I have known these Spanish-looking patterned tiles ever since I was young because my grand aunt used to have them in her house where I was a constant dweller. I really didn’t have much appreciation for old-fashioned materials until I became interested in decorating. So when my client showed me a photo of a kitchen with colorful patterned backsplash, I told her that it was Machuca tiles that she wanted. I was hesitant at first, but immediately searched online, found their website and inquired about the tiles. It turned out that these tiles are made-to-order and I need at least 100 pcs to get a good price. (I only needed about 84 pcs but I planned to frame the others for the bathroom.) The price was waaaay beyond our budget but the client really wanted to push for it and so I ordered. Unfortunately, it will take 21 working days to fabricate the tiles or 14 days for rush job. We’re already done with our first week in construction and even if I had them rushed, we would be almost done with the construction. I asked another company but the best they could do was 10 days.
We were ready to find another alternative when she learned somewhere online that Machuca Tiles sells overrun/rejected pieces for P60 each (almost 75% off the design she wanted). Pretty good deal, right? The catch? You have to go through this lot to find the ones you can use. Good thing I had my anti-histamine the night before. Hehe!Since I was already in their factory, I decided to just take a mini educational field trip for myself and for everyone interested in how these tiles are made. I found out that Machuca is actually the surname of the owner who pioneered in making these tiles here in the Philippines. The correct term is baldoza tiles.
These hand-made tiles are made from compressed cement that is about 3/4″ thick. There are steel plates and molds to begin with as seen the pictures below.First, special pigments are poured into the steel mold followed by the cement.The tile is then pressed by the huge rotating machine and the tiles are left to cure for 9-15 days.For more information, you can visit Machuca Tiles FAQ page.
What I love about these tiles is that the colors don’t fade easily since they pigment is about a quarter of an inch thick. The can be polished like regular cement flooring too using wax and your good old polisher.
Here are some ideas where you can use assorted Machuca tiles in your home.
What do you think? Are patterned tiles old fashioned or modern quirky?
For more ideas, you can visit my Pinterest board.