Kitchen and bathroom designs benefit from advancing trends in high-tech tile. Technology provides dozens of new ways to add tile to your Madison WI home. Believe it or not, one of the hottest trends includes inkjet printing brilliant colors and intricate designs directly on tiles. The sophisticated technology makes it possible to reproduce natural looks and the textures of fabric on tile.
Inkjet printers have the ability to apply more than vibrant colors. With multiple printing heads they are capable of applying lusters, metallic and glazes. Printers have extended the palette of wood-look tile planks to match even more real wood alternatives. Wood looks from highly polished flooring to roughhewn boards. In addition to floor tiles, new textures, patterns and the look of fabric open creativity avenues for walls and even countertops. Can you imagine a herringbone pattern backsplash that looks like real wool?
Inkjet printers go beyond color and pattern. Using custom-created inks they are able to create raised or sunken textures. They have the ability to apply custom glazing and metallic surfaces as well. Advances in technology provide truly custom creations for less. And professionals predict costs of tiles resulting from these technical applications will come down in price as the technique grows in popularity.
Developed in Italy and Spain, the high-tech applications are expanding as American designers grab hold of their value.
Additional High-tech Tile Options
While inkjet printing is trending, there are other ways to print on tile. “Old school” silk screen and rotocolor systems are still used.
- Silk screen printing – used on fabrics for centuries, silk screen techniques are still popular for curtains, carpets and clothing. Since the 1960s it has been the most common way to recreate high volumes of tile imitating marble. It is of lesser value on modern creations.
- Rotocolor – since the 1990s the best way to create highly technical designs on tiles. Colors roll onto the surface like paint or ink on a traditional printing press.
The biggest complaints for both methods are that they cannot print all the way to the edge of individual tiles and have a limited choice of colors.
Today, in Italy where tile trends are born, more than 80% of its annual tile production features digital printing.
Advances In Tile Itself
There’s more to the advances in tile technology than colors and textures. Among the fastest growing developments is the use of thin porcelain tiles (TPT). As the name suggests, these are versatile tiles that are much thinner than traditional versions. One of the first advantages of these unique creations is that they can be installed directly over and old floor. Not only does this feature make installation faster, it reduces waste and is environmentally friendly.
In addition, the thin tiles are created in larger sizes. The new machinery involved creates pieces up to 10-feet long and 5-feet wide. They also add textures to the surface. The large-formats work on walls and floors. Developers are even working on thin tiles that are applied directly onto the outside of cabinetry – a low-maintenance cladding for kitchens, bathrooms and anywhere water is present. Unlike real wood, the large format thin tiles are water-friendly.
A truly unique creation offers a soft glaze that acts like a chalkboard. You can write on it and erase it. Ideal for kids’ rooms and as a family message board?
Appreciate Style And Creativity
Wood-look tiles are being applied to floors and walls everywhere. Designers predict that trend will spread even more in the next few years. In addition, the new printing methods are providing for even more creative uses. More than ever, your imagination and lifestyle choices empower your design options. Floral prints and fabric looks are fueling new designs. Unique patterns like chevrons, paisley prints and damasks are available on many background materials. Fashion and the textile industry are influencing the tile industry.
Nationally the trend in using salvaged materials and weathered, rustic pieces has found its way into tile. Modern tiles mimicking burnished metals, oxidized stone and popular woods add ambiance. Natural stone and wood-look planks remain the No. 1 choices. Tiles that represent the look of old-style bricks are gaining popularity for wall treatments because they will wrap around corners for a stunning affect.
Your Source For High-tech Tile
When it’s time to express your creativity and explore the latest advances in tile, consult the professionals at Molony Tile. If you don’t see what you want, we can get it. Our specialists keep up with the trends and understand the pros and cons of all the many tile options.
Molony Tile is the areas prime source for unique, durable and elegant tile solutions. Call or email Molony Tile, 608-268-8453 to explore the advances in high-tech tile options for your Madison WI home.