Tile School: The Top Five Things You Should Know about Crackle Glaze Tiles

When it comes to dream-worthy decor, our little crackle glaze tiles punch way above their teeny weight. Pound-for-pound, you’ll struggle to find ceramics with more character – There’s just something about crazed glaze that makes us go, well.. a little crazy. As a wise man once said, ‘true perfection has to be imperfect’. We couldn’t agree more.

And it’s not just us, you’ll find our crackled tiles anywhere and everywhere. Alongside gorgeous kitchens and bathrooms all over the country we’ve supplied our tiles to the Palm Atlantis hotel in Dubai and even a Hollywood film set (but we can’t tell you which one, sadly!). If you’re thinking of using these delightful tiles in your home you might have a few questions which we’ll hopefully answer below. If there’s anything else you need to know, please just get in touch!

What are crackle glaze tiles?

In short, wall tiles with a crackled, or crazed, finish. It’s a highly desirable feature that makes these tiles unique – most certainly not a flaw!

If you’re lucky enough to live in a period home with original features then you may already be the proud owner of crackled tiles. Over time, the antique handmade tiles will have developed a gorgeous patina as hairline cracks advance across the surface.

Unfortunately, most of us haven’t got the time to hang around, waiting for our new tiles to start crazing. But luckily, with our crackled glaze wall tiles you don’t have to. These are deliberately crazed during the firing process to speed up the process (we won’t get into the science, but it’s all to do with the glaze and clay body expanding at different speeds, apparently). When you open a box of tiles you’ll hear a crackle and pop as new cracks develop!

Why choose crackled tiles?

Ever heard of ‘wabi-sabi’? It’s a Japanese concept that essentially describes finding beauty in imperfection. If this sounds up your street then no doubt you’ll love the aged patina and quiet elegance of crackled tiles.

We’ve got plenty of colours and sizes to choose from – classic tones such as Bottle Green naturally look great in Victorian properties, while the contemporary size and muted appeal of Padstow Dove is perfect for modern homes.

Do crackle glaze tiles need sealing?

Always! We can’t emphasise this enough – if you plan to use crackle tiles please, please, please make sure they’re sealed. This will penetrate the surface of the tile and create an impenetrable barrier to stop moisture, grout, dirt and dust causing issues down the line.

We advise sealing your tiles twice – once before grouting, and once after. Tiles that need to be cut will need to be sealed first, to protect them from moisture. We’d then recommend sealing after 12 months to keep your tiles looking their best – it’s quite likely that some new cracks may develop!

Where can you use crazed tiles?

Once sealed properly, crackled tiles can be fixed to almost any wall inside, including wet areas. In a shower space or busy bathroom, you may need to re-seal every 12 months to be on the safe side.

What grout colour can I use?

More often than not, we recommend sticking to white or lighter coloured grouts. Crackled tiles have an artisan, handmade appeal that you’ll want to make the star of the show.

That said, there’s no reason in theory why you can’t use a darker grout, but please proceed with caution. If tiles haven’t been fully sealed there’s a chance that dark grout pigments can get under the glaze and stain the tile. Done deliberately, this can be quite a striking look as it highlights the crazing effect. There’s actually some ranges which mimic this style, but unless that’s the look you’re after it’s best to play it safe.

Author: Frank

Frank is a pretty modest chap. Some say he was the first man in tiles, others say he invented porcelain. We just know that when it comes to all things technical, Frank's the man with all the answers.

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