Tiles have long been a firm favorite among homeowners and interior designers. In this article, we will take a look at how digital technology is transforming the tiles industry.
It is common knowledge that digital technology has revolutionized the photography industry and the music industry as well. What may be less commonly known is that it has also transformed the ceramic tile industry. This means that this has created new and exciting possibilities for the interiors of homes.
Changing the appearance of tiles
The most burning example that digital technology has had on tiles is in their appearance, their looks. Digital technology, especially inkjet printing techniques, have opened up a lot of new frontiers for tiles. For example, there are now ceramic tile manufacturers who can make their tiles to resemble natural materials such as marble and wood so closely that even experts have a hard time telling them apart. One expert stated that once the tile has been installed and unless he touches it, he will not be able to tell the difference.
One other benefit of this new technology is that: it is near impossible to tell apart a repeated pattern as the manufacturers are now creating “pattern areas” that are 30-by-30 square feet. In the days gone by, you could very easily spot tiles which were identical in about two or three feet of where you stood but not anymore.
Unlimited design possibilities
What is of even greater interest to the manufacturers is that the new technology lets them design tiles that have very peculiar three-dimensional qualities. In the past, raised patterns could not go more than 1/16th of an inch from the surface of the tile. The effect this created was subtle and could only be told apart from a close distance. This has drastically changed with the advent of digital technology in tiling. Today, there are tiles that have patterns that have the ability to project by as much as half an inch. The results obtained from this can be viewed from throughout the room and it is also a look that can change within the span of a day. It totally depends on how sunlight is hitting the surface of the tiles. Sizes of the very unique looking tiles have also changed. There are now tile manufacturers who can make tiles that can be both very large and also very thin.
So what exactly does this imply for the owners of homes? The result of the above is that you can now create interiors with tiles that you probably thought were suited best for your bathrooms or kitchens. It really does not matter what kind of look you are going for. With the widespread availability of these new tiling technologies, there is now so much variety in the market that there will be a tile that will meet your interior needs, no matter how unique it is. The choices are so broad that they are in the thousands.
The most interesting and exciting new possibility with these new technologies are the tiles that are made to look like some other type of material. If you are the kind of person who has always wanted marble but you had to forgo that desire due to practical considerations, well with these new technologies you can have tiles that mimic the look and feel of real marble. It does so with incredible precision. You have the option of installing both ceramic or porcelain tiles that look exactly like the real thing does as well. You can even combine the look of several stones or you can also get ones that give you the feel of time long gone by.
There are now tile manufacturers who make red-clay-colored tiles that are absolutely like Rojo Alicante. This is a very famous spanish marble that will be known by marble enthusiasts everywhere. If the goal is to wow the visitors to your home, this tile will do very well indeed.
Then there are also tile manufacturers whose tiles are totally indistinguishable from white marble. It is not the reimagination of just one stone however, they combine three of the classics – Carrara, Calacatta and Statuario. This type of tile is the perfect flooring option for rooms in which the aim is to unwind after a long and tiring day.
Not just marble
With the introduction of these new technologies, marble is not the only stone that tile manufacturers are mimicking. There is a firm in Mexico that makes Piedra Terraza. These are tiles that look like river stones that are very real – stones that have a surface that is round after having been in contact with running water in streams or rivers for ages. Furthermore, these tiles have each individual stone on each tile raised. This is a detail that becomes plainly obvious once you walk on the surface on your barefoot.
Then there are also tile manufacturers who make tiles out of porcelain that are wood look-alikes. These tiles are made to resemble individual floor planks or maybe even parquet flooring. Parquet flooring makes use of multiple pieces of wood on each of the tiles. There are manufacturers who make tiles that mimic the American standards such as Cherry and as well as tropical hardwood. There are also manufacturers who make tiles that use a distressed or weathered and worn look. These tiles do not look like any particular type of flooring but it is infinitely more interesting. These tiles that mimic wood can be used anywhere within the house but they are best suited for areas within the house that tend to get wet a lot. This includes areas such as bathrooms and kitchens or it can even be used outside as a pool deck.