Tile School: Which Tile Finish is Right For You? | Fireclay Tile
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Tile School: Which Tile Finish is Right For You?

By Kali

Tile School: Which Tile Finish is Right For You?

When you are choosing which tile to install, people generally think of color first, but it is important to consider the finish too. Do you want your tiles to reflect light? Have a softer look? Do you want some texture? You should also consider where you are installing as well, as some finishes are better suited for certain applications. Also, not all of our finishes are available in all of our materials. Below, we'll break down the five finishes that we offer.

Matte Finish

You can find matte glazes in our glass, brick and ceramic tiles. Matte tiles have a non-reflective surface and we offer them in several neutrals, whites and colors too. The subtle texture of a matte glaze has a softer effect that adds something special to any installation.

green picket tile kitchen backsplash with white cabinets

Tile Shown: Pickets in Sea Glass

Mattes work wonderfully for floor tiles as they offer more grip and slip resistance.

All of our matte glazes have a DCOF value above .42 we are rated for wet areas where slip resistance is helpful.

white shower floor tile

Tile Shown: Daisy Matte in Star and Cross and Mini Star and Cross

For even more peace of mind in wet areas, consider a mosaic tile under 3” to maximize grout lines to add grip.

Satin Finish

We have several satin finished Tile colors: Antique, Flagstone, Sorbet and Sunflower. A satin finish is a matte surface with light sheen and is suitable for any installation.

three ceramic tiles with satin finishes

Tile Shown: Flagstone, Sorbet and Sunflower

You can see the smooth finish Satin offers in the installation below.

restaurant bar with tile backsplash

Tile Shown: Flagstone

Gloss Finish

Gloss finishes have a shiny, semi-reflective sheen. Gloss finishes are seen most frequently, as this sheen offers a classic feel on floors and walls.

You can see the shine, variation and crackle that can exist within finishes like Foggy Morning, shown here.

grey herringbone tile kitchen backsplash

Tile Shown: 2x6 in Foggy Morning

living room with fireplace featuring navy tile

Tile Shown: 2x8s in Navy Blue

You will also find Gloss finishes like Turquoise (shown below) where there is very little variation. Just be sure to check the variation level on each color page!

Tile Shown: Turquoise

Gloss with Engobe Finish

Engobe is where we place a white primer on our Recycled Clay Body and then the colored glazed on the top. This finish accentuates the color and makes for a watercolor-like appearance. Engobe finishes will typically have a higher variation level, along with a bit of crazing.

You can see how this finish has a lot of color variation.

Tile Shown: Nautical

You can use engobe glazes for both wall tile and flooring applications.

bathroom with tile floor and bathtub

Tile Shown: 8" Hexagons in Slate Blue

You can see how an Engobe glaze can really showcase color variation in the bathroom below:

green tile bathroom with tub

Tile Shown: Kelp (an engobe finish) in 3x6 Subway Tile in an Offset Pattern

Patine Finish

Patine is an antiquing process applied to a gloss glaze to accentuate the crackled nature of the glaze. hile this is fine for flooring, backsplashes, shower, and fireplace applications, it cannot be used in a pool or steam shower setting. Below are the three colors where you can find this striking sheen.

Tile Shown: Basil with Black Patine

Tile Shown: Foggy Morning with Black Patine

tile fireplace with black patine

Tile Shown: Foggy Morning with Black Patine in a fireplace application. Image: Michael Fearon Bliss Photography.

Tile Shown: Ultra Cream with Black Patine

Mix and Match

If you can't decide on which finish to choose, consider using more than one. Mixing gloss and matte glaze for instance creates intriguing variation even across similar colorways. Feature a border, checkerboard, stripe or scattering of opposing finish to set your design apart.

Similarly, a Patine finish can be paired with any other tile, even the same color as your Patine choice, just without the crazing filled in.

Do you love our finishes? Order color samples online now. Still not sure which sheen is right for you? Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly.

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