Four Reasons Why You Should Love Sonoma Tilemakers Like We Do (Part 3)

By Sam Ferris

*Click here to read Part 1.

*Click here to read Part 2.

If you?ve followed our behind-the-scenes peek at the Sonoma Tilemakers factory over the last two weeks, you should know two things by now: it?s as hand-made as ever, and it?s a bargain. Because Sonoma Tilemakers is so involved in its tile-making process, you?re probably wondering about the million-dollar question: how long does it take to make?

Our facetious answer is, it definitely takes time. Realistically, though, consumers can expect a four to six week wait for non-stock tile products. A consumer who?s buying tile and clearly ready to remodel will say that?s a long time. We like to respond with this: brilliance takes time. As you?ll find out in part three of our blog series on Sonoma Tilemakers, here?s why:

Brilliance takes time

Part of the reason it takes Sonoma time to produce non-stock items is its dyes. Dyes give tile its unique shapes and textures. Think of it like a mold; the clay is placed into the dye and pressed with the shape/texture of the dye.
Pressing is a relatively quick process, but that?s the simple part. The thing about dyes is that they?re only functional for about 200 presses, so Sonoma Tilemakers is constantly producing new dyes ? also a process done mostly by hand. To create a dye, Sonoma pours plaster into a metal mold and allows it to harden. Though the plaster hardens fairly quickly within a few minutes, it takes about a day for the plaster to cure and become functional. Check out the photo series below to see how dyes are made:?
Not impressed? Consider this. They?re pressing clay 200 times per dye, with clay pieces that are often less than 1 square foot. They?re also fulfilling orders for more than 400 locations across the U.S. Do you see where this is going? If Sonoma gets a large order from just one of these locations ? let?s say an order for 200 square feet ? they?ll use up an entire dye for a single order. Then they?ll have to make a new dye, wait a day for it to cure and so on.

And that?s not the only thing that takes time either. For metal accent pieces, the time lapse is seven days from start to finish. A metal accent piece undergoes a different type of glaze each day, and Sonoma allows a full day for each glaze to settle. You can see the seven-day progression below:
The metal accent piece is also polished (by hand, of course) with a wire brush to remove excess shavings. And trust us when we say polishing is tedious. Sonoma let us polish a piece, and it?s a rigorous activity. The shavings don?t fall off so easily.
And honestly, the results of Sonoma?s toil are indeed brilliant. From the glazes to the textures, it?s all doused with originality. We?d love to show you how innovative Sonoma is in our showroom. Click here to set up an appointment with one of our designers! And don?t miss out on next week?s blog post on the fourth and final reason why you should love Sonoma Tilemakers like we do.