Four Reasons Why You Should Love Sonoma Tilemakers Like We Do (Part 2)

By Sam Ferris

What we covered is a vital cog in understanding the Sonoma Tilemakers machine, especially why it?s a steal pricewise.

So you should know by now that Sonoma Tilemakers is as hands-on with their tile as possible. The energy Sonoma exerts to craft its tile certainly doesn?t underwhelm, and along with the time and care they devote to the tile-making process, it?s a huge reason why we feel all of Sonoma?s products are a bargain. We feel so strongly about this that we made it our number two reason why we love Sonoma Tilemakers (and why you should, too). Keep reading to see why the tile is a big bang for your buck.

It?s a bargain

Let?s start with glazes. See the ingredients below? Sonoma uses them to create tile glazes by hand. Simple, right? Well, not exactly. Unlike food, there isn?t a set-in-stone recipe for tile glazes. Because of that, glaze colors are hard to predict.

Indeed, Sonoma told us they spend quite some time experimenting with glaze colors and formulas, and it?s difficult to perfect the glaze without at least a few do-overs. The old adage ?time is money? is true here ? it?s not cheap to experiment with glazes over and over again.

There?s about eight scoops of the chemical ingredients below in each glaze mix; it can be any type of combination (all zinc oxide, for example, or two zinc oxide, one talc, one whiting, etc.)
After you add the chemical ingredients, you choose which colors to put into the mix, using about half of a spoon full of color. Then you add water and stir until the glaze takes on a syrup-like texture.
However, as Sonoma pointed out (and we quickly learned), glazes don?t always match the colors you put in. The picture below features a glaze we hand-mixed ourselves. It ended up a dark gray color with a little bit of purple, but our intention was to make it a salmon color.
Once perfected, Sonoma Tilemakers hand-dip their tiles into the glazes. Some glazes are hand-sprayed onto tiles, as well. Dipping is a relatively quick but intricate process. First, you have to stir the glaze, as the chemicals tend to gravitate toward the bottom of the mix. After you stir it, you dip the glaze for 1-3 seconds, then remove it slowly. Once it?s removed, you slowly rotate the tile to both remove excess glaze and make sure it?s evenly applied.
You?d think spray-applied glaze would be easier, but it?s not. There are two reasons why it?s more difficult. First, you have to make sure the glaze is evenly applied to the tile. Not enough and it?ll have a weak color. Too much and the glaze will look damaged. Second, the tile?s glaze cannot exceed a certain weight. Sonoma monitors the weight by first weighing the tile, zeroing out the scale, and then measuring the glaze as it?s applied.
Can you see why Sonoma?s tile is a bargain? With how intensive the glazing process is, and how much labor it requires, you?d think their tile would cost hundreds of dollars per square foot. But it doesn?t. And it?s especially a bargain because of the quality. This is the only tile factory we?ve toured, true. We?d bet that Sonoma Tilemakers probably puts the most care into their tile out of anyone, though.

Next week, we?ll unveil the third reason why you should love Sonoma Tilemakers as much as we do. While you wait, feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our designers by clicking here. They?ll show you the best Sonoma Tilemakers has to offer and what will work best in your home!?