If you’ve had the chance to tour some of the new model homes, retail spaces, and restaurants lately, chances are you might have noticed the diverse variety of materials in these interiors.
Spoiler alert: The pristine marble, reclaimed barn wood, stained concrete, oxidized metal, even the linen wallpaper, you love so much might actually be porcelain tile.
Tile has not always been so ubiquitous and the recent surge in popularity can be traced back to when the first inkjet printer for tile glazes was introduced to the market in the year 2000.
Although this was a huge leap forward for tile, it would be more than 10 years before this technology would really start to change the fundamentals of design and materials. This change arrived with the explosion in popularity of wood-look tile.
But why tile???
This technology allowed tile manufacturers to print realistic images onto the surface of the tile which allowed for the previously impossible levels of detail to be produced.
Tile is one of the oldest types of flooring with uses dating back to the 13th century. And there’s a reason we keep using it… Tile is easily cleaned and will not damage easily.
Stain and Scratch Resistant
Today, homeowners and developers can use wood-look tile in heavily trafficked spaces because of tiles resistance to stains, scratches and even water. Natural wood was typically avoided in these spaces due to easy scratching and moisture damage.
Tile is changing the market by reproducing exorbitantly expensive design concepts at a fraction of the cost.
Take for example the desirability of reclaimed barnwood flooring. The small inventory of abandoned barns and the labor-intensive process of reclaiming and milling made the product unobtainable for the vast majority of homeowners.
Now that reclaimed barnwood can be replicated onto tile, the look is not only affordable but also available to so many who crave this look.
Use it Anywhere
The natural resilience of porcelain tile with its versatility of design, texture and scale has allowed completely new applications of wood design. It’s an excellent source for exterior cladding, shower walls and even pool decking in the full Las Vegas sun.
Tile manufacturers are responding rapidly, producing tile imitating the look of fabric, exposed brick, stained glass, gold leafing, metal cladding and even leather and animal print. They’re combining artisanal processes with the latest technology, the only creative limit to porcelain tile is convention. If the trend continues however, porcelain tile may continue shattering conventions, bringing a new freedom of expression to interiors for generations to come.