There are acres of white, four-inch square tiles in every community; for years these ceramic tiles were the automatic go-to when tile was specified. How things have changed!

Through the intersection of technology, art and design, ceramic tile can model an infinite number of materials, both mineral and organic.

Manufacturers have refined the digital high-definition printing processes for capturing life-like, three-dimensional patterns on porcelain tile. Limestone, granite, marble, onyx and travertine are now available as porcelain tiles with all their advantages. You get the high aesthetics of stone with the performance of tile.

Art tiles produced by the craftspeople give your surfaces a highly personalized, artisanal look. Art tiles with unique finishing and hand sculpting will make your installation look like a masterpiece.

By using glass tile that is iridescent with a surface that is textured, even pool water can be closely matched. You won’t be able to see where the tile and water meet because glass tiles blur the transition. Here’s another tip, if the temperature of the water is dropped and a tile is used with a cushion edge that has a matte finish in shades of gray and white, it will look like cool ice that is frosty.

We’re seeing a consistent move toward patterns and textures, from interspersing colored tiles throughout an otherwise monochromatic field to using whole areas of solid, speckled and translucent surface colors. Varying shades combine with texture and dimension in designs that subtly differentiate and elevate your tile installation.

Tile manufacturers have developed convincing wood tiles. Herringbone, one of the most difficult to lay wood floor patterns because of all the cutting and angles, is a snap with wood-surface tile —the long, rectangular tiles readily accommodate the pattern. 

Metals have been taken up by tile designers and manufacturers. Shimmering Copper, Brilliant Bronze, Illuminated Titanium and Radiant Iron finishes are available in large format field tile as well as decorative accents.