Most tile installations are straightforward and simple, but not all tiles are square, not all are installed according to rigid lines, and not all are suited for exterior applications. The tiles featured here have a tough, durable glaze over an impervious porcelain bisque, can stand up to heavy foot traffic, and may be used in freeze/thaw applications. Although tiles normally cover an entire surface, here they are used individually, to accent an otherwise plain concrete walkway. As long as the tiling and concrete materials are specified and installed properly, the technique of embedding tiles in concrete can be used on most interior or exterior slabs and walkways. Only impervious tiles should be used in freezing conditions (impervious tiles absorb less than .5% moisture).
A wide range of materials can be installed using this technique: ceramic or stone tiles and shards; brass, cast iron or stainless steel castings and forgings; seashells; beach glass - practically any material whose wear and absorption properties are similar to non-vitreous or impervious paver or floor tiles. As with conventional ceramic tiles in functional, wet-area installations, alternative tiles in similar applications need to be grouted. In the following technique, the concrete is the grout, and it needs to surround 100% of each tile for the best results and easiest maintenance.