What are the steps in the process of making a Machuca Tile?
- Making the steel tile mold
- Preparing color pigments
- Making the tile
- Layering cement
- Pressing the tile
- Letting the tile cure
- Inspecting for quality
- Packaging and sending off
At Machuca, we often talk about how our floor tiles in the Philippines are handcrafted by the best cement tile manufacturers following a century’s worth of traditional manufacturing. That’s a feat in itself, but there’s more to the process that makes it even more special.
A combination of high-quality materials, years’ worth of research and development, and our master craftsmen’s handiwork come together to produce our artisan tiles. Think about it this way: each time you purchase one, you’re investing in a piece of art as well as supporting our local industry.
Read on to know the process behind our Machuca tiles.
Making the Steel Tile Mold
Our tile molds are made of high-grade steel that doesn’t easily rust or corrode, so they can be reused again and again for multiple tiles. The steel pieces are bent and formed to outline the necessary shapes, then soldered together to keep them in place, following each tile design.
It can take days to produce a tile mold, but the results are worth it since they can last years at a time.
Preparing Color Pigments
Our tiles are not painted. Rather, the iron oxide pigments are mixed into the cement to achieve vibrant, long-lasting colors. Before the mixing process, the pigments are carefully weighed, ground, and sieved to ensure the right amount of color goes into the tile and the consistency of the cement mixture isn’t compromised.
Making the Tile
Once everything is prepared, the mixture is made by adding water to cement and the prepared pigments. Then, the tile mold is carefully placed inside the steel frame casing. Following that, the liquid cement mixture is hand-poured into the tile mold’s enclosed shapes, much like filling out a stencil.
Great care is taken to make sure that there is an even layer of pigmented mixture that won’t spill out once the tile mold is removed.
After all the enclosed spaces on the tile mold have been filled, the mold is removed from the steel tile casing. Further layers are added—a second layer of fine sand, and a third layer (a base) of high-quality Portland cement.
Pressing the Tile
When all three layers have been added, the steel frame casing is sealed to prepare it for tile pressing. The entire casing is placed under our hydraulic press or manual tile press, which is called a barra (from the Spanish word for rod).
The manual tile press machine uses centripetal force to compress all the raw materials encased inside the casing into one flat, solid cement tile.
Letting the Tile Cure
Once the tile has been evenly compressed by the barra, the steel frame casing is removed and the tile is left to cure for about 7 days. There is no firing or baking done at this or any point of the process, something we are proud to say benefits the environment.
Inspecting for Quality
Approximately a week later, the tiles have cured and are ready. They are first washed and cleaned, then sent for quality inspection. Any cracks, chipping, discoloration, or production defects that don’t pass Machuca’s strict quality standards will be separated and sent to our reject stockpile. Those that pass, on the other hand, are either pre-waxed or pre-sealed before the packaging phase.
Packaging and Sending Off
Finally, the finished tiles that have passed the quality inspection are put in boxes and labeled carefully, before being sent off to the clients. That’s another order sent off, and another happy customer!
Other Details about the Tile-Making Process
Production of our Machuca tiles takes about 15 to 30 working days for an average-sized order depending on the exact pattern, quantity, and current production schedule.
Our most popular tile size is 20x20cm, but we also have tiles in 30x30cm, 15x15cm, 10x10cm, 7x25cm (brick), hexagon, diamond, and lastly, 15x30cm and 10x20cm (riser) sizes. Each 20x20cm and 15x15cm tile is roughly ¾ of an inch thick, while our 30x30cm tiles are 1 inch thick. Our tiles range from 1 to 2 kilos each, or 4 kilos for the 30x30cm tile.
So whether you’re planning to tile an indoor or semi-outdoor area in your house or office, restaurant or cafe, resort or hotel … we could go on and on about the many applications of our Machuca tiles, but you surely get the point. Regardless of where you plan to put them, you can rest assured that each Machuca tile is of the highest quality, thanks to the craftsmanship and care put into it.
Source tiles for your floor, wall, or staircase at Machuca Tile! We’ve worked with some of the best designers, architects, and artists to make stunning design marvels—let yours be one of them! Contact us today for a quote.