Blog- The Written Word

The Islamic Art Collection

The Islamic art collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA.

Islamic art influences our home environment as much as every other part in our lives.

Great art that seemed to evoke some sort of meaning as the Islamic arts seem to portray is a wonderful and valuable addition to our lives.

When we talk about tiles that have come to us from this region the history is rich and the product awe inspiring. Few understand the rhythm and sequence of the Moorish styles that are as complex as age itself. Some say it was a study upon the starts and some say that it was complex art at it’s best. No matter what we can not deny that the depth and beauty that it can add to our own environment.

Custom tile making is the best way for you to explore your own style within this area of expertise. Work with experienced artisans that can help you realize your dream home.

Whether we talk about the extreme geometry used in the Moorish styles in Morocco to, name just one area,

Islamic Tile Art
Elements of Islamic Tile Art

Airwa_moorish tilemadia- moorish-tiles  Moorish Fountian - Morocco



Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile

ceramic concepts logo

Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain is made from ‘China
clay’ or refined clay and are fired at very high temperatures – therefore it is technically also ceramic. The properties of this clay give it translucence and hardness making porcelain tiles very strong and able to withstand environmental stress! Porcelain is a more refined and dense type of ceramic tile

There are several differences
between these two bases that we often use for our
hand-painted ceramic tiles.

The argument for porcelain:

    1.  Porcelain
tiles are much denser and as such have less shrinkage than quarry tiles. They
absorb less than  0.03%

    2.  Porcelain
tiles are more impermeable to water, acids
and dirt, and are suitable for busy areas as it is easy to clean.

     3.  Porcelain tiles are not sensitive to the sun rays or
to changes in temperature: constant exposure to solar rays
does not alter their color,

    4.   Porcelain tiles are frost/freeze proof and fireproof,
and with a very low probability of cracking.
 They do
however, have a tendency to chip

     5.  Porcelain tiles are more expensive


Quarry Tile

Quarry tile is a hard and durable ceramic tile – similar to porcelain but made in a different way using natural quarried ingredients are grounded together and extruded in tile

1.   Quarry tiles offer a look that is more natural than porcelain, with more variations,
and provide a warm and more traditional look. These variations make it a great choice for
commercial use as stains and

2.   Quarry tiles are great for wet surfaces as their natural rough texture offers slip resistance

3.   Quarry tile is an excellent choice for commercial spaces due to its texture and easy maintenance.

4.   Unglazed quarry tiles must be sealed to keep them from staining.

5.   Quarry tiles absorb very little moisture 0.03%-0.05% just above ‘impervious’ and thus are great options for frost/freeze conditions – with added glaze and firing this will decrease the level of absorption


Tiles Used for Freeze and Frost Areas –
Especially Pool Tiles


Ceramic quarry tiles tend to
expand more with temperature and can show some sensitivity in areas where there
are variable changes in the temperature.  These types of tiles are also
more porous than porcelain tile depending on the process of manufacture.

Most are concerned when it
comes to swimming pools. If, you have a swimming pool let’s say in Chicago;
without maintenance, you may find that this type of base is more likely to
crack. Meaning once has to empty the pool during the winter months then the
tiles will reliably stay in good condition until the spring/summer months.


Tiles Used in Mild Temperature Areas


In places where the temperature
and weather variations are similar to Los Angeles, ceramic tiles have been
used in fountains and swimming pools with no problems for years as long as
there is no trauma to the tiles.

For high traffic areas…we may
recommend that porcelain or thicker quarry tile is used just because these
tiles have less shrinkage due to their denseness – especially in areas where
there are variables in temperature – heat to frost/freeze; and because these
tiles tend to be more durable and will need less upkeep in the years to come.

In terms of coloring, porcelain
with a white background gives some colors more brilliant light whereas the
quarry tiles with rust ground coloring can give more warmth to the coloring.
But in all cases, we have to reformulate our glaze to look as good on porcelain
as they do on clay.



Specs for Clay Ceramic Tiles (Sima)

Specs for Porcelain Tiles:

Porcelain or Quarry tile?

While there are dense quarry tiles for your job in any temperature here are the differences


Quarry Tile

ASTM# Result
Water Absorption C373 < 3.0%
Breaking Strength C648 > 350 lbs
Scratch Hardness MOHS 7.0
Chemical Resistance C650 Resistant


High Traffic Areas, Pools (denser quarry tile good for freeze/frost temps), wall tiles, kitchen and bathroom tiles - and commercial

Setting Quarry Red Tiles
6x6 Porcelain tile

Porcelain Tile

Water Absorption C373 < 0.5%
Breaking Strength  > 425 lbs
Chemical Resistance  YES

Frost Resistance   YES


High Traffic Areas, Pools (needed in freeze/frost temps), wall tiles, kitchen and bathroom tiles - and commercial


Looking for some lovely tiles to spruce up your home?

Stair risers or a niche that needs love?

Ceramic Concepts – in Echo Park *974 Everett St

Every Saturday during the month of June from 1PM to 5 PM

Come prepared to dig for your fav tiles!

Deco ceramic pool tiles
Custom Mural - Bathroom backsplash
Or custom order murals for your niches!
Pool tiles
deco stair risers
stair risers

Check out the recent Redfin article we were featured in:

22 Gorgeous and Unique Tile Ideas to Brighten Up Your Home

Interior design fans will know that even as trends come and go, tile remains a top versatile decor element that can breathe life into any space in a home, especially if you go beyond tile’s go-to spot on a bathroom floor. And as much as we love tried-and-true subway tile, with so many unique color schemes and patterns to choose from, there’s nothing like a vibrant tile design to showcase your personality in a space. 

Whether you’re looking to refresh a kitchen backsplash or add some flair to your entryway, we’ve got you covered. Redfin reached out to us and other tile experts from Tucson, AZ, all the way to Markham, ON, for unique tile ideas that you can incorporate into your home interior. Here’s our tip on how you can mix things up and create a one-of-a-kind look in your home. 

22 Gorgeous and Unique Tile Ideas to Brighten Up Your Home

Pool Tiles
7 Color Field Pool Tiles Randomly Installed
Pool Wall Tiles with Custom WaterLine Pool Tiles
Ceramic Pool Tiles
Pool Fountain Mural & Water Line Tiles

Getting Started with Your Custom Tiles Order

Custom tiles can enhance your living area with beauty and style that is reflective of who you are.

Once you decide on tiles, the first thing after you have decided on the type of tile art or design you would like on your tiles is to figure out what size you will need.

A tile setter, or your contractor or designer can help you figure out how many tiles you need for each space you have. Once you know the square footage of the space where your custom tiles will be installed you will need to know what size tiles you would like to use.

Tile measuring tool for custom tile order
Easily figure out how many tiles you need for your square footage

Typically, the size is determined by the look that you are trying to achieve, the type of space and area you are tiling and how the space breaks up into the specific tile size. That is, 6×6. 4×4, etc.

Here is a handy calculator to figure out the amount of tiles you would need for the most common sizes:

If this is a DIY project then carefully measure the space you have and using this calculator figure out how many pieces you will need. Typically, decorative tiles are ordered per piece and field tiles are ordered per square feet.

Consider any trims you might need to give your project a nice finished look and not leaving any hard edges.

Decorative Tiles with Matching Trim - Chairrails
Chair -Rails

When placing your order with us be sure to let us know what the tiles are being used for. We can help you by suggesting if your custom tiles should be glossy, sating or matte to better accommodate your installation.

Once ready if you are installing the tiles on your own be sure to seek the advice of experts so that you have less hassle and better success the first time around.

3 Steps to Picking Your Ceramic Art Tile.

When looking into decided about what ceramic tile to install into your house there are 3 steps that are in important and will make process much easier to give a wonderful result for years to come.

These are surface, color and design all very dependent on each other and can actually vary in degrees of importance. Here will start with surface:

Glazed Tile1. Surfaces


When thinking of art tiles that will be glazed first decide where they are to be used. Once the space is pin pointed, this should be the deciding factor on whether to use mat or satin/gloss finish on the tiles.

Matt finish is great for surfaces that do not require constant cleaning or that are not immersed in water, such as flooring, backsplashes and wall applications.

Pool lines, bathroom tiles (especially in the shower) and fountain tiles that are in the water should have.

The reason is mostly for sanitation purposes (and ultimately the way it will look and last) Gloss or stain is easy to clean, whereas the matt finish is porous and absorbs liquid (and dirt) making it hard to keep clean.

Keep in mind the use of matt and gloss or satin together on one tile can create a lovely effect that adds a certain dimension.

2. Color

Marakesh Islamic Tile
Moorish/Islamic Tile Gloss and Satin

While color can also be affected by the type of glaze finish… matt, gloss or satin or combinations, it is important to pick your colors based on your specific needs.

Factoring in the application, the type of house design, the surrounding color story or lack thereof is an important bird’s eye view. As is the direction of architect, designer or your own desires.

While modern tiles use basically muted coloring as well as a strong emphasis on black, Malibu or traditional tiles have specific color stories as in the greens, blues and some earth tones.



3. Design

The design is tied in with the color and can be enhanced by the choice of color or conversely muted.

Here you would make your decisions based on the style of the house, where the tiles will be used as

majolica tile
Majolica Tile Style (Portuguese )


as the specific look you, your designer or architect are trying to achieve.

The softer majolica look,or the Malibu/traditional Spanish tile look or the one color washed out cement tile look or molded pieces which give a more Victorian look.

There is nothing as lasting an imprint as ceramic glazed tile; we can see the persistence in history where people have used them continually to improve and beautify the look and feel of their surroundings.



Enjoy the process, it’s






Inside Matt LeBlanc’s home : 1930s Spanish-style

Inside Matt LeBlanc’s home in Los Angeles: 1930s Spanish-style home in Pacific Palisades | Top Celebrity Homes.


This is a beautiful Spanish house in Los Angeles and can perfectly portray the use of Spanish tiles.

Although in this house we really only see Spanish tiles on one occasion on the stairs and on the fountain outside.

Celebrity house that have style and elegance can be a great show place for the old Malibu style of tile making, and as such enhancing and grounding the space within the time period with all it’s opulence and beauty

This lovely expanse can be so much more decorated…as in the fireplaces and other small regions that would make

beautiful space even more lovely.


Malibu tiles can be custom made into various styles that can be kept within the period styling but yet add your own mark. For instance, some prefer the more clean lines of modern designs. Yet cleaner and more streamlined styles can be easily made, but by still utilizing the hand made look of this period and the coloring.

When we talk about the coloring and handmade styles of the Malibu or Spanish tile making periods we are thinking of the multidimensional color variations that come from the hand made look which ads depth to the coloring. Colors such as blues, greens, browns, and pale whites all fall into this trend as does the reds and rust colors.