Handmade tiles are a beautiful way to add artisanal character to your home. They offer stunning color variation and uneven surface texture that evokes the beauty of handmade pottery. But working with these finicky tiles requires special skills and extra care to ensure a successful install.
Tile designer Deb O’Connor likens handmade tile to grandma’s homemade cookies: “They’re just so much better.” Handmade tiles have a warmth that can’t be replicated by machine-produced alternatives, as well as a sense of history and craftsmanship that adds value to your home in the long run.
While some homeowners prefer the consistency of mass-produced tile, there’s a growing appreciation for handmade tiles that celebrate imperfections and individuality. For instance, the green tile backsplash above combines trending colors and handmade characteristics (including subtle color variation and irregular edges) for a truly one-of-a-kind design.
Another unique feature of handmade tile is the ability to customize your order based on your preferences and project needs. By working closely with a tile artisan, you can create a truly bespoke design that will become the focal point of your space.
But even if you don’t work with an artisan, many hand-crafted tiles can still be customized to meet your exact needs. You can choose a specific size, shape or color, or work with the tile maker to come up with a custom color combination that isn’t available in store.
Unlike their machine-produced counterparts, handmade tiles have slightly irregular edges that can make lining up grout lines a little challenging. This is because most tile makers trim excess clay from the tile molds by hand, and this process can leave slight variations in edge thickness between tiles. This makes it necessary to jigger the grout gap width from tile to tile a bit in order to maintain a perfectly level appearance throughout your installation.
The good news is that a few simple tips can help you work with these tricky tiles and get the results you want. For example, it’s important to plan for this additional complexity when estimating your project timeline and hiring a tile installer. If you’re interested in learning more about how to tackle these installation challenges, check out this blog post for deep details on planning and installing handmade tile backsplashes for a gorgeous result.
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