Two Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Tiling a Hospitality Floor

Times are tough. 2020 has been a challenging year but when, in a few months time, this situation is all behind us the hope is that society can bounce back - sooner rather than later. Hospitality venues can expect a surge in business as people, deprived of the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, resume socializing with a vengeance.

Many businesses may see this period of enforced closure as an opportunity to rebrand & refurbish in anticipation of the coming upturn in activity, but they want to ensure that they get all the design elements right, free of mistakes and in the most stylish but cost effective way possible.

Olde English Tiles would like to share with you a few thoughts on how to specify tessellated tiles with confidence and avoid costly mistakes.


When it comes to formulating a design concept, the floor program is of the utmost importance, especially the need to balance durability and safety with a striking pattern. Success is more than a matter of selecting attractive tiles, and resemblance is not the same as equivalence. The floor tiles must be of the highest quality, and the floor laid to perfection. A hospitality venue cannot afford any down time due to poorly laid or inferior quality tiles, nor the substantial financial consequences of a court case in the event of a customer sustaining an injury tripping or slipping on a faulty floor.

Whether you’re restoring a National Trust treasure, adapting a traditional building for a new restaurant, or creating something completely unique within a warehouse conversion, Olde English Tiles has the product and the experience to help you achieve it.

Esquire Hotel in the QVB

With commercial projects ranging from Raffles Hotel in Singapore to the QVB in Sydney, from the Queen’s Head Hotel in Jakarta to St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, Olde English Tiles has an international reputation for excellence which we have maintained through our commitment to quality product. We are the exclusive distributors of the world’s leading range of fully vitrified porcelain tessellated, encaustic and mosaic tiles -  manufactured by Winckelmans of France since 1894.

The Imperial, Erskineville

Our tessellated and mosaic floors are a premium product, and the cost is a reflection, not only of the considerable amount of work that goes into the creation of the patterns, but the quality of the component tiles. Winckelmans fully vitrified porcelain tiles and mosaics meet or exceed all European standards for slip-stain-scratch & impact resistance. They are acid & frost resistant and in most cases do not need to be sealed.


When it comes to the installation of tessellated floors it is of paramount importance that the installers are expert in the field. Laying a tessellated floor requires experience, knowledge, and  a particular set of skills - skills that are not taught at TAFE. Olde English Tiles has an inhouse team of fixers, with a history of nearly 40 years providing expert service to leading specifiers and government authorities around the country.

Flower Child Cafe, Chatswood

Below are the key points relating to installing a tessellated floor that may help you when choosing an installation firm for your project: 

  1. Tessellated floors are set out quite differently to standard modern large format tiles. They should be set out from the middle of the area being tiled, and move towards the perimeter, almost as if spinning a web. If your tiler does not start by setting out the floor in this way it is inevitable there will be problems.
  2. Tessellated floors, with their great variety of shapes and small component pieces, should always be laid on a sand & cement bed to ensure a completely sound bond and a smooth surface. The use of chemical adhesives will not allow the tiler to achieve this.
  3. Plastic spacers should never be used when laying tessellated floors. Spacers force the tiles apart resulting in conspicuous and ugly grout lines which destroy the integrity of the patterns. It is worth noting that the components of a 19th century tessellated floor are 'almost' butt jointed, resulting in a seamless and continuous flow of the pattern.
Bakery & Patisserie, The Grounds of Alexandria

If your tiler is not planning to do these three basic things, then your tessellated floor, no matter how beautiful the pattern and colours, will be seriously compromised both visually and performance-wise, and may require expensive and inconvenient repair work.

Finally, it’s worth noting that inferior quality tiles will invariably cost the same, if not slightly more to lay than a high quality product as there will be greater wastage and more problems with the installation.


If nothing else, the current situation has revealed how large a part of the economy the hospitality sector is, and how profoundly it affects the lives of all of us when it’s not there. Hospitality, in all its manifestations is central to our lives, whether we are out sharing a meal, watching a show, designing a venue or supplying the tiles for that venue. Hospitality, and the design which fuels it, is serious business.

We hope that you’ve found this very brief guide helpful. Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.