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tile specs, poured tile

updated wed 2 apr 03


Stephani Stephenson on tue 1 apr 03

Poured tile
I had great initial results by pouring tile with paperclay slip
haven't pursued it much further , because of time and other directions

beautiful surface, strong greenware, great glaze response, zero warping
or cracking
lightweight. Literally I cast some 10 X 19 relief tiles that were 1/8

Did NOT test for porosity
only studio drawback was the paperclay 'slip' or 'slurry'
took a long time to dry, so to do multiples
you would need a number of molds
to fill simultaneously.

also the backs of the tiles were 'oatmeal-ey' which may not matter,
it is the back of the tile . or could be dealt with....

also you can use grog in your regular casting slip... this helps....

Tile Specs
the Tile Council of America
(sorry, in a rush, no reference info at my fingertips)
publishes some very VERY informative booklets describing all the tests
the industry and tile manufacturers use.
You can do some yourself, you can also have them test for you
Eric Astrachan of the TCA says he is interested in making testing costs
and testing more accessible to studio tilemakers
it does help to get an idea of the standards, also they publish
standards for tile installation and installers.

handmade tile floors can really be a thing of beauty
so far as I know they haven't been coded out of existence.
Industrial and commercial products are developed with an amazing amount
of research and development
I'm sure they work hard for a litigation proof , non wearing, floor
tile, as they must

You need to know your tile will be appropriate for the use which it is
(indoor , outdoor, climate, etc.)
and it helps to read up on the TCA standards with regard to tile
thickness, surface, durability, etc.
floor tile especially is subject to wear
Certainly you want your tile setter to know the standards, right? As
installation is important !

That said, NO you do not have to have the tile tested to be installed
(insert: "as far as I know")
I have never heard of this. I have had floors installed by licensed
contractors in
very legal homes....
Professional contractors have installed many handmade tile floors , both
in new homes and in
renovation projects.( I have never sold tile flooring for a commercial
space...have no idea if this matters.)
there is a line for me, and certain projects where I would test , large
scale or public projects possibly.

It is kind of nerve-wracking to see all those specs, then look at your
own tile...makes the tile feel downright inadequate!
Especially when you are starting, you don't have the benefit of KNOWING
that your tile has held up well in floors put in 10, 25, 40 years ago
so all you can do is educate yourself, make a good clay tile and put
your best foot forward with it, or ON it!

I am sure your tile would be harder , more durable than Mexican Saltillo

however Mexican Saltillo is unglazed and though soft, will take wear and
can SHOW that wear with 'character'
Glazed floor tile needs more scrutiny than glazed wall tile, but it
doesn't have to be bulletproof to serve well
use common sense and learn about tile. look at other handmade tile on
the market.
Another alternative is to find a source of tested floor tile and work
with glazes on that tile.

let me see, wasn't it too long ago that the technology was to pour
oxblood and/or oil onto a tamped earthen / clay floor????

Stephani Stephenson