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A Glimpse into Glasgow Tenement Flats: The Tiles That Shaped Home Life

Glasgow’s tenement flats have long been an integral part of the city’s architectural heritage and social history.

These iconic buildings have played a significant role in shaping the urban landscape and housing culture of Glasgow. Among the various elements that define these tenements, the use of tiles stands out as a distinctive feature that not only added aesthetic value but also served practical purposes for the buildings wally close.

Common Types of Tiles used in tenement flats

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles were widely used in Glasgow’s tenement flats due to their durability and affordability. These tiles came in various shapes, sizes, and patterns, allowing for flexibility in design. Ceramic tiles were primarily employed in kitchens and bathrooms, where their water-resistant properties proved invaluable. The classic white subway tiles were a common choice, known for their timeless appeal.

Encaustic Tiles

Encaustic tiles, with their intricate patterns and vibrant colours, added a touch of elegance to many tenement flat hallways and entranceways. These tiles were typically made by layering different colors of clay and pressing them together to create captivating geometric designs. Encaustic tiles not only adorned the floors but also created a warm and inviting atmosphere for residents and visitors alike.

Quarry Tiles

Quarry tiles, known for their rugged durability, were often used in high-traffic areas like hallways and communal spaces of Glasgow tenement flats. Made from fired clay, these tiles could withstand heavy foot traffic and were easy to maintain. Their earthy tones complemented the overall aesthetic of the flats.

Aesthetic and Functional Aspects

Hygiene and Maintenance

In the early 20th century, hygiene was a growing concern in urban areas, and tiles, especially ceramic ones, were chosen for their ease of cleaning. This was particularly important in kitchens and bathrooms, where regular cleaning was necessary. Tiles not only helped maintain a clean environment but also contributed to the longevity of the flats.

Aesthetic Appeal

Tiles were more than just a practical choice; they added character to the tenement flats. Encaustic tiles, with their intricate designs, transformed hallways into visually appealing spaces. Even the more utilitarian quarry and ceramic tiles, with their subtle patterns, added a sense of order and charm to the flats.

Thermal Properties

Tiles, with their thermal mass, helped regulate indoor temperatures in Glasgow’s often chilly climate. They retained heat and kept the flats warmer during the colder months, contributing to the comfort of the residents.

Preservation and Revival

As Glasgow’s urban landscape evolves, many efforts have been made to preserve and restore the city’s tenement flats, including their tiles. And at Were Tiling, we are thrilled to be a part of that effort.  Historic tenements are valued for their architectural significance and every effort should be utilised to ensure their survival.  That is why, when we work on the tile restoration work for Tenement buildings and Wally Close areas, the tiles are painstakingly restored to their former glory. We try to restore as much of the original buildings tiling as possible and where this is not possible, we will colour, pattern and style match as best as humanly possible. By providing tile restoration services, we are helping to revive part of the city’s heritage while also enhances the living experience for modern residents.

Tiles, be they ceramic, encaustic, or quarry, were an integral part of Glasgow’s tenement flats. They served both practical and aesthetic purposes, contributing to the hygiene, visual appeal, and thermal comfort of these iconic buildings. If you would like to know more about tile restoration services in Glasgow (and across the rest of Scotland), please contact us.