splashbacks because they want a white kitchen but not a boring white tile. Handmade tiles are alive with character. As one client said, “my tiles engage the kitchen visitor – they aren’t just a practical wall covering – they are a charming piece of wall art.”
What colour grout should I use?
The most popular colour is off-white. However, some people who wish to showcase the crazing lines in the tiles, choose a grout colour which contrasts with the tile colour or they use a dark grout. If you want a more unified appearance, then choose a colour similar to the tile. Using a dark grout with light coloured tiles is becoming very popular. Lots of our clients use the white Arabesque with black grout. This is beautiful and accentuates the unique shape of the lantern tiles. Keep in mind, if using a dark colour grout with light coloured tiles or tiles with light backgrounds, we advise sealing the tiles prior to grouting as the dark grout colour can get caught in the crazing lines on the face of the tiles accentuating the crazing lines.
What size grout line should be used with these tiles?
This is completely up to you but here are a few ideas that may help you select a width:
The most common grout width is 5mm for handmade tiles.
If you want a rustic look, try a wide 6mm grout line.
If you want to recreate the tile arrangements found in old Spanish, Mediterranean and Californian homes, a fine grout line is recommended. Keep in mind, the finer your grout line, the more apparent the tile characteristics become. So uneven edges, slight size differences, paint differences will be more noticeable.
Remember when you are deciding on a grout line that a fine grout line will exaggerate the characteristics of the tiles while a wider grout line will tend to blend the tiles. We strongly recommend that you or your tiler lay out your tiles prior to the job beginning so that you can decide what size grout line and what tile layout appeals most to you.
What is the difference between wall and floor tiles?
Wall tiles, because they are not intended to be load bearing are typically thinner, lighter and softer than floor tiles. Wall tile glazes are not designed to handle the abrasive forces from foot traffic.- House & Garden July 2014, article "Winter Magic"