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Crackle Tiles

Crackle is a trending style in surface finishes for tiles, which takes an antique theme and gives it a whole new contemporary look. Craquelure, also called Crackle Glaze or Crazing, is a deliberately designed effect that makes the surface of the tile appear as if it had once been finished with a smooth glaze, but that this has cracked with extreme age.

With the latest techniques in high-definition digital printing, these surface characteristics of cracked glazing can be cleverly replicated. This means that the distinctive attributes of an antique handmade tile can be combined with the easy installation and functionality of modern materials.

Crackle glazed tiles are usually installed in a running or brick bond style, which can help to disguise any faulty or uneven surfaces. The crazing helps to collect any available light and diffract it into unique patterns, turning even the plainest of walls into an eye-catching design statement.

Crackle Tiles

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The rustic, crazed glazing and sometimes bevelled edges of crackle glazed tiles give a new depth of character to this old-fashioned style. Varying degrees of crazing are possible; vintage ranges tend to have a greater amount of craquelure as this conveys a more aged, less refined effect. If you are about to embark on renovating an older property, for instance, choosing a crackle glazed tile will contribute to the authenticity of its style, particularly if you keep to an old-fashioned palette of colours such as traditional cream, pale green, duck-egg blue or black. If you want to make things old-time stylish with a new-look twist however, you can try some of the more extensive colour ranges that are available with modern printing techniques.

Crackle tiles take home decorating to a whole new level, with many collections offering an exciting spectrum of shades which will give your home a real lift. Ocean effects can be enhanced in bath and shower rooms; try crackle tiles in the pale green of sea spray, the dark blue of a Pacific seascape, or even a darker, greyish green suggestive of northern waters.

A peaceful environment can be created using beautiful neutral tones such as olive green, ivory, cream, beige and taupe, which contrast well with dark stone shades such as cement or basalt. Alternatively, a stark white can be offset with a severe black.

Even more striking are the bold primary colours you might choose for a more modernist style of decor, in pillar box red, peacock blue or a rich, buttercup yellow. With high definition digital printing, the world is your oyster, and whatever colour scheme you hit upon, you are sure to be able to find a tile to suit you.

Crackle glaze tiles generally come in small sizes and subway-style designs, and are therefore best for use on walls, but in other ways they're surprisingly versatile. They are easy to maintain and clean, and make an ideal choice for rooms with high moisture levels such as bathrooms, kitchens and children's play areas, but they do need to be properly sealed in such environments.

All crackle tiles have a gloss finish, as this is part of the glazing process. They do not usually have any additional patterns, as the unique crazing diffracts light and creates its own patterning effects. As with any other tiles, however, contemporary design is all about mixing it up. You can create unique and colourful designs by contrasting different shades and styles of tile.

Imbuing a standard plain tile with such surface characteristics as crazing offers an opportunity to upgrade the appeal of the traditional metro-type ceramic tile, contributing a new on-trend approach to a vintage and retro style revival.