Dec. 6, 2013
Example of a kitchen backsplash designed by Joshua Mogal of eco+historical. Tile shown is our Debris Series in Sky Blue.
Let's be honest, tile and tile installation can be confusing! We are experts on the subject and even we'll admit it can be a difficult process. For many of you homeowners we know it might be your first time working with tile, and there will probably be a few blank stares along the way when your installer or designer starts talking about thin-sets and bullnose trims. Don’t fret my friend, we are here to help! Team Fireclay put our heads together and created a definitive guide to tile terminology! So study up before tackling your next project, and learn to talk about tile like a pro!
Each week we will be covering a new section of the alphabet. This week we are featuring the A's to the C's!
Absorption – The percentage amount of moisture absorbed by weight.
Abrasion Resistance – The ability of a surface to resist being worn away by rubbing and friction.
Accelerator – A substance which, when added to concrete, mortar, or grout, increases the rate of hydration of the hydraulic cement, shortens the time of setting, or increases the rate of hardening of strength development, or both.
Acid Wash – A treatment applied to the face of a stone to achieve a texture or finish that is distressed. Chemical processes have been replaced by mechanical methods for the texturing of the stone.
Adhesive – Used for bonding tile to a surface.
Arris – An edge or angle where two surfaces meet; for example, moldings and raised edges.
Our Debris Series Clay Body
Back-Buttering – The process of slathering the back of a stone tile with thinset in order to ensure proper mortar coverage. This prevents hollow areas and subsequent future cracking of tiles. Also helpful to ensure a level installation.
Backing – Any material used as a base over which a finished material is to be installed.
Backsplash – The area located between the countertop and upper cabinets.
Battiscopa – The Italian term for a bull nose trim piece.
Blending – The proper positioning of adjacent floor slabs, or tiles, by their predominant color.
Bisque – When you look at a glazed tile from the side you can see 2 layers. The body of the tile, or largest layer, is called the bisque. The top layer is called the glaze.
Body – Term refers to structural portion of a ceramic product and to the material or mixture from which it is made.
Bond – The adherence of one material to another. Effective bonds must be achieved between the mortar and scratch coat, between the tile and mortar, and between the adhesive and backing.
Bond Strength – The force per unit area or length necessary to rupture a bond.
Border – A strip of tile with design, texture or contrasting color that creates a design concept.
Brushed Finish – A finish resulting from treating the stone surface with a coarse wire rotary brush.
Bullnose – A trim tile with a convex radius or finished edge on one side. Used for finishing top of wainscot, turning of an outside corner, or floor base.
Buttering – The spreading of a bond coat to the back of a ceramic tile immediately before the tile is installed.
Example of crazing. Tile shown is our Vitrail Series in Azurine
Caulk – A soft, water resistant plastic material used for sealing joints.
Ceramic Tile – A ceramic surfacing unit, usually relatively thin in relation to facial area, made from clay or a mixture or clay; and other ceramic material, called the body of the tile, having either a "glazed" or "unglazed" face, and fired about red heat in the course of manufacture to a temperature sufficiently high to produce specific physical properties and characteristics.
Coefficient of Friction (COF) – The slip resistance of a tile.
Colored Grout – Commercially prepared grout consisting of carefully graded aggregate, portland cement, water dispersing agents, plasticizers and color fast pigments.
Crazing – The cracking which occurs in fired glazes or other ceramic coatings due to critical tensile stresses.
Cove – A trim tile with one edge a concave radius. Used to form a junction between the bottom wall course and the floor or to form an inside corner.
Cure – The time period that a tile installation setting material must be undisturbed and allowed to set for it to reach full strength.
To be continued! Tune in next Friday, Dec 13th for the next installment of our Tile Terminology Series...
Dec. 5, 2013
Kitchen designed by Josh Mogal of eco+historical using our Debris Series in Caribbean Blue, Image: Michael Keeny
San Francisco based Designer, Josh Mogal of eco+historical has been a long time customer and friend of Fireclay Tile. His stunning historical kitchen rennovations often feature our tile, and we are honored to be able to partner with a designer who has focused his career on sustainable design. As an eco-technology enthusiast, Mogal was thrilled to hear about our plan to turn recycled CRT glass in to tile, and happily backed our project along with a handful of his clients. We took a minute to chat with Josh about his career, sustainable design, and of course our CRT tile!
Josh Mogal of eco+historical
First of all, thank you for backing our project, we appreciate the support!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the history of eco+historical? How did you get involved with sustainable design?
Josh - I started eco+historical in 2007 after a 15-year career in high tech product marketing. Originally, I chose to get out of tech to seek some life balance–to spend more time with friends and my dog, to cook, and to start a family. After an enjoyable remodel of my Palo Alto home before moving to San Francisco, seeing "An Inconvenient Truth" put the fire in my belly to pursue a new path, making homes that both support a vibrant family and social life and which go easier on the planet.
How did you get involved with sustainable design?
As I looked at all of the new work happening in Green Building, virtually all of it was focused on a modern/contemporary aesthetic–with plenty of glass, metal and concrete, but little warmth and little connection to the past. Having grown up in the Northeast, I had loved the warm and cozy feeling of a colonial farmhouse or cottage and I recognized that many of those details had become timeless while so much architecture from the 1940's on has lost its luster.
I decided to focus on applying new Eco-technologies and materials to rehabs of historic homes, retaining a feel that speaks to the past while upgrading floor plans and technologies to suit contemporary living, eliminating toxins, and minimizing energy and water use. I also felt that my experience with user interface design and usability could be applied to space planning to make for more effective collaborations with architects.
How are you currently attempting to make a mark on design through the use of sustainable materials?
Josh - The hallmark of eco+historical is that all of its projects since 2009, when the US Green Building Council made it possible to certify rehabs in addition to new construction, have been designed to target the LEED Platinum Certification level. To achieve this, I seek out materials and systems in every area to maximize my use of sustainable and non-toxic products.
California, and San Francisco in particular, has been very aggressive about pushing Green Building requirements into the building code. Sustainability is no longer an option - it's a requirement. Moral obligations to the planet aside, it's not just the new law of the land, it makes more and more sense.
San Francisco kitchen designed by Josh Mogal featuring our Debris Series in "Kelp", Image: Michael Keeny
You have used our product several times in your projects, when did you first get turned on to Fireclay Tile? What do you like about our tile?
Josh - From my very first project in San Francisco's Cole Valley in 2008, I've specified Fireclay Tile's Debris Series field tile for not only its Green qualities, but the lovely selection of colors and the great story behind them and your company. I'm not interested in designing homes that are just a set of specs for success. My homes are meant to be homes, they need to exude warmth and feel secure–like they've been there forever and will be there for you when you need some place to come back to.
When I use tile from Fireclay Tile, those tiles weren't made by some nameless mega-corporation across the world - they're made by real people with a passion for what they do and hands-on involvement in the products they make. I look at those tiles and I see Paul and his team. I see them honoring the history of my Victorians. I see home.
I often make my homes a relatively neutral palette for their eventual owner's art, furniture and decor, but I always like to add the Debris Series tile in the kitchen for a splash of warm color. The crackle glazes also add a sense of "historical" to the tile, making them fit even better with my own company's identity.
100% Recycled CRT Glass Tile from our Kickstarter project
You and a few of your clients have backed our Kickstarter project, What sparked your interest in our CRT campaign?
Josh - Of course I'm a Fireclay Superfan, so you didn't have to try too hard to get me interested, but as usual, Paul combined a compelling story with a gorgeous tile. The warm gray Phosphor color was gorgeous and the opportunity to make a bit of a difference in reducing the waste stream played both to my love of a great story, my love of the environment, and my love of gorgeous tile.
How do you plan to use our CRT Glass tile in your future projects?
Josh - While I haven't designated an exact use for the CRT Glass tile in my next couple of projects, I already regularly use Penny Tile in my showers and field tile in my backsplashes. I can easily envision the new CRT Glass tile in both of those applications.
What impact do you hope to have on the future of the design community?
Josh - I don't know that I have great visions for my own impact on the design community, but I do love having the opportunity to leverage products into my work that are not just sustainable but emotional as well. There are plenty of sustainable tiles and concrete mixes and sealants and plumbing systems. But there are few sustainable products that are deeply infused with an emotional quality like Fireclay's Debris and CRT Glass Tile products are.
Where do you see sustainable design going in the future?
Josh - Ideally, it would be great if we could move towards more homes incorporating the concepts behind standards like Passivhaus from Germany. Going beyond LEED to make homes that barely even need heating or cooling, these standards can start to move us towards Net Zero homes that have little burden on our energy infrastructure. It will take a long time, but if we can move building standards to require the use of sustainable materials and Net Zero Energy from the start, then the impact of future growth on the planet and our communities will be immensely reduced.
Where the future lies is in making the leap from sustainability being the lead quality that companies promote to sustainability being an absolute requirement and a given and the product's design and value moving to the forefront.
Today, Fireclay Tile is among a very small group of companies with emotionally-compelling sustainable products. Keep up the good work.
Thank you for your support Josh!
If you are interested in learning more about our CRT Glass Tile and are in interested in contributing to the project, check out our Kickstarter Campaign!
Nov. 26, 2013
Image: Malcolm-Fearon Photography, Bliss Images; Color: White Gloss
Herringbone, the beloved pattern named after its resemblance to the skeleton of a herring, is undoubtedly a classic, spanning all the way back to the Roman Empire, where its conception stemmed from the construction of an enormous road system called the Viae Publicae. Standard rectangular bricks were placed in an alternating arrangement, creating a zig zag effect which broke at the point of reversal. With the weight load spread over a larger surface area, the grid of interlocking units made the paving system incredibly strong under compression.
Rather than falling with the Roman Empire, Herringbone resurfaced and became a desired architectural feature during the European Renaissance. Soon after, the pattern gained relevance and became a popular hardwood parquet flooring choice. Herringbone remains popular today and can be achieved in a variety of finish materials.
Color: White Gloss
Despite its historic roots, and classic rectangular shapes, this dynamic and distinctive pattern is still relevant even in today’s most contemporary designs. The pattern lends itself to customization, and with a little creativity, can be transformed into some pretty fun-loving designs. Achieve a Herringbone pattern with our rectangular 2x4 field tile by interlocking each tile at a 45 degree angle. For a custom look try experimenting with different colorways and sizes.
Image: Malcolm-Fearon Photography, Bliss Images; Color: Mica
Who said Herringbone is only appropriate as a flooring option? No one! With its visually striking geometric lines, herringbone has become a unique decorative feature, adding lively dimension to any kitchen backsplash.
Nov. 20, 2013
To show how we produced our 100% CRT Glass Tile featured in our Kickstarter project we have created the ultimte infographic to tell the tale of CRTs tranformation from TV to Tile.
Nov. 11, 2013
Our Kickstarter Video
We are very excited to announce the launch of our Kickstarter project! Our prouct is the first of its kind and we are very proud of what we have created – 100% post consumer CRT Glass Tile. CRT, also known as Cathode Ray Tube glass, was used to make the glass screens in old televisions and computer monitors. CRT has been an e-waste challenge in the recycling community for years. With the rise of LCD and Plasma this e-waste problem is growing at a rapid rate. CRT accounts for over 860 million pounds of e-waste in the US alone and we figured that was a lot of useful glass that we could make into tile.
This used to be your TV or computer; now it's beautiful tile! Color: Phosphor.
In order to make these special tiles, we need unique molds. The funding from this Kickstarter project will be used to purchase high quality molds that will guarantee consistency in the finished product. Each mold costs roughly $20 and an average size project will use around 360 molds, which is why we need every dime of the $10,000 we're trying to raise via Kickstarter.
From monitor to backsplash. Kickstarter backers will be eligible for a Phosphor backsplash for their next installation.
Phosphor CRT Tile 4x4 coasters. A rewards for some lucky Kickstarter backers...
Help us make CRT tile a success by backing our project and sharing with friends. C’mon, let’s make something cool together!
BIG THANK YOU to our local e-cyclers, ECS Refining, for all of our CRT glass!
Check out our infographic that tracks CRT from rise to decline, from waste to tile!
Fireclay Tile infographic of CRT from monitor to tile
Nov. 6, 2013
Here at Fireclay Tile, a surefire way to make our day is hearing from happy customers. This week we got an email from Megan in California who chose a Vitrail Series 3 x 6 in Topaz for the backsplash in her kitchen.
"We were remodelling our kitchen and came across Fireclay tile on a design blog. Looking into them more we appreciated their ethics and that the materials were locally made. We chose our tile and the custom color. As we were nearing the end of the job we realized we didn't have enough tile. I contacted Fireclay tile and fortunately they had made extra. I picked it up and we finished the job. Everyday I see our tile backsplash I love it. It is the signature piece in the kitchen. I couldn't be happier". Megan, CA.
Thanks Megan! We think your project turned out beautifully.
For more design inspiration check out our gallery. If you've got a story or photo you'd like to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy tiling!
Oct. 31, 2013
The team here at Fireclay Tile wanted to share some of our finer moments in front of the camera.
Here we capture the team in the heat of a poker battle. Who wins we might ask? One may never know. But we do make great tile.
Charades is a word guessing game and a favorite pastime for children and adults alike. However, in order to play this game and be successful, the team will soon find that tile isn't everything.
Oct. 29, 2013
We are currently shooting our next round of Fireclay TIle Videos! We love video, as it's both a great way for us to highlight who we are as a company and also to educate our customers.
We work with Markwood Films out of Los Angeles, who have shot videos for us and our friends at New Ravenna. Eric, our CEO, also went to high school with Alex from Markwood, so that may have something to do with it! But honestly, they rock and do a great job of showing off the beauty of artisan companies.
Here are some awesome excerpts from Day 1 of filming!
Alex and Kat from Markwood Films getting the team ready
Emily and Mayra getting ready to dance!
Our Founder and Chief Ceramicist, Paul, getting down with Sabrina, Curtis, and Nolan
We can't wait to show you the full videos in another month. In the meantime, check out all the other Fireclay Tile videos on our website.
Oct. 23, 2013
There is a newly completed Moroccan-inspired haven here in San Jose. Brought to you by the creative minds of Jeffrey Gordon Smith Architecture, this private oasis beckons you to simply recline. Whether it is in the peacock mosaic hot tub, warming by the octagon fire pit or napping in the shaded lounge, this backyard transports you through time to a secret Marrakesh garden in Morocco itself. Intrigued? Let’s take the tour from the beginning…
To start, we begin with the design of the mosaic - can you find the peacock?
Once the design is finalized, it's time to color in the lines! Here we see how Jeffrey and his team begin to fill in the white with the chosen color composition. Try our color-it tool to design your own!
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture
Now the heavy lifting begins with construction underway on the octagon fire pit and curved hot tub.
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture
After a few months of labor, the final product is unveiled. This incredible custom project incorporates both handpainted Cuerda Seca tiles - the peacock mosaic, fire pit & Morrocan fountain in the lounge area - and Lapis field tile used in the hot tub.
Photo taken by Jim Everett Photography, courtesy of Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture
We are very excited to share this beautiful backyard with you and hope you find inspiration for your next work of art!
Oct. 17, 2013
Casting the Mold: Production of Crush Molds
Q & A with Nolan Johnson – Fireclay Tile's Glass Factory Manager
What’s the overarching approach of the glass factory?
NJ - In the crush factory we are constantly striving towards being a leader in the sustainable tile industry. We use as much recycled material in our glass tile production as possible, in an effort to reduce the amount of waste going to our local landfills.
Fireclay's glass tile is made out of 100% recycled content. What about the molds they're made from? Are they recycled material as well?
NJ - The process begins when we receive recycled window and solar tubing glass from our local vendors. We “crush” that recycled glass into a fine, medium and large frit. The next step is making the tile molds. Our molds are made out of pulverized recycled clay tile and other recycled components mixed together and placed in a casting form. After being in the form for 12 hours, the molds go into the kiln for another 12 hours to cure.
Once the molds have cured, what’s next?
NJ - The molds are brought to the factory floor where they’re filled with glass frit. Color is added to the glass frit by mixing in a powdered pigment to get the desired color. Next up is selecting the size of tile to make. The glass and pigment mixture is then poured into the molds and lightly shaken to create a nice even distribution of material. Once the molds are filled with pigment and glass mixture, it’s time to start loading them on the belt kiln. Each mold runs through the belt kiln for about an hour at 1630 degrees fahrenheit. The tiles are then moved to a cooling rack for about 30 minutes. After cooling, the order is matted or sheeted and ready to ship.
For more information about Crush, download the .pdf of Fireclay's Crush 100% Recycled Glass Tile Brochure.