what are encaustic tiles?


Encaustic tiles – are tiles in which the pattern or figure on the surface is not a product of glaze but of different colors of pigment. They are usually of two colors however a tile may be composed of as many as six. The pattern appears inlaid into the body of the tile, so that the design remains as the tile is worn down.

History – Originally called inlaid tiles during the medieval period, the Victorian era renamed them “encaustic”. Supposedly, Victorians thought that the two colour tiles strongly resembled enamel work and so called them encaustic. Despite the error, the term has now been in common use for so long that it is an accepted name for inlaid tile work. Encaustic, cement or inlaid tiles enjoyed two periods of great popularity. The first came in the thirteenth century and lasted until Henry the Eight’s reformation in the sixteenth century. The second came when the tiles caught the attention of craftsmen during the Gothic revival era, who after much trial and error mass-produced these tiles, and made them available to the general public.

During both periods tiles were made across Western Europe though the center of tile production was in England. Companies in the United States also made encaustic tile during the style’s period.In both medieval times and in the nineteenth and twentieth century, tiles were most often made for and laid in churches. Even tiles that were laid in private homes were often copies of those found in religious settings. Encaustic tile floors exist all over Europe and North America but are most prevalent in England where the greatest numbers of inlaid tiles were made.

Why use and encaustic tile today?

Going Green!!!Encaustic Cement Tiles are a Green and Environmentally Friendly product. They are created using basic earth components and are handmade, not fired in a kiln, therefore giving off no fumes or harmful fossil fuels in the production. The tiles are entirely handmade and natural. It consists of marble powder, natural stone granules,cement, sand and natural colour pigments, no harsh chemicals are used that affect the environment. The amount of energy used in the manufacturing process is very low with the exception of human ‘elbow grease’. No heat, fuel or clay is used resulting in agricultural land and the environment being spared.

WHY ARE OUR CEMENT TILES SO SPECIAL!!!   …..Popham is a modern take on tradition producing for our clients customised one off tiles for their project.

  • Popham encaustic cement tiles are the most indestructible, decorative and beautiful floor and wall tile on the market, suitable for both commercial and residential application
  • The tiles are handmade in an artisan workshop in Morocco.
  •  Endless designs and possibilities means its time to get creating.
  • Every tile is lovingly and painstakingly hand made by SKILLED ARTISANS (from 2 to 4 minutes per tile).
  •  Ninety percent of the materials that make up Pop ham tiles are SOURCED LOCALLY tiles are air dried and cured.
  • Popham use RECLAIMED water (the water from the water baths where the tiles cure is reused in the cement mixture to make the tiles); greywater is also used for toilet flushing in the factory.
  • Rainwater is collected and a water filtration system is used to remove the salts and calcium that can mar the tiles.
  • The tiles contain no lead or other harmful toxins.
  • The tiles are suited to commercial and residential applications, walls and floors. They PERFORM very well partnered with radiant heat.


How they are made 

please follow link to pophams artisan workshop video

Check out “popham design” from popham design on Vimeo.

The video is available for your viewing pleasure at https://vimeo.com/60914590





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