Faq Concrete

As an ARTO dealer, design professional, installer and project owner, if you know what to expect from ARTO products, before delivery, installation and use there will be no issues.

There is a saying about the number of words a picture makes and we will use that premise to get across the majority of what we at ARTO think is a beautiful finished installation.

SELECTION (Which one do I want?)

Is ARTO right for you?

Maybe, maybe not, ARTO handcrafts rustic products that are distinguished by their color variation and irregularity and made with natural ingredients that can vary over time. Even after sealing (please see below) the tiles will still have some porosity and will change over time as they absorb the environment around them. Of course, our customers, and we love the way the tiles age and patina over time but it is not for everyone. If you are looking for a product that is perfectly consistent/uniform or will not change over time ARTO does not make these products. We strive to make all our customers happy but realize that realistic expectations are key to appreciating our unique, rustic products. If any of the above makes you uncomfortable you are definitely better off ordering a machine made, impervious material like porcelain.

What style is right for me?

While all ARTO tiles are made from the same durable concrete mix sizes, surfaces, edging, and appearance may vary from one style to the next. Our most popular style Artillo can be thought of as ARTO’s take on the classic Saltillo tile (except available in a wide range of colors and textures). Artillo tiles are deliberately rustic and are thus:

  1. Are not all square, not all flat, not all the same thickness
  2. May have scratches, little holes, other rustic accents on the surface
  3. Dimensions (and thus grout joints) may vary from one size to another.
  4. Patterns will have larger and possibly irregular grout joints depending on sizes

**Keep in mind these characteristics are not defects – they are what make your floor beautiful**

Although still handmade and rustic Roman Tiles are more consistent and feature:

  1. Uniform sizing from one size to the next
  2. Flat surfaces, crisp edges, and sharp corners.
  3. Smaller and more consistent grout joints (best for patterns with multiple sizes)
ORDERING (How do I get it?)

Why is there size and color variation?

ARTO makes tiles the old fashioned way and there will always be variation in product color, thickness and overall dimensions from piece to piece. Surface imperfections are characteristic of Artillo tile. Variation is what we do and it is what makes your project ageless & timeless.

How long does it take after I place my order to receive material?

ARTO produces most of it products to order so there is usually a lead time. We find this is the most efficient way to manufacture as it helps us to minimize waste and to keep prices low for our customers. If you need materials sooner for a rush order or job completion, your local distributor can call and ask for a lead time specific to you. Although we keep a limited quantity of our most popular products on hand we operate on a first come first served policy without discrimination. When your order is placed check with the distributor and ask them what is the estimated time of completion date given by ARTO. Every order has one but keep in mind it is an estimate and we make a natural product that has some mystery involved (also we do not pad these estimates; they are our best guess when the material should be ready).

How and when can I pick up material?

Usually your distributor picks up the order at the factory or shipping can be arranged using a third party carrier. Keep in mind the order is not ready for pickup until ARTO sends a confirmation fax to the distributor. This confirmation will also include exact weight and pallet counts so the distributor can send the right sized truck or arrange shipping. Customer will call is available as long as the distributor provides ARTO with a simple release form.

Can I order in any color?

All ARTO styles, shapes and sizes are available in any of our colors and add on textures.

It’s easy – simply pick a shape, pick a color and add one of our unique surface textures if you choose. We sometimes describe our factory like a bakery or cake shop, we can make the cakes in any shape and size – you pick the flavor and topping.

How do you determine coverage, am I paying for grout?

Artillo tile coverage is based on installation with ½” grout lines for an authentically rustic look and to compensate for variation in tile sizes. Some folks complain we are charging for grout but calculating coverage without grout joints may lead you to purchase more material than you really need.

If you choose to use a smaller grout joint you will need to order extra pieces and multiple size patterns should be laid out to ensure they still work with the new grout sizing.

Grout joints should always be included because substrates are in motion even when installations include required membranes, movement joints, and other techniques to compensate for this movement. Tiles installed with no grout joints by butting the tiles up against each other can result in chipping, buckling, cracking and debonding.

Should I order extra?

You may have read 10-15% overage is an industry standard when ordering tiles.

At ARTO we pack every job as though our lives depend on it and in fact our lives do depend on it. We want to ensure you will enjoy your tiling experience and our goal is that when you order 100 pieces you receive 100 intact pieces upon delivery.

We package every job the same as if the tile is going around the corner or around the globe. We get very few calls on damage and if we do….we do what ever it takes to get the job done!

If you are using one of our more intricate patterns or you are creating one on your own you should probably order extra due to the fact you will have many more cut tiles on the project. It is also a good idea to keep extra material in storage – individual tiles may be damaged over time or occasionally it may be necessary to remove material to access utilities or sewer lines.

Job completions or small add on orders are costly and time consuming and can often be avoided by ordering extra material. Tile is often the last thing on a job to be completed so any delays at this point could be costly – not to mention the color of your add on order may vary significantly compared to your first batch (it is a good idea to provide a color control sample if possible).

How do I order a sample or place an order for a project?

ARTO makes samples at practically no charge. After narrowing down your selection visit your nearest distributor or contact info@artobrick.com to request your sample. Remember color variation is inherent in what we do and the actual product may differ from the sample. Multiple samples can be ordered to give a sense of color range.

When you are ready to place an order you can also provide an approved color control sample to the factory. The factory will use your approved control sample as a guideline but please remember there will always be color variation.

INSTALLATION (What do I do with it?)

How can I ensure a proper blend?

To achieve optimal results, tile should be selected from multiple cartons and shading arrangement planned and laid out prior to installation. One of the characteristics of our handcrafted tiles is strong random shading and that is what enhances its natural beauty. If you need to order more material to complete your installation please do not use all the tiles on hand. Instead wait for additional material to arrive and blend new and old materials to ensure a smooth blend. ARTO recommends blending from all boxes and pallets whenever possible.

Can I store ARTO concrete products?

Short and long term storage can change the face of our products whether stored indoors or outdoors, covered or uncovered. Many top designers love to order the tiles for their projects well in advance because they really enjoy the extra patina the long term storage can develop. For other projects where a clean contemporary look is desired long term storage is not advised and will eventually distress and patina the face of a tile.

Can I put ARTO indoor or outdoors?

Yes ARTO products can be used indoors and outdoors in the valleys or on the mountains and wherever freedom rings and the pursuit of happiness roars. That means commercial driveways, grandma’s back splash or your wine cellar. ARTO is freeze thaw tested but deicing minerals can still damage the surface of the concrete tile. In freeze thaw climates it is especially important to seal well (water should bead on the surface) using a high quality penetrating sealer.

Is the tile sealed or do I have to seal it?

ARTO tiles are usually sold unsealed but can be pre-sealed for an additional charge. Ordering pre sealed tile can cut labor costs and help ensure your tile is protected during the installation process (you will still need to seal the grout). However, most tiles are shipped unsealed because the type of sealer will vary based on the specific installation requirements.

ARTO installation guidelines recommend that tiles be presealed prior to installation to avoid staining the porous tile with water from the setting material, grout water, and greasy fingers.

In the past we never mentioned presealing tiles because people used to take their time, use clean water, and keep the jobsite tidy and free of debris. We now recommend presealing to protect your investment from the hazards of sloppy and unsupervised work conditions – even if your installer is careful, other trades working on your jobsite can still damage tiles.

What do I need to do before the tile is installed?

Tile must be installed over an appropriate, properly prepared substrate. Concrete slabs should be clean and free of contaminants.. Wood substrates should be engineered or verified to be able to handle the weight of the entire tile installation (including setting materials); otherwise cracking can occur due to excessive deflection of the subfloor.

All installations should include movement joints to compensate for the stresses (settling, thermal expansion, deflection) inherent in and normal to every installation. Movement joints act as a safety valve so these forces can be released gradually and in a controlled manner rather than transmitting through and potentially cracking the tiles.

MAINTENANCE (What's going to happen to it?)

Do your colors fade?

The color can't fade, but the concrete can. The color used in every Arto concrete product is pure inorganic pigment which is made in a process of oxidizing metal, in essence, "fading" metal into a pigment powder. The resulting powder pigment concentrate is impossible to fade. That's why it's the same active ingredient in another permanent coloring application: tattoos. Concrete, on the other hand does change with time and weather exposure. Even uncolored concrete which turns yellow, erodes and darkens as it accumulates dirt, dust and grime from the environment. Left unprotected or weakened by a poor mix design or finishing job, the surface of concrete "dusts" and erodes slowly until fine aggregate and sand particles are exposed. This same process occurs in colored concrete.

Do not use high-pressure washers as these can change your product drastically without extreme care. This is especially true prior to sealing when the surface of the tiles is more vulnerable to abrasion. Mechanical abrasion using sandpaper, power sanders, or rough bristled brushes should also be avoided.

It is also important to understand that although your properly sealed concrete tile has minimal porosity is still porous. Being porous means it will absorb the environment around it and will develop a unique patina reflecting those conditions. Thus interior applications may look as good as new for many years while the look of outdoor installations may change dramatically and quickly.

But concrete does change with time and weather exposure. Even uncolored concrete turns yellow, erodes and darkens as it accumulates dirt, dust and grime from the environment. Left unprotected the surface of concrete “dusts” and erodes slowly until fine aggregate and sand particles are exposed. This same process occurs in colored concrete and can cause fading when water intrusion causes the pigment to leach out of the damaged concrete matrix.

The solution is to buy concrete from a supplier like ARTO who creates tiles designed for durability and use an installer with experience in finishing concrete tile. Then keep ARTO tile fresh looking by protecting it with periodic applications of a high quality sealer designed for tile and natural stone (avoid cheap and all-purpose sealers typically sold at big box home improvement stores).

What causes cracks to appear?

There are rare occasions when an individual tile is fractured when it is stepped on or something impacts it. This can occur when tiles are not fully backbuttered with mortar or not well seated in the setting bed. In these cases, replacing the damaged tile repairs the crack.If the crack continues from one tile to another and across the grout joints then the problem lies in the substrate (usually due to subfloor movement or cracks in the slab).

The damaged tiles would need to be removed and a crack isolation membrane and tile reinstalled.If cracking is seen only in the grout and runs parallel with the tiles this indicates grout shrinkage due to mixing with excessive water. The grout can be removed and replaced but matching the color of new and old grout can be tricky and will require trial and error.

Is the tile slippery?

It depends on the types of shoes you are wearing…… but seriously some of our tiles are more slippery than others. Our standard finish Artillo and Roman tiles are often specified for hospitality and other commercial floor applications and meet all ADA requirements. But yes, friend to friend, if there is enough water on the surface anything can be slippery For a bathroom or pool deck good traction means good times so we suggest ordering smaller sizes or applying one of our add-on textures like Limestone or Luna texture to increase grip. There are also floor treatments from sealer manufacturers that can increase traction but these may require regular maintenance

Does your tile scratch? Does your furniture itch?

Yes it can scratch if subjected to heavy, sharp objects dragged across the surface. Furniture should have chair glides or felt pads and simply lifting the furniture rather than dragging it over the floor will help. Pets can scratch the floor too so consider rugs and trimming the dog’s nails.

Sealing can help minimize scratching (depending on the product and the quality of the application) but keep in mind that the scratches may occur on the sealed surface itself when a topical sealer is used.

Concrete is a durable material yet the unprotected surface is soft and can be scratched, No material is scratch proof but with a little care and a proper job completion scratching will be kept to a minimum. You have to remember your new ARTO tiles may even come with scratches; these are designed into the product as part of its old world charm. As the tiles age scratches and other imperfections will actually accentuate the old world charm of these rustic tiles. We recommend that you protect and maintain your installation while enjoying the changes to your living tile floor.

Where can I get more installation, maintenance and sealing information?

Visit the Downloads page for:

  1. ARTO Installation Guide
  2. Sealing
  3. Efflorescence
  4. Cleaning & Maintenance