Minimalism is one of the hottest architecture and interior design styles right now, and cement/concrete is one of the materials of choice to create “the look.” But cement, let’s be honest, is a big pain to work with. And if you decide minimalism is no longer for you, hello Jackhammer.
Cement/concrete floors, walls, backsplashes, and countertops can be found in just about every current magazine covering high-end design. While it is used most frequently for minimalist contemporary concepts, the material is finding its way into farmhouse, industrial/urban, mid-century modern, and bohemian design styles.
If you love the look, but are not sure about the drawbacks, cement-look tiles can create the same cool vibe with less hassle and less money.
Not so long ago concrete and cement floors became a big thing on the design scene because of new paints and treatments that can be applied to the floor to stain the gray away. Then the floor can be buffed into a shiny surface. Cement/concrete floors became pieces of art, some looking like slices of geodes in colors of turquoise, magenta, and ruby.
Then minimalist architecture came on the scene, borrowing the use of cement/concrete walls from the sixties and seventies, when the material was used to create futuristic designs for schools and office buildings. It also fits right in with the intense interest in mid-century modern and Scandinavian furniture with its use of natural woods and paired-down lines.
Just a few years ago, cement was no longer being used for just for floors and walls. Suddenly there were countertops, backsplashes, and showers made of cement. This material has become so popular, there are now beautiful cement/concrete tiles.
One major drawback is that nothing having to do with cement/concrete can be done by the do-it-yourselfer, anything having to do with the use of concrete – floors, walls, countertops, and even laying concrete tiles — has to be done by a specialist who knows how to work with the complex materials.
After the project has been completed, concrete/cement must be sealed about every two to three months. It also requires constant cleaning with special cleansers.
And then there is the whole jackhammer thing if you don’t like it any more.
Ever watchful of the latest design trends, and backed by advances in technology, tile makers have begun making porcelain and ceramic tiles that look like concrete. These tiles come in a variety of sizes. And recently some tile companies have begun recreating the look of cement tiles with their ornate patterns that remind one of the opulent floors in a Roman villa.
Cement look tile started out being very basic to simply replace the time and hassle associated with working with cement/concrete. They were just light gray, in 12 x 12 squares, planks, and 12 x 24 rectangles. They were great for shower walls and floors.
As the use of concrete/cement has increased in design, including the use of ornate concrete tiles, ceramic and porcelain tile makers have stepped up to the plate. For example, Gio has a line of hexagonal tiles that look like white, light gray, and dark gray cement. They can be used to create a beautiful, memorable entryway or backsplash.
Concrete-like tiles are also now being made in popular styles and sizes, like subway tiles, to be used for a backsplash perhaps laid in a hounds tooth pattern. These tiles can also be found in small hexagonal shapes, like those that have been so popular in black and white over the last several years.
Cement-look tiles are easy to clean, can be laid as a DIY project, requite no special sealing, and are very affordable.
Best of all, they can create the hip, cool of look of cement/concrete in any home — forever — or be relatively easily removed when it is time for an update.
Leave a comment below and let us know how what you think of the latest trend in faux cement tiling and minimalist look!