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Stephen

Architectural Tile

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I am designing some backslash and small floor tiles and doing my initial research. I work in porcelain so wanted to do the tiles in porcelain as well.  I have an air-release tile system that I use and can do 50ish an hour. I dry them between sheet rock and have not had too much trouble with getting nice flat porcelain tiles. To date I have made them for sets of glaze samples. We have several dozen glazes and tiles are nice for flat test and to determine color overlaps.

I was going to go with porcelain for this project. I have come across lots of conflicting information. Many of the tile sites talk about higher temperature firing for porcelain and special adhesive but when I research adhesives I see the same adhesives for all ceramic tiles with porcelain lumped in with the others. I was planning on firing to cone 6 using our cone 6 glazes. This design will be mostly solid with relief tiles in the design. Haven't gotten into the design yet as I am still working out the material specs.  

I guess I am asking for any meaningful input or words of wisdom on making architectural tiles, back splash, floor, fireplace, shower surround etc. .

Is mid-fire cone 6 acceptable? 

edit 10/19: I am getting closer to 20 an hour not 50 and trying to find ways to speed up. Although I did get 50 just pressing and putting up on drying rack as mentioned above once all time is factored in (cutting clay b4 and cleaning up tiles afterward) and just working at a more steady pace instead of all out,  it takes about an hour to get 20 or so ready to go tiles with the air release mold system (Texas Tiler). If they were cut I think a lot of the cleanup would be less but then the time of loading extruders or slab rolling clay slows it down.

Edited by Stephen

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Stephen:

The Tild Council of America (TCA) have installation guidelines regarding recommended adhesives. In this case: white cementaous mortar would be applicable. Wet areas such as showers require vitreous porcelain tile: which translate to absorption values under one percent. For the same reason white mortar is used in lieu of mastic/adhesive to further prevent absorption.

a porcelain clay body should be rated for cone six: not six thru ten. Check the absorption rate to see if it meets TCA guidelines.  Frost porcelain is pricey, but it will vitrify to these guidelines. There are tricks to firing large quantities of tile; I will add that if you need it. 

Tom

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Around these parts all tile installers use thin set to adhere tile to backer board.We are in the backwoods on many things

Some use additives in the thin set depending  on applications .

I will add when I made my stoneware shower stall tiles and threw a sink to match and also covered the sink area and backslash with same tiles -custom made the the sink surround tiles to fit the forms.

These where cone to stoneware . I at that time had only watched 27 bathrooms going in on a job I was working as an electrician in =the historic Benbow INN. I wired all those bathrooms and watched the tile guys and talked story to gain experience in tile setting.

I used backboard and thin set at that time-no loose tile in all these years.

I installed these in 1983 and they still to this day are looking good and working well. At that time(1983) I installed a new deep cast iron tub which will need replacing before any tile issues come up.

Custom tile work was fun at that time-its behind me now as tile weighs A ton and only speciality tile is worth making as foreign tile is so cheap.

I would make it for myself only these days.I now have a power slab roller which would make Quick work out of it.

You can see this sink at some tub walls here on this thread from some years back-its held up really well.I made many with overflows and some without for myself .

 

Edited by Mark C.

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Nice tile and tilework Mark!

All the tile I've set - several floors, two backsplashes, an entryway, a fireplace surround, a shower - has been over tile backer or directly to the slab - using quality thinset (mortar for tile).

That said, the old timey pros still do wire, two coats of mortar, then thinset for the tile, hence a truly flat and plumb surface and very strong.

Anywhere there's moisture, there must/should be a vapor barrier behind the backer board (or wire and mortar). Tile and grout is not waterproof.

For floors - where there's traffic, particularly with dirty feets - I'd go commercial rated tile, which likely be porcelain plus a tough tough glaze.

What else did we learn, hmm, oh yeah, any chance of staining, go grout about same colour as the stain source, e.g. same colour as the dirt, or on a backspash, coffee colour ...or go with the plastic or epoxy grouts, which kind of resist staining.

There's lots of tricks/techniques to laying pan, hanging backerboard, cutting tile, spreading thinset, setting tile, applying mortar. ..At this stage, my best trick would be to do no more tile. :|

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Some other tile facts. many years ago (the 90's) I was looking for commercial tile in Los Angeles area for an addition (was in the area on a boat hunt). There was an industrial area that had about 2 dozen tile outlets and I spent that day looking thru them. I learned that commercial tile is graded. For example you need harder more durable tile on floor in a BMW dealer showroom than say on the wall at a Mexican restaurant . I ended up with a grade 5 tile that has the same color all the way thru it for my laundry room and mud room and spare bathroom floors. Also smaller grout lines for easy cleaning.Those are 1 foot squares.Laid over a cement floor with a moisture barrier under.They have also been rock solid-I paid a pro to do that job-she did excellent work and long ago was a potter as well.

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Just now, Mark C. said:

Your back does not forget the past -your hands also recall that time-Tom

Yes indeed!  I worked on the Ritz Carlton in Clayton: 17 floors of marble tile and marble plinths. Installed many marble/ granite elevator panels: 4 feet by 9 feet by 1" thick. Was pulled off there to the Galleria Mall: 60,000 sq. ft. Of custom lay out ( borders and patterns) not long after, I waved good bye...I  came remember mud setting tile: long before Durock backer board came on the scene.

the reason I fire mainly tile now.. It's what I know. The artistic gene skipped me over. I marvel at some of the pieces I see on this forum; way over my ability....and I have tried many times. 

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Thanks everyone.

Not sure this will become a regular thing although it does seem interesting and fun to experiment with. I do notice a number of art tile businesses on the net. They mostly seem to be focused on designs for back splashes, wall accents, fireplaces and baths. Some of them do have some big installations listed but I get the impression that most are aimed at pricey remodels or custom homes/offices. I see $15-$30 foot as the range (with some as high as $70)  which certainly does not even attempt to compete with mass producers. Seems to be all about the designs. Buyers can go to all sorts of places for handmade tiles but if they want a particular design then they will only have one choice.

   

Edited by Stephen

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Just now, Stephen said:

Thanks everyone.

Not sure this will become a regular thing although it does seem interesting and fun to experiment with. I do notice a number of art tile businesses on the net. They mostly seem to be focused on designs for back splashes, wall accents, fireplaces and baths. Some of them do have some big installations listed but I get the impression that most are aimed at pricey remodels or custom homes/offices. I see $15-$30 foot as the range (with some as high as $70)  which certainly does not even attempt to compete with mass producers. Seems to be all about the designs. Buyers can go to all sorts of places for handmade tiles but if they want a particular design then they will only have one choice.

   

Stephen:

these custom tiles go for $???? each wholesale. Yes, I am only after high end. And NO, I am not doing business- merely confirming the OP post. Dive in, big money in tile.

gallery_73441_1082_654711.jpgcustom is the key word.

gallery_73441_1082_2235773.jpg

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Our house is nearly 100 years old, and the upstairs bath is original.  When we moved in, there were some damaged floor tiles, around the toilet from, where some plumbing repairs were made.  What I thought were ceramic floor tiles, are actually Venetian Glass.  Also, the tiles were set in, what seems to be concrete.  The entire subfloor, for the bath is a huge slab of concrete, several inches thick.  The joists that support it are beefy, but when I sit in the room below, I try not to think about that giant slab above my head...

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When beautiful flooring once laid down it becomes the most wonderful place to visit every time. I can see all the tiles, designs uploaded here, are looking very nice and unique too. I remember last year when the construction of my new home was going on, one of my neighbour suggested my dad to install vinyl flooring Sacramento from the Zothex Flooring. We did the same, and we are still happy with the work done by the experts.

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