Tile Design

September 26, 2017
Eskay Metal Fabricating Home Page
Real Metal Tiles - Installation and Finishing Guide

Real Metal tiles can be used to enhance the exterior or interior of any building, and will bring a new vitality and beauty to any decor. Use them in the kitchen, bonded to walls for backsplashes, counter tops, tables, desks, ceilings, to border a floor or as accents. Although ceramic tile manufacturers have tried, the glow and feel of real metal cannot be duplicated. The durability required by commercial use makes Real Metal Tiles the best choice for any application.


Real Metal Tiles do not have a clear coat on the standard line of tile. This allows stainless steel tiles to be vigorously cleaned without special care. Copper tiles are processed with a grained or buffed finish on the surface. The surface is an orange-gold color, but it will rapidly oxidize creating a rich monochromatic patina. The original color can be easily maintained by applying a copper cleaner or you may let the copper surface age naturally to a beautiful natural patina finish. Zinc tiles processed with a mill finish can be easily grained for a desired brush finish and may be cleaned without special care. Metal patina copper tiles have a clear coat to protect the finish. Care should be taken when cleaning the surface.


The backing is suitable for use with most standard pre-mixed ceramic tile adhesive or modified thin set mortar available from virtually any building supply store. Please check with the store staff or our customer service department if you have any questions about an adhesive’s suitability.

Use a 3/16” x 3/16” v-notch trowel

Leave the plastic protective coating on the tiles until they have been installed if possible (to protect the surface), be careful to keep the adhesive off the face of the tile – do remove any adhesive if it gets on to the surface of the tile before it hardens.

Typically tile spacers are not necessary (due to the chamfered edge), but may be used.


Installations where maintenance requires any scouring or significant quantities of water or cleaners, you must include caulking or sealant between tiles. This action will prevent the maintenance liquids from affecting the adherence of the tiles to the substrate.

For decorative or areas not requiring scouring to clean, no caulk is required. For areas that require scouring but have no food contact, we recommend Siliconized Acrylic Latex Caulk. This can be either sanded or non-sanded. For areas that will have food contact and require scouring, we recommend Dow Corning 748 RTV Sealant. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Basic Directions for Grouting Stainless Steel Real Metal Tiles using Caulk:

SURFACE PREPARATION: All surfaces must be clean and free of dust, grease, sealants and foreign matter. Porous substrates such as drywall and concrete block should be sealed by using Super-Tek Dry-Seal or equivalent.

Caulk the tile using a non-sanded Siliconized Acrylic Latex Caulk (available at home construction stores). Sanded caulk is not recommended, but it can be used if you use extra care, as it may cause scratches during installation.

(1) Apply Siliconized Acrylic Latex Caulk with a Caulk-Gun. Cut the dispensing tip of the caulk tube at a 45 degree angle and place in the caulk gun. Dispense caulk in the "V" grove of the tile, filling grove completely to the surface of the tile. Remove any large deposits of the caulk with your finger. *Tiles must be spaced if you intend to use standard style grout.

(2) Sponge or tool immediately after sealant application. Using a damp tile sponge, wipe the caulk at a 45 degree angle to the tiles, using very little pressure. Rinse sponge after every stroke. Continue to sponge until only a slight glaze is left on the tile and there is no grout on the tile surface.
Be attentive with the tile sponge when using sanded caulk to avoid scratching the tile surface, wiping with the grain of the tile where possible.

(3) Let the caulk set up for at least 12 hours, then break the glaze with a non abrasive pan scrubber and sponge clean.

*Special Care MUST be taken with any of the specialized finishes (Mirror, Patina, etc) – the taping method is most often used - please contact us with any questions.

DO NOT use abrasive cleaners, powders, heavy scouring pads, steel wool, sandpaper, etc. to remove grout haze or damage to the tile surface may result.


Real Metal Tiles can be cut, however you will lose the finished beveled edge. Utilize tile spacers between tiles to make a layout fill an appropriate area. Tile spacers come in 1/16, 1/8, and 3/16 inch sizes. It is recommended that you design your installation to avoid cutting tiles by using tile spacers or frame and filler strips. (Contact us if you need help.) On large jobs, custom filler strips can be fabricated to fit your needs.

Real Metal Tiles are best cut using a standard tile wet saw, or by drilling a ½" inch hole in the tile and using a band saw. Other cutting tools include water jet or punching. Tiles can be shaped with a belt or barrel sander. Edges can be finished with a metal file or sandpaper. Holes can be drilled using a high-speed drill or hole saw. Holes should only be drilled to allow penetrations such as for pipes or conduit, and never for fixturing or attachment.
DO NOT use tile cutters designed to score and break tiles.


Real Metal Tiles will easily maintain their rich appearance with simple routine care. In general, cleaning with a damp cloth or sponge and solution of warm water and dishwashing detergent is sufficient.

Real Metal Tiles are processed from metal sheet stock with great care. Minor surface imperfections are inherent qualities of the metal and the fabrication process.

Real Metal Tiles have no clear coat on the standard line of metal tiles (clear coat is used on Patina Copper only).

Generally, cleaning with a damp micro fiber cloth, lint free cotton cloth or sponge and solution of warm water and dishwashing detergent is sufficient.

• Stainless Steel may be cleaned using any stainless steel cleaner or a damp micro fibre or lint free cotton cloth.

• Copper Tiles are processed with a grained or brushed finish on the surface. The surface is the classic orange-gold copper color, but it will oxidize creating a rich monochromatic patina. The original color can be maintained easily by using one of the many copper cleaners commonly found in hardware or grocery stores, or you may let the copper surface age naturally to a beautiful patina.

• Crystal Titanium, Textured Titanium, and Titanium Colored Tiles should only be cleaned with a micro fiber or lint free cotton cloth. We recommend a solution of equal part vinegar and water.

• Patina Copper Tiles have a clear coat to protect and preserve the finish. Copper and brass cleaners (as well as any other abrasive cleaner) should not be used, as they will remove the clear coat over time --use only soap and water.

The plastic protective coating should remain on tiles until they are mounted. Plastic may be peeled back to confirm grain orientation. Protective plastic coating will need to be removed for grouting.