But they are not really Moroccan, maybe not even tiles. At least they are not kiln fired, or made from clay, but from cement, and cured by water and air only –just like ordinary cement. The top layer of the mixture is color tinted. So, instead of a thin coat of paint or print, the color is integral to the tile and goes approx 5mm deep.
They appeared in the late 19th century in the south of France. Some say the first tiles were made near the country's first Portland cement plant. They spread fast to Latin America and in Europe. Around the turn of the 20th century they became very popular in the United States, and were considered high-end floor covering, used in thousands of landmark public buildings and palaces. Through the 1930s and 40s they were common in California and Florida. In the 60s they disappeared. But now they are making
Where do you use them?
Indoors, outdoors, cafés, bedrooms, in public areas, in private bathrooms, abbsolutely anywhere.
They can be installed on cement or wood subflooring. The thickness of the mortar depends on the eveness of the subfloor. Leave a very tight grout joint and use non-sanded grout. The visual effect should be more like a carpet. Clean with pH-neutral soap and water. Skip the sealing. It makes them slippery and they don’t age as beautiful.
Where do I get them?
They are still in production. Search the net. Try some of the names above. Sometimes you can also get a hold of old used ones. Scann places who sell used building mataerials. If they only have few of each you could be in luck, because the seller might not understand how beautiful a patchwork can be. (Victoria did, but she gave us a great price anyhow.)