With the versatility afforded by contemporary materials and manufacture, brick effect tiles can be found in many attractive styles – from the rough rustic red, or aged black by fire, to the polished metro-style finished tile now leading the field in interior design.
As well as mud, bricks could be made out of clay or sand based soils, concrete or lime-rich material, and mixed with straw or some other binding factor. The colour of natural brick depends on where it is made and which minerals were present in that substance. Red bricks tend to come from clay rich in iron oxides, white bricks from lime-heavy soil, grey bricks from concrete and yellow bricks from sand and silicate-based materials. Today, however, contemporary brick effects are being replicated in ceramic and porcelain tiles, so that any source or type of brick can be reproduced.
The finished colour of fired bricks is also influenced by the temperature at which they are fired, and the hotter the kiln, the darker the colour. While pink or red are the most common colour for average fired bricks, higher temperatures produce greater intensity of colour, from rich darker reds to purple, and eventually to brown or burnt black and grey. Bricks can also be glazed or given special ornamental finishes; all of these effects can easily be replicated in a brick effect tile.
The shape and definition of a real brick also depended on the manner and time of its manufacture. For many centuries bricks were all made by hand, and some irregularities of shape and size were an inevitable result. Early technologies then introduced basic moulds and means of cutting clay into more regular shapes. Some historical styles are easily recognisable, like Roman bricks, which were characteristically longer and thinner than modern ones. Once bricks began to be made by machine, all the irregularity was taken out of the process, and today's all purpose bricks are entirely uniform.
Brick effect tiles can be used for a streamlined, metro-style interior wall, with a glossy finish and contemporary colour schemes, or for a more earthy, peasant style of pitted surfaces and burnt colours which look equally good indoors or out. Collections such as the rustic, stripped down Muralla range are ideal for many design schemes, both interior and exterior, and can be used on floors as well as walls. Named after the Spanish word for an old wall, these hardwearing porcelain tiles are waterproof, frost-resistant, and have an authentic, aged appeal.
Brick effect tiles are totally on trend in contemporary design, and can be used in a wide variety of conditions. To enhance the effect even further, these tiles can be laid in a brick (or running bond) style to simulate a real brick wall, or in narrow layers like an old Roman building. They can also be laid in herringbone patterns, and intriguing designs can be made with different colour combinations – the opportunities for personalisation are endless!