How to Identify Antique Tiles

Antique tiles are all the rage today. Where that is an excellent thing for those who sell reclaimed antique tiles, it can also be a negative. The increased popularity of antique tiles today has led to many imitation tile companies marketing their newly manufactured tiles as authentic old styles. Those that invest considerable amounts of money into antique tiles for their home can find themselves with a very good imitation, but not authentic tiles. No one wants to contend with that problem, so here are some ways you can identify antique tiles.

Look at the Tile’s Paint Structure

One of the first thing you will likely notice about authentic antique tiles is that these pieces were not mass produced as they are now. Today, machines churn out thousands of tiles each hour producing the exact same design every time. Antique tiles were hand crafted due to the lack of machinery to handle the job. Therefore, every tile will not be exactly alike. Carefully examine different tiles and notice any slight differences like the size and design composition as a clear indicator as to the authenticity of your supposed antique tile. A genuine reclaimed tile will also have had many years sealing and wear so the colour variations and patina will have an aged worn hue and not vibrant colouration in the patterns.

Note Materials Used

It can sometimes take an expert to definitively prove that antique tiles are authentic simply by noting the materials used in its make. However, the average consumer does have an advantage over certain fake antique tile manufacturers. It pays to ask specific questions when purchasing your tiles. One key question is what are the tiles made of? Modern materials are comprised of various materials including, cork, glass, concrete, or other composite materials. Antique cement tiles differ from those modern-day materials as tile artisans were more limited as to what was easily available during that time period. True cement encaustic tiles are made with high grade marble dust, cement, sand and natural pigment dyes. This means there can be small tonal variations in colours (which adds to the beautiful depth and texture of the tile). The nature of a reclaimed tile is that every batch is lifted carefully from an old property (and then restored by hand, one by one) but there will be tiny chips and variation from aging through the batch. This variation is what makes them so beautiful and finish is something authentic that can never be recreated in new tiles. Once grouted the chips are filled which adds to the authentic feel. Authentic encaustic tiles were made with the design and colour continuing throughout the tile, not just a coloured design on the top layer.

Only Buy From Trusted Resources

Where it may be difficult to determine the validity of an antique tile simply by looking at it, you can go with a trusted resource. There are many different antique tile vendors today, but it’s always best to do some research; look at online reviews and access the overall reputation of the supplier. A reputable supplier will be able to back up their authenticity claims with positive reviews and an upfront reputation. If you find that someone is a little vague about answering questions or simply does not seem to know their product, they are probably not the resource for you.

Maitland & Poate

We take great pride in offering customers the finest antique encaustic tile designs, personally selected and sourced by ourselves from authentic old Cortijo’s and ancient homes in Andalusia, Southern Spain.

Our reclaimed antique tiles are unique in colours and designs and we take great care to provide customers with the ideal pattern and colour variation to suit just what project they have in mind. Each batch is different, and we know each batch inside out