Floors, Walls, Ceilings - Copper Tile Is Great All Over!
Copper tile is beautiful and diverse. It can be found in a variety of textures and finishes. It can be shaped in traditional or exotic patterns, or it can be used for a clean-lined modern look. Whether it’s on the floors, the walls, or the ceiling, copper tile is great!
The ancient Egyptians made copper jewelry as early as 6000 B.C.E. When they discovered how to hammer copper into sheets, they made tiles to ornament their buildings. Today, copper tiles are beautifying our homes as well. Decorative hand-carved copper tiles are centerpieces for ceramic tile patterns, bathtub surrounds are tiled in copper, fireplace mantles are shaped from hammered copper, and floors are tiled in copper. The look is as beautiful now as it was thousands of years ago. Copper tiles are excellent accents or primary centerpieces in any environment.
Copper is a soft metal, so it dents easily. It should be installed on a solid substrate such as 3/4-inch plywood. An adhesive caulk that's compatible with metals can be used for installation. Only copper or copper-alloy, such as brass or bronze, fasteners should be used for the instillation. Seams or miters can be soldered, and the solder can be tinted to match the surface. A completely seamless appearance can be created by welding the seams and miters and then polishing the welds.
Copper ceiling tiles are popular again, too. In the early 1800s, expensive buildings had ceilings adorned with costly hand-crafted plaster ornaments. Around the middle of the century, a process was developed for impressing thin sheets of copper or tine with ornate patterns. These beautiful ceilings were very fashionable, with their popularity at its peak in the 1890s. They were also valued for their fire-resistant qualities, very important in a time when fires could quickly destroy entire towns. Many of these ceilings still survive and are again much admired. Over 100 traditional patterns are in production again today.
Copper ceilings tiles may be solid copper, or they may be aluminum tiles coated with a thin layer of copper. Solid copper tiles weigh about four pounds each, while aluminum-core tiles weigh slightly more than a pound. Other “copper” tiles have pewter or even plastic bases, and can be an affordable choice.
These ceiling tiles are nailed into a plywood backer that has been screwed into ceiling joists. This kind of system doesn't add significant weight, so it’s not necessary to reinforce the ceiling for this type of installation. Small copper nails with cone-shaped heads are used to nail the tiles to the plywood backer. These hard-tempered nails pierce the metal without bending it, and they are historically correct.
Copper can be left to age naturally to a warm, rich brown with hints of blue and purple. Many homeowners value this look, and wait eagerly for the patina to form. Others prefer the brightness of new copper, and choose to protect the surface with several coats of lacquer. A Lacquered copper tile will require periodic resealing to maintain the shiny look.