In recent years, ceramic tile producers have used state-of-the-art technology to take visuals to the next stratosphere. At the high end, this trend is only magnified.
Strength and beauty flawlessly converge in the brilliant interpretation of natural slate captured through the Kendal Slate collection, noted Lynda Whittle, brand marketing manager. “Enhanced with Reveal Imaging, Kendal Slate features true visuals, smooth, inviting texture and easy maintenance that comes standard in porcelain tile. Kendal Slate creates a look that’s virtually indistinguishable from natural stone, with the durability and ease of cleaning found in porcelain tile.”
With its sleek and modern lines, Terreno colorBody porcelain embodies the rich aesthetic of hardwood flooring, she explained, ideal for spaces where wood just isn’t an option. “With solid color throughout the tile, Terreno makes short work of challenges like high traffic volume or excess humidity.”
For those who seek tile with a textured, fabric-like surface, Dal-Tile’s new Spark collection answers the call, noted Lori Kirk-Rolley, senior marketing director. “This graphic contemporary colorBody porcelain is ideal for commercial and residential applications. It brings taste, sophistication and style to any design. Offered in a variety of complementary colors, all with a subtle luminescence, Spark lets you create a modern and glamorous space that will leave a lasting impression.”
San Michele is Dal-Tile’s first collection manufactured with Reveal Imaging. The new collection emulates natural antiqued travertine stone and is available in three warm colors.
Magma is a colorbody porcelain tile. “Ranging from ancient stone looks into a more contemporary form, Magma comes in four visuals: Flat, Hammered, Diagonal and Grooved,” Kirk- Rolley said. “For utmost color compatibility, this collection is offered in various shades of gray as well as lightly polished and unpolished options.”
The Grandeur series is the manufacturer’s newest high definition porcelain line. Created with the newest digital printing technology, this Breccia marble has been the staple floor and wall covering for centuries, noted Sean Cilona, marketing director. “From the civic buildings that lined the Palatine Hill and the palatial villas of Roman emperors to the modern steel and glass high-rises of our global cityscapes, marble is a classic look that will remain timeless. A natural color palette offers five traditional colors, all inclusive of the strong multichromatic veining that makes this look an icon of style.”
This glazed porcelain is available in a natural and polished finish, a first for the company.
“Florida Tile is the first domestic manufacturer to offer a digitally printed product with a polished finish, which will not harbor dirt and other debris,” he said.
The Dreaming porcelain floor tile line is designed to reproduce the beauty of marble. In-depth material research conducted on glazes has led to the creation of a ceramic product with the same texture, brightness and elegance of the finest quarry marble. It also has exceptionally sharp definition of details from using high definition printing technology.
The Italy-based producer’s Lines and Waves line is the creation of acclaimed French designer Patrick Norguet that uses Lea’s Slimtech technology. “It’s successful because of the design (that gives depth and movement to the material) and the unique character of the surface (large and thin format porcelain tiles),” he noted. Suitable for walls and floors, Lines and Waves can also be cut for other applications.
At Surfaces, the mill introduced Cairo—a high-end porcelain product that has all the “bells and whistles…and then some,” noted Jim Dougherty, director of ceramic business. “It has a unique look, with dramatically shifting colors in each tile in a variety of sizes. Its design options are almost endless, with size options for any space. Contrary to popular belief, large-size tile helps make a room look more spacious—there are less grout lines to interrupt the continuity of the flooring.”
In addition, he said, “using a variety of shapes and sizes—like rectangles and large-format squares—adds visual interest and a more custom, personalized look to the room.” Cairo comes in three sizes as well as a 3 x 12 bullnose, a brick-style mosaic and a 2 x 2 mesh-mounted mosaic.
“Cairo is made using an ink-jet printing process,” Dougherty said, “which enhances the graphic clarity of the product and adds visual dimension.”
Stone Treasure allows for a truly custom design, as this high quality tile can be cut into linear rectangles or square shapes, said Tammy Perez, senior manager of hard surfaces. “The linear option is a popular trend. Available in 10 mosaic color blends, Mohawk’s Stone Treasure establishes an air of refinement and can be used to create patterns or accent more traditional tile products.”
Mohawk’s Christoval Glass is another luxurious product that allows consumers to customize their home with a high-end look of distinction. “Christoval Glass offers consumers a number of options ranging from wall tile that lends a shimmering, iridescent quality or glass that offers a frosted opalized effect,” she explained. Christoval Glass is available in five mosaic color blends and more than 20 mosaic solid colors.
Spanish tile manufacturer Roca has introduced to the U.S. new digital technology lines, Carrara and Campania. Both have been overwhelmingly received, noted Goran Micic, area sales manager, Roca Tile Group. “It shows that the U.S. market is changing and going after the product, but still wants to keep the traditional stone look and opting for larger wall and the floor sizes.
“Also,” he explained, “this new digital technology is allowing us to manufacture tile that is as close to the natural product as possible. The unique design and the tile size make them appealing to the U.S. high-end market.”
The success of the mill’s Metropolitan Slate and Ridgestone lines has been largely due to the realism of the colors and designs achieved through the clarity of Shaw’s digital imaging process, which enables more unique patterns than traditional glazing techniques, noted Jason Kyzer, category manager, tile and stone. “The made in the U.S.A. story also resonates with our buyers, who want to buy locally made products. Additionally, the recycled content and attractive price points are aspects that make these products exceptional.” Both PTCA-certified porcelain products feature 12 x 24 formats as well as sizes for kitchen backslashes and showers.
“Designing with higher-end tile today many times entails combining dissimilar elements,” said Carl Steadly, owner/designer. “In many applications, two types of glass tile—such as from our Sumi-E collection— can be used and combined with things like tumbled brick slate and wood. This is a hybrid way of designing; it offers balance because the stone can perform both on the wall and/or on the floor. And, the other tile components, which are contemporary and contemporary-rustic, work together.
“End users,” he explained, “especially of higher-end interiors, are no longer limited to using one field tile on the floor and one wall tile on vertical surfaces. Rather, there is a balance when bringing different materials together that can work. It simply depends on if it feels good visually.”