Combining the proven technical performance of porcelain tiles, such as frost- and slip resistance with the aesthetic appeal of advanced digital decoration, these new tiles offer UK ceramic tile retailers and distributors an exciting new commercial opportunity, says TSJ’s Editor, Joe Simpson.
Floor tile ranges designed for external use have been one of the hot tickets at Cersaie for the past three years or so. These tiles have the thickness and mechanical strength to withstand heavy foot and wheeled traffic, and are also suitable for adhesive-free installation using one of the growing number of proprietary grid or pedestal systems on the market, or even for dry-laying onto a suitable aggregate surface. The dominant thickness for these predominantly porcelain tiles seems to be 20mm, but tiles up to 40mm are now being purposed-designed for challenging external locations. The majority of these new exterior tile ranges are characterised by a range of structured surfaces to meet slip-resistance targets. They also come with sound reducing mats, height-adjustable pedestals and other ancillary products to create a total system for exterior applications.
For UK tile retailers and distributors external tiles offer exciting new commercial opportunities. With the trend for seamless design between internal and external spaces in domestic dwellings, these 20mm products offer potential additional sales to customers seeking kitchen or conservatory tiles. With balcony systems from leading brands, such as Schluter Systems and Building Adhesives Limited, now available to sooth any technical concerns, these exterior tiles can be installed successfully on balconies, terraces and exterior spaces.
20mm tiles also open up new routes to market. Garden centres, which how draw much of their income from furniture, landscaping products and catering services, are an obvious potental market. They have the space to display these products to maximum advantage; while facilities, such as coffee shops and the retail showrooms, offer practical demonstration zones.
Certainly the ever growing range of available 20mm external tiling designs are more than a match for traditional hard landscaping alternatives, such as concrete pavers and natural stone slabs.
Equally strong commercial opportunities lie in the commercial and retail sectors, as UK cities increasingly embraces al fresco living, and in a design climate where external spaces are created with a level of attention to detail that had been, until quite recently, reserved for interior spaces.
Thanks to their versatility, ceramic wall and floor tiles meet the needs of homeowners wishing to transform their terraces, covered outdoor areas or gardens into a place to eat, play and socialise.
Depending on the size of this outdoor area, its layout should be planned by finding ways of dividing it into different sections or by coming up with ways of giving the same area a flexible use for different activities at different times of day.
Another benefit of ceramic wall and floor tiles is that they can be easily mixed and matched with other materials and decorative features, due to the wide variety of shapes, colours and patterns in which outdoor wall and floor tile collections come. Consequently, tiles can be found to fit in with any possible design trend.
One way of giving a home a more uniform look is to use the same floor covering on terraces and indoor floors. With ceramic tiles, a continuous floor surface indoors and out can be achieved by using the same tile design, creating an enhanced sense of space.
When it comes to designing a practical, hygienic, and safe flooring for swimming pool areas, porcelain tiles are the obvious solution. They are impervious and anti-allergenic, and hard wearing. Non-slip surfaces are readily available, without diminishing the boundless aesthetic possibilities of ceramic tiles.
Garden and poolside areas are some of the prettiest, most pleasant places to spend time in summer. The components of different tile collections can be mixed and matched in numerous ways, given their variety of designs, sizes and textures, to fit in with each individual home’s décor. Because tiles look good with other materials and blend in with the garden’s vegetation, a sense of harmony can be achieved between indoor and outdoor areas, sometimes generating a sensation of continuity and spaciousness.
Another quality of ceramic tiles is the fact that their colours remain unchanged, despite the passing of time. Ceramic tile collections for outdoor use are inspired by natural trends; with beige and grey porcelain tiles, terracotta tiles, and pale-coloured stone-effect tiles, combining visual appeal with functionality and bringing beauty to summertime.
The wood look porcelain tile surfaces of Etic Pro evoke a selection of prestigious and original timbers yet have a sharp and modern character.
The tile surface is characterised by the depth of graphics that reproduce, with surprising realism and authenticity, the details of original wooden floor boards. Etic Pro is perfect for indoor and outdoor commercial and residential spaces that merge contemporary design with effortless simplicity.
The collection blends the vitality of wood with the advantages of porcelain tiles in terms of strength, durability, maintenance and durability.
Etic Pro has an elegant and natural matt finish, and is available in three sizes: 250 by 1,500, 225 by 900 and 150 by 900mm.
The range also includes a high gloss and reflective honed surface inspired by lacquered and painted wood, exclusively in the 225 by 900mm format.
The 20mm thick Etic Pro porcelain tiles combine the characteristics of wood with a surface that is frost-proof, anti-slip, resistant to weather, wear and footfall. The grip finish is ideal for interiors that require top technical performance, as well as for external applications, offering continuity between inside and outside.
The colour options are Rovere Venice, Noce Hickory, Quercia Antique and Eucalipto Smoked.
The Caucaso range from Grespania was not inspired by a particular type of stone or cement, but rather by reproducing the effect of time on a surface, from the marks left by exposure to the elements through to the effects caused by wear and tear.
The field tile comes in 300 by 600, 450 by 900 and 600 by 600mm formats and is suitable for use as a floor for an entire dwelling, both inside and out. It is complemented by Elbrus, an original piece of decoration that combines different designs of hydraulic and traced flooring. The Caucaso range includes a 603 by 603mm format, 20mm thick, that has a greater tensile strength than traditional porcelain, making it ideal for high traffic areas and outdoor areas subject to extreme climate.
Lastra 20mm combines the advantages of porcelain stoneware with those of high thickness ceramics and represents a versatile solution in terms of installation techniques and destinations of use.
Atlas Concorde’s 20mm thick products can be installed in the dry-system onto grass, gravel or sand, with raised installation or adhesive installation, and represent the perfect and eco-friendly solution for outdoor flooring of private and public spaces.
Lastra 20mm has a textured R11 A+B+C finish and is available in 600 by 600 and 450 by 900mm formats in various different Atlas Concorde ranges that are inspired by natural materials such as stone, wood, marble and cement.
Lastra 20mm also offers a broad range of trims for pools and urban design, such as swimming-pool edges, L-shaped curbs, steps and parapets.
The range comes as technical porcelain stoneware, rectified, in the Mark, Seastone and Trust options; and rectified through-body coloured porcelain in the Marvel Pro, Axi and Sunrock options.
The colour choices, by design, are Marvel Pro (Statuario Select, Grey Fleury, Cremo Delicato); Axi (White Pine, Grey Timber, Golden Oak, Brown Chestnut); Mark (Gypsum, Pearl, Chrome); Sunrock (Rapolano Beige, Bourgogne Sand, Jerusalem Ivory); Seastone (Grey, Greige); and Trust (Gold, Silver, Titanium).
Suitable for exterior residential applications such as porches, terraces, balconies and paths; Stoneway also suits urban pedestrian areas and commercial spaces, both outdoor and indoor, such as spas, pools, shops, lounges, bars and restaurants.
It comes in three formats: through-body porcelain in 300 by 600mm, and glazed porcelain in 300 by 300, 150 by 300 and 150 by 150mm; and exterior XT20 through-body porcelain.
The 300 by 600mm and 300 by 300mm tiles are 10mm thick, 150 by 300 and 150 by 150mm are 9mm thick, and the XT20 is 20mm thick.
There are six colour options: Beige, Rust, Anthracite, Ivory, Grey and Black.
Skirting tiles, 70 by 600mm, and L-Shaped elements, 150 by 304mm and 150 by 600 by 40mm, are available in all colours.
Plein Air is a durable and functional porcelain range designed for the outdoors. Available in four colours, it comes in two thicknesses: the traditional 14mm and the new 20mm. The range’s technical performance guarantees a life without breakage. The exceptional tensile strength makes it suitable for vehicles, if adhesive-fixed to a screed. It is also non-slip, resistant to frost and temperature changes, mildew, stains and the action of corrosive salts. Plein Air is available in Gris, Beige, Porphyre and Anthracite, in 600 by 600 and 900 by 900mm in 14mm; and 600 by 600mm in 20mm.
The Æxtra 20 product range, ideal for outdoor application, now includes a 30mm thick version.
Suitable for gardens, steps, paths, balconies and swimming-pools, Æxtra 30 products have an anti-slip surface finish and, in terms of size, weight, thickness and ease of installation, are in line with other materials.
Unlike stone, cement and wood, the porcelain ceramic tiles of the Æxtra 30 system can offer excellent performance in terms of resistance to loads, stability of the floor surface, absorption, durability over time and easy maintenance. At the same time they provide the much sought-after aesthetics and design that is typical of high end ceramic tiles.
The Æxtra 30 range includes two sizes and two edge options. It is available in four colours that include products with a natural stone look and others with a minimalist appeal, so that the range can meet different aesthetic needs for outdoor projects.
There are three ranges: e.motions, Roxstones and Graustein: all 30mm thick. The choice of formats is 600 by 600mm (available in Urban Grey and Graustein colours with rectified edges); 400 by 600mm (available in Silver Grey, Golden Stone and Graustein colours with non-rectified edges). The colour options are e.motions Urban Grey Roxstones Golden Stone, Roxstones Silver Grey and Graustein.
Syncro is the new collection in fine porcelain stoneware inspired by modern surfaces, in particular the spreading technique using a spatula in one single direction on resins and cements. The colours selected for Syncro are neutral but deep, rich in shades that emerge gently on the floor, and allow interesting design combinations of the four available formats.
A Decoro tile in the 300 by 300mm format with a soft surface, which includes different shades of the Syncro colour range, expresses fully the design potential of the collection.
The 20mm thick Syncro Two, in a 500 by 1,000mm format with grip finish, is the ideal solution for outdoor installations.
Uptown and Syncro
Uptown is a new Century range of floor tiles featuring the intense shades and colours of natural stone, crossed with delicate veins to give depth and dynamism.
Uptown comes in a wide range of formats, including modular ones, to enable numerous laying solutions to be created. The formats in the range, available in a natural or honed finish, accompany the 20mm thick, 500 by 1,000mm format tiles, with a grip finish, that have been developed specifically for outdoor use.
There are six colour options: Morningside, Hamilton, Washington, Sugar Hill, Hudson and Manhattan.
Special pieces for the 20mm thick tiles include a large step with bullnose and a corner large step with bullnose.
Century’s Syncro comes in five colour options: Syncro White, Syncro Grey, Syncro Olive, Syncro Dark and Syncro Natural.
Available formats in the Syncro range are 600 by 12,00, 800 by 800, 600 by 600 and 300 by 600mm in a soft finish with a rectified edge, natural finish with a rectified edge or lapped finish with a rectified edge; as well as 20mm thick 500 by 1,000mm grip finish tiles, rectified and natural edged, in Syncro Dark, Syncro Grey and Syncro Natural colours.
Dolomite and Eclipse
Dolomite is the new collection of fine porcelain stoneware flooring with a strong personality. The intense and bright colours, crossed by thin veins and warmer tone shades recall quartzite; the family of natural stones that provided the inspiration for the collection.
The Dolomite tiles have a natural surface characterised by a slight texture that is emphasised by colour contrasts in the brighter colours, but that is more subdued in the fascinating dark colours.
Dolomite comes in a wide variety of formats ranging from the largest 600 by 1,200mm to the smallest 150 by 150mm. The 500 by 1,000mm Dolomite Major, 20mm thick, has a grip surface, and is ideal for outdoor spaces. Dolomite Major can be used for dry laying on gravel, sand and grass, for the traditional laying on screed or for the raised laying on supports.
The available colour options are Grey, Moon, Dust, Sunset, Dark and White.
Monocibec’s Eclipse porcelain range reclaims the tradition of terracotta flooring, and, through select elements evocative of concrete surfaces, re-launches it in a contemporary style.
The Eclipse colour range expresses natural tones with alluring variations that bring the ceramic material to life for a great host of architectural spaces. The subtle materiality of Eclipse is highlighted by the edges of its individual pieces, which, though perfectly regular, create the sensation of handmade and long-lived flooring.
Moov, Point and Sight
Ceramiche Keope’s Moov offers the perfect expression of industrial style. It interprets the poetics of an industrial material, such as concrete, characterised by an irregular texture. It is ideal for both interior and exterior residential and commercial areas; and is offered in ten sizes and two surface finishes. The colour palette ranges from light colours, such as Moov Ivory and Beige, through to intense and bold tones, such as Moov Anthracite, Grey and Moka.
The collection is available rectified and with a natural finish in all colours: Ivory, Beige, Anthracite, Grey and Moka. The formats are 600 by 1,200, 300 by 1,200, 200 by 1,200, 300 by 600, 600 by 600, 147 by 600, 97 by 600, 64 by 600, 31 by 600 and 450 by 450mm.
In the structured version, Moov is available in Beige, Grey and Moka in 300 by 600mm (9.5mm thick) and 600 by 600mm (20mm thick).
Point by Ceramiche Keope is a new collection of porcelain stoneware floors inspired by quartzite. Point is characterised by rich, intricate patterns of colour and veins to create surprising and appealing surfaces based on grey and sandy tones.
The Point range, with its structured finish, is offered in four tones that enhance the typical appearance of stone: Silver, a light grey, delicate tone; Sand, which recalls the subtle colour of sand; Multicolor Grey and Beige, which feature different shades and have a strong visual impact, thanks to the bold differences in tone of the surfaces.
Point is offered in four modular sizes: 300 by 600, 300 by 300, 150 by 300 and 150 by 150mm. The collection is also available in the Point K2 version: these are 20mm thick slabs that are suitable for raised installation with supports, or dry installation on sand, gravel or grass. The range is also suitable for conventional installation with adhesive.
Frost-proof, non-slip and easy to clean, Point K2 is available in 600 by 600 and 450 by 900mm formats. The collection also includes trim pieces and accessories designed to fulfil any requirement. The system guarantees an excellent performance: high resistance to breaking loads, abrupt temperature changes, salt; resistant to mould, moss and verdigris treatments, which are essential requirements for exterior floors.
Sight by Ceramiche Keope reproduces in a very accurate manner the finish of four natural stones. The range offers rich details and elegant design in two finishes: 10mm thick for interiors and 20mm thick version for exteriors. The perfect solution for those searching for a lively interpretation of stone, this range offers great freedom of design.
Sight is offered in three different rectified sizes, 590 by 590 and 295 by 590mm with a lapped finish, and 600 by 600mm in the Sight K2 Structured version. There are four contemporary colours: Silver, Beige, Grey and Anthracite. The collection is completed by borders, decors and mosaics in all colours of the collection. .
Tagina’s Apogeo range of glazed porcelain tiles comes in three styles: Contemporary, Antique Charm and Stone Effect; the latter rendering the beauty of nature.
Apogeo is intended to provide total flooring continuity between indoor and outdoor, expanding the living spaces and giving a unique space effect.
Inspired by the tough and durable slabs of cement in ports that are exposed to inclement weather and the salty sea water, Grespania’s Dock range takes this concept and translates it into a collection of porcelain in a 600 by 600mm format with a thickness of 20mm. This gives the Dock series a tensile strength greater than that of traditional porcelain, making it especially suitable for high transit and outdoor areas.
Its thickness and mechanical properties make this material an ideal solution for paving high traffic areas, using traditional installation techniques.
Extreme is an ideal solution for outdoor paving designed for both public and private use. Extreme presents a collection of 20mm thick porcelain tiles suitable for raised paving, driveways with traditional installation on screed and dry installation on gravel, sand or grass. Extreme is a versatile system which is easy to install, easy to inspect, and easy to reposition in the event of changes to the installation or modifications to the substrate. Extreme has dimensions and a mass such as to guarantee the mechanical resistance and longevity demanded by the diverse requirements of outdoor paving.
Extreme is Ecolabel certified and guarantees low environmental impact throughout its entire life span, in full respect of the environment and of the wellbeing of people.
Out 2.0 is a 20mm thick porcelain stoneware tile collection suitable for outdoor floors with traditional and raised installation. The 20mm thick tiles guarantee a high resistance to loads and stresses and is perfect for residential and commercial outdoor flooring.
Perfect for gardens, swimming pools and outdoor areas, Out 2.0 is resistant to frost, chemicals and harsh weather conditions, it is the ideal choice for residential or commercial applications out of doors.
The exceptional technical features of Out 2.0 are not affected by the passing of time and it can be fitted as a raised flooring with supports; directly on top of gravel or soil or using a tradition solution with adhesive
Sistem N 20
Sistem N20 by Marazzi Tecnica is an outdoor flooring tile available in 600 by 600mm in five neutral tones. The thickness of 20mm, and the anti-slip surface, make it a high performance product suitable for external paving or high stress floors such as gardens, terraces and gazebos.
The colour options include Grigio Chiaro, Grigio Medio, Grigio Scuro, Sabbia and Tortora.
Thick 20 is an Imola Ceramica range designed to meet outdoor design requirements. A 20mm thick high-performance engineered porcelain stoneware, Thick 20 is both easy to lay and provides excellent performance.
The range is suitable for all private and public outdoor areas (gardens, terraces, paths, pool sides, driveways).
Thick 20 is a full body porcelain stoneware tile. It comes both unrectified and rectified in 600 by 600mm in almond, beige, grey and dark grey.
London Tile Co
Valverdi Indoor-Out is a co-ordinating range of indoor and outdoor porcelain tiles. With a 20mm frost-proof outdoor porcelain and matching 10mm indoor porcelain, Valverdi Indoor-Out creates a seamless transition from inside through to the outdoor space. Available in a wide range of striking colours, Valverdi Indoor-Out tiles look stylish, are slip-resistant, and are completely colourfast, ensuring that your tiles will look stunning throughout their life.
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