Sliced Pebble Tile

When texture and the visceral appeal of pebble tiles is not necessarily perfect for your design project but you still want the the look and the natural appeal of a river rock mosaic, sliced pebbles tiles are the perfect solution. The beauty of this style is that by cutting the stone across the grain, we reveal subtle intricacies and small variegation hidden inside the pebble. The most obvious benefit is by flattening the stone the artist create a uniformly even stone so that when the tile is installed the flooring is consistently level. For every homeowner wondering about the texture, comfort under foot, tables and chairs sitting level and potential tripping hazards, this rendition solves those potential issues and provides the added bonus revealing hidden nuances in the character of the stone.

For those considering cut pebble tile as a flooring option, there are a few important observations to be conscious of. The primary one is making sure that the manufacturer maintains the integrity of the artistic mosaic when creating the tiles. The origin of pebble tiles has a history in crafting and carefully hand placing each stone into an interlocking mesh pattern. The stones used are sorted for color, diameter, uniform thickness and then the same artisan who works with the same color stones goes to task puzzling the stones into each tile. The best of these Balinese artists may make only 30 to 40 tiles in a day. With the sliced pebble tiles there is no reason to loose any of the beauty of the symmetrical placing of stones so be aware of some  series having odd narrow and oblong pieces that lack symmetry and have very large prominent spaces of grout gaps in the tiles.

The other consideration that can come up is one of cost. To better understand the few dollars more per sheet or square foot, you have to simply contemplate the additional work to reduce a round pebble down to a perfectly flat 3/8 inch thick sliced pebble. The work is tedious and laborious and some of the stone are particularly hard to cut because the stones are so dense and hard. Also remember this is an exotic island affair with the work done in welcoming but relatively primitive work conditions. The factories that assemble the pebble tiles are open air structures with local artisans gathered at picnic tables chatting and puzzling away. The stones being sliced are done with very rudimentary machines that are managed by local workers feeding the stones through. To see the factories and the smiling artisans at work with palm trees swaying in the breeze and the smell of clove in the air is to witness as charming and rustic scenario as you can imagine.

In my estimation, the key to the sliced pebble tiles and a big part of their value in home design is the artistry and beauty of an exotic handmade mosaic tile and the notion of the unique origin and manufacturing process behind this distinctive product. When the tile is fashioned correctly like the original Balinese style, the installations look so phenomenal and the flat pebbles do eliminate some installation concerns about how they feel when you walk on them, drainage for showers and ADA compliance for commercial applications. But all of that pales in comparison to how beautiful the tiles look installed, how amazing a large seamless field of pebbles looks as a floor and that special knowing of just how unique and special this handmade mosaic tile is.
Chad Barker
Chad Barker


1 Response

Marti Bowland
Marti Bowland

March 14, 2015

As avid Tour-of-Homes and Parade-of-Homes participants, we’ve admired the river stone floors in the new door-less showers of late. You have touched on the same questions we had, and this article shows us that there is a solution to achieve comfort . We were very surprised to learn how the tiles were actually hand made. Thank you for revealing the solution to our concerns. Did we say how much we love river rock shower floors? They are our favorite.

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