Fireclay Tile’s mission is to produce the most beautiful, durable ceramic products using sustainable manufacturing processes and recycled materials. We are innovators and actively engaged in developing new ceramic technologies while preserving “old world” methods.
Fireclay Tile is the leading ceramic tile company using recycled materials and sustainable manufacturing practices. We make the highest quality, most durable and aesthetic hand-made ceramic materials using “old world” methods that are unique, affordable, and “green.” We are based in San Jose, CA and the majority of our products are manufactured in the United States. We aim to be a triple-bottom line company and ensure we take the environment and our employees into account in every decision we make.
Fireclay Tile manufactures these decorative tiles and architectural details, along with a full line of field and trim tiles. Tiles are hand-molded from extruded clays using recycled materials, unprocessed stoneware clays, and minerals, giving our products a truly natural look with lifelong durability. For the greatest strength and consistency, we fire our tiles at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit without deformation (some color variation may occur). Glazes are mixed in-house and never contain any lead material. We recycle our kiln heat, water, and all manufacturing waste that is then re-used in other parts of our business.
It has been our greatest honor to have loyally served our customers for the past 22 years and we look forward to many more to come.
Fireclay Tile was established in 1986 by four partners with over 50 years experience in the design and production of handmade tiles. Paul Burns, Fireclay’s Chief Ceramicist, has been the majority partner and president of Fireclay Tile since its inception.
Paul first started making tiles with his uncle, Ross Chichester, the past president of Stonelight Tile, when he was only 10 years old. Paul would work many Saturdays and every summer growing up, learning all aspects of handmade tile production from extrusion to glaze formulating to kiln firing. By age 15, Paul was so skilled that Stonelight customers would specifically ask for his help in creating their tile.
Since founding Fireclay, Paul has devoted his life to finding more sustainable ways to make tile, focusing on everything from the most sustainable manufacturing processes to the incorporation of recycled content into his materials. Today, Fireclay Tile is the leading tile company using recycled materials and sustainable practices, employing over 48 employees in the United States.
Our name is derived from the fireclays we use to produce tiles that are not only beautiful but strong and durable. The geologic formation of fireclays depended on rock from the earth’s crust being weathered by rain, wind, heat, cold and abrasion. This eroded rock was carried away be water resulting in a minerals containing silicates of alumina. After the Glacial Period (800 to 600 million years ago), waters receded leaving this fireclay sediment and silt.
The high alumina content of fireclay enables it to withstand temperatures up to 2800 degrees F without deforming. When fired the formation of aluminum crystals creates an interlocking matrix giving a very strong clay body and a strong clay-glaze interface.
Because fireclays are slow drying they warp less than other clays making it a good body for tile. Our fireclay comes from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Since inception Fireclay Tile has been one of the most innovative ceramic tile companies in the world. A history of these innovations includes:
Leadless Glazes: In 1988 Fireclay Tile converted to a system of 100% leadless glazes. The first tile maker to make such a step at a time when leadless glaze technology was in its infancy.
Vulcanite: Fireclay Tile developed Vulcanite in 1997. Vulcanite was glazed and fired large format pieces of volcanic lava. Fireclay Tile was the only producer of glazed lava in the US.
Debris Tile: In 2000 Fireclay Tile began incorporating 25% post-industrial recycled content (granite dust) into its tile. Today, Debris Tile is composed of over 70% recycled content, the majority of which is post-consumer waste from glass bottles. Energy used to make Debris tiles are 50% of other tile manufacturers due to its high recycled content.