Bronze Tile FAQ 2016-11-15T23:08:32+00:00

Saint-Gaudens FAQ

Downloads 2016-11-15T23:08:35+00:00

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Jewel Choices 2016-11-15T23:08:35+00:00

Jewel Choices for Jeweled Bronze

We use only genuine natural gemstones, hand-polished into cabochons. Any jeweled tile can be set with any jewel, and are set to your order. Jewels which naturally have a lot of color variation are shown on the left. You may tell us which color range you prefer (numbered 1-4) and we will do our best to please you.

Saint Gaudens solid bronze jewel options
Why Solid Bronze? 2016-11-15T23:08:35+00:00

Why Solid Bronze Tiles?

Bronze Statue

The durability of solid bronze can still be seen in ancient works.

There are a lot of metallic-looking tiles on the market.  While they may look the same at first glance, the differences are like night and day.

Solid Bronze – Saint-Gaudens Metal Arts Bronze tiles are cast in a foundry from molten bronze.  They are bronze through and through. Like 3,000 year-old sculptures, they are eternal. You can tell solid bronze by how heavy it feels in your hand. They are hand painted and polished.  Bronze has no installation limitations – tiles can be walked-on, placed near hot stoves or fireplaces, used outdoors, used in showers or around pools, or even endure a hurricane (this happened to a customer in Florida – they were pulled out of the rubble and re-used); and they will always look good.

Solid Metal – other metals – Other metals and alloys are used to cast solid metal tiles.  Among them are aluminum and pewter.  Aluminum is very corrosive when exposed to moisture, and will develop a powdery white coating. While being flexible, aluminum is also soft and can not be used in the wide range of applications bronze can. Pewter is a soft metal, easy to cast and finish cheaply, but unlike bronze is not advisable for use in floors or any other surface where it will be touched frequently. Of the countless alloys and other metals used in tile very few, if any, will stand the test of time like bronze.

Solid Metal – plated – A tile can be marketed as solid metal when it is actually a base (cheaper) metal with plating on top. This is the most common solid metal tile on the market. Base metal, commonly known as “Pot Metal,” is soft, like lead, and cheaper to cast and finish. They are plated with very thin layers of nickel, copper, brass, etc, and are usually coated with a shiny sealer.  The problem with these tiles is that they can bend and break very easily.  When bent, the plating cracks and peels off. If cleaned with an abrasive cleaner, the thin plating wears off. For this reason, they can’t be used in the floor. You can tell plated metal tile by its lighter weight, and shiny, costume-jewelry like finish.

A note about copper: Copper isn’t castable, so you will never see cast solid copper tiles.  A copper color can only be obtained by: plating over pot metal; mixing it with resin (see below); or wrapping thin sheets of copper over a rigid base form.

Metal Coated Tiles – A tile design is molded and cast in plastic. They are then spray-painted with a mixture of resin and powdered metals.  Several metal colors are obtainable using this method.  Because the sprayed-on coating is very thick compared to plating, detail in these tiles is often lost. Because these are only coated, finishes can peel off and tiles can warp near heat.

Metalized Resin – This is a proprietary method of pouring resin mixed with powdered metal into a mold. The resulting tile is resin-based throughout. They are lightweight, and can warp around high BTU cook tops or fireplaces.

Ceramic Metal Glazes – Regular ceramic tiles are fired with glazes that look like metal but have no real metal in them. Along with all ceramic tile chipping is the most common problem, along with abrasion if walked on, and loss of finish.

Our Finishes 2016-11-15T23:08:35+00:00

Our Bronze Finishes

Classic Bronze

Oil Rubbed

Silver Bright

We cast in two bronzes with five finishes, and all tiles are sealed with a sculpture quality enamel.

Bronze – Silicon sculpture bronze – a warm bronze color.

Our Bronze Bright is a high luster finish. The Bronze is brightly burnished while preserving the beautiful texture of of the cast bronze. No patina is used in the process.

Our Classic Bronze finish starts with an acid patina that brings on a chocolate brown color. This fragile patina is gently removed by carefully hand buffing each piece, leaving the right amount of color in the recesses, while taking care to not over-polish the high points of the tiles. The texture of cast bronze is so beautiful that we preserve as much as possible in the finishing process.

Our Oil-Rubbed Bronze starts with the same acid patina as the Classic finish. Only the edges and highest spots are lightly buffed by hand, leaving a rich dark color with the barest suggestion of the bronze underneath. Because these tiles are solid bronze our Oil Rubbed Finish tiles that are installed in floors will eventually polish on the high areas due to foot traffic. If the tiles are scratched the metal will show through. However the patina will eventually “heal” itself, and the scratches will darken through the natural aging process. Rubbing the sight of the scratch with your hand will quicken this process, as the oil from your skin is a natural patina for bronze.

These four finishes should always be considered “live” finishes – bronze darkens naturally with time, heat, etc.  When used outside, the darkening is faster, and in time the sealer will wear away and a verdigris patina will begin to emerge.  Tiles can be buffed with a Scotchbrite pad to bring back the highlights and then sealed with a coat of Johnson’s Paste Wax buffed with a soft cloth.

White Bronze – Silvertone – a warm white metal.

This is bronze with nickel alloy added. The nickel makes the bronze very stable in color without affecting the durability of the metal.

Our Silvertone finish is white bronze with a black acid patina, hand-finished and sealed. White bronze is wonderful for showers or wet areas because it won’t darken.

Our Silver Bright is also a high luster finish. The White Bronze is brightly burnished while preserving the beautiful texture of of the casting.

Bronze Tile Installation 2016-11-15T23:08:35+00:00

Installing Bronze Tile

Bronze Tile Installation

Bronze tiles are set using thinset or epoxy adhesive, but special care must be taken in the grouting process to keep grout out of the crevices. If the design allows a tape seal around a solid border, use tape to mask the tile before setting. If the edges of the tile are uneven, apply 2 heavy coats of Elmer’s Rubber Cement to the tops of the tiles before setting. The rubber cement will keep grout out of the tile design and can be removed later. The tiles cannot be warm before you apply the rubber cement, and must be kept out of the sun after the rubber cement is applied. Do not leave the rubber cement on the tiles for more 3 days. After the grout has dried and the rubber cement removed by rubbing it off with fingers, use Pledge furniture polish sprayed on a soft cloth and/or toothbrush to remove any grout haze.

Caution: Grout or grout additives that use “stain-proof”, “stain-guard” or other anti-stain and anti-mildew components may contain acids that can turn Bronze tiles and/or the grout green. If you are unsure if your grout or grout additives contain these components, please contact the grout or additive manufacturer for application information.

DO NOT abrade the tiles with sanded grout in the grout cleaning process, as this may remove the sealer and discolor the metal.

Bronze tiles can be cut with a wet diamond tile saw (go slowly), a hacksaw, or any saw blade made to cut metal. Dry ferrous masonry saw blades generate too much heat and will discolor the bronze.

Bronze Tile Care 2016-11-15T23:08:35+00:00

Bronze Tile Care

Bronze Tile Care

To maintain the shine of your tiles or if your tiles are merely dusty, use Pledge furniture polish sprayed on a soft cloth or toothbrush. If necessary, clean with a soft cloth and mild soap. DO NOT use grout cleaners on bronze tiles. Grout cleaners contain strong acids which will change the color and finish. A slight variation in patina color is a natural result of the chemical patina process. Silicon (golden) bronze will develop a deeper bronze color with time, and when used outdoors, will darken faster, as would a bronze sculpture. If your tiles become darker than you would like, polish with a mild Scotchbrite pad – 3M only, from any grocery or hardware store (not the kind with a sponge on one side). After achieving the desired finish, apply a coat of Johnson’s Paste Wax and buff with a soft dry cloth to seal it. Silvertone (Nickel Bronze) will not darken unless exposed to harsh chemicals.

Other Questions 2016-11-15T23:08:35+00:00

Other Frequently Asked Questions

What is my Lead Time?
We try to make the ordering process as seamless as possible. When possible we ship the same day or next day. Out of stock and special order products usually  ship within 3-4 weeks. Contact your local Saint-Gaudens distributor for more details.

What are my installation limits?
There are basically no limits.  Bronze is very durable. Use bronze tiles in walls and floors, and in wet or dry areas.  Bronze only looks more beautiful as it is walked on.

Bronze can be installed inside and outside. Outside installation will change the finish depending on the weather conditions in your area. Silvertone (White Bronze) is much more stable than regular bronze, and will only darken in extreme conditions.

Is there maintenance required?
Yes, there is maintenance required, but it is minimal. The simplest way to clean your bronze tiles is with a soft cloth or toothbrush sprayed with Pledge furniture polish. Buff to restore the luster. Occasionally you may want to reseal your tiles with a clear wax such as Johnson’s Paste Wax to slow the natural aging process of the finish. Bronze that has aged naturally can be re-polished and sealed – see below “My tiles have darkened, what can I do?” Reseal your tiles more often if the tiles are regularly exposed to moisture or you live near the ocean or in a high humidity area.
Note: Do not use grout cleaners on bronze tiles. Grout cleaners contain strong acids which will change the color and finish.

My tiles look different than the samples at the store, why is that?
A slight variation in patina color is a natural result of the patina process and all of the tiles are finished individually by hand.  Additionally, older samples will be a deeper bronze color than your newer tiles, which will deepen in color with time.

Why do my tiles look different than when they were installed?
Silicon (golden) bronze will develop a deeper bronze color with time, and when used outdoors, will darken faster, as would a bronze sculpture.

My bronze tiles have darkened, what can I do?
If your tiles become darker than you would like, polish them with a mild green Scotchbrite pad – 3M only, from any grocery or hardware store (not the kind with a sponge on one side).This may take some effort because you must polish through the enamel sealer.

Note for Envi Bright Bronze/Silvetone tiles ONLY: After removing tarnish and sealer with Scotchbrite, restore the brilliant luster with Nevr-Dull metal polish (available at most hardware or automotive parts stores).

Note: Do not touch the tiles with your bare hands after you’ve used Scotchbrite; you will leave fingerprints. After achieving the desired color, apply a coat of Johnson’s Paste Wax or any high quality clear paste wax and buff with a soft dry cloth. Silvertone (Nickel Bronze) will not darken unless exposed to harsh chemicals.

What will happen if I install bronze tiles in or around my shower, bathroom or pool?
Installing Bronze in areas where they are constantly exposed to water will quicken the natural aging process of the finish. Resealing at regular intervals with Johnson’s paste wax will slow this process.  See above: “My bronze tiles have darkened, what can I do?”
Silvertone (nickel bronze) will darken only slightly in showers.

What kind of sealer should I use?
We recommend Johnson’s Paste Wax or any high quality clear paste wax. Johnson’s Paste Wax should be found in hardware stores in the paint section with stains, shellac, and other finishes.

What does the sealer do, and when should I use it?
The sealer acts as a barrier between your bronze tile and moisture or anything else that may darken the bronze. We recommend resealing once or twice a year. If you live in a humid area or near the ocean you may want to seal more often.  If the bronze has darkened more than you like, polish before re-sealing with an all green Scotch Brite pad.

Do you have Pewter?
No, we do not use pewter.  Pewter is a soft metal and should not be used in floors.  Bronze is very hard – perfect for floors or behind cook tops.  Our white bronze (Silvertone) is a nickel color, similar to pewter.

Can I use jeweled tiles in my floor?
We don’t recommend it. Our epoxy is extremely strong, but jewels will scratch and can be kicked off.  Save the jewels for the walls.

How do I install the Oak Tree Plaque?
The Oak Tree Plaque weighs 23 lbs. The best way to mount the tile is to first mortar it to a piece of hardy backer board that is larger than the plaque. Allow the mortar to dry at least 24 hours. Then use screws to mount the backer board and Oak tree onto the wall studs as an assembly. Hardy backer board is basically concrete and fiberglass – very sturdy.

Bronze Tile Use 2016-11-15T23:08:35+00:00

Where can I use Bronze Tile?

Bronze Tile Use

Saint-Gaudens Bronze Tile is SOLID bronze. It can be used anywhere – floors, walls, outdoors, showers, pools… It will never chip, peel or warp.  Installed in floors, it only gets prettier the more it is walked upon. You can use it outdoors and nature will take over, painting Silicon Bronze (golden bronze) with a beautiful verdigris patina. In pools, the verdigris process is sped up by the chemicals used in pool water.  While our Silvertone metal (Nickel Bronze) will not darken unless exposed to harsh chemicals, Silicon Bronze will darken with time, and can be brightened (see Care). Over a high BTU cooktop, bronze will never warp or peel because it is pure metal with a melting point far, far above what you will find in a home.

Bronze tile is as timeless as ancient bronze sculptures that have remained unchanged for thousands of years. Solid eternal bronze is a choice you will always feel good about making.

All our Bronze tiles have been patinaed, hand-polished,  and sealed with a durable lacquer sealer.