August 30, 2023

Colorful Tile by Clayhaus

Bright yellow-orange colorful tile with a split hexagon shape is used for a kitchen backsplash.

Colorful tile is always an attention-getting design detail. And while there are a lot of fabulous ceramic tiles on the market, no one does colorful tile better than Clayhaus. 

Who is Clayhaus?

Clayhaus Tile is a Portland-based artisan ceramic tile manufacturer. This small, niche modern company is co-owned by a husband and wife team, Jason and Megan Coleman. When they launched the company in 2010, they worked out of a 400-sq.ft. garage. Today, they occupy an 8,000-sq.ft. facility in central Eastside Portland.

Jason and Megan Coleman discuss green tile colors in the Clayhaus facility.
Jason (left) and Megan (right) in the Clayhaus facility in central Eastside Portland.

Ceramics is in their DNA. Jason comes from a family of ceramic potters where he grew up absorbing the techniques. He has a passion for color theory and an affinity for glaze chemistry. He also loves bright colors and a modern, mid-century aesthetic. For this reason, he is the glaze master, tile designer, and Chief Fabrication Officer. Every day he is on the factory floor overseeing each step of the process, from raw clay going into the extruder to the final product coming out of the kiln.

Jason (left) and Tom (right) Coleman working in the ceramics studio.
An early passion for ceramics–Jason Coleman grew up in his family’s studio. Here he is with his dad (Tom), circa 1975.

Meanwhile, Megan leads sales, marketing, and office management. She not only takes the orders, packs the boxes and spearheads marketing, but also handles outreach, quality control, and samples. She ensures everything out the door meets the highest quality Clayhaus standard.

Every tile at Clayhaus is handmade and made to order in-house. There are four team members, each with a specific role in hand-making the product. Hence, every single tile receives the human touch multiple times throughout the production process. 

Exceptional Color

What makes Clayhaus different from any other artisan tile? COLOR!

While the Clayhaus sizes and shapes reflect industry trends and equally compare to competitors, they produce exceptional colors. Jason’s color mixing references Italian ceramicists from the 1960s and 70s. The attention-getting, saturated colorful tile makes the Clayhaus products so appealing. The vivid hues and inspired installations create statement-making project details.

Orange-yellow colorful tile in a half-hex pattern on a kitchen backsplash.
Orange Glo hex tile adds a touch of sunshine to the Hawkridge Modern kitchen. The perfect pop of color!

Architects, designers, and clients who aren’t afraid of color pick Clayhaus. Bold, bright, and vivid, Clayhaus colorful tile POPS compared to other project materials.

Colorful Tile – It’s all about the glaze.

First and foremost, it starts with the clay. The custom formula clay, by Georgie’s Ceramic and Clay Company, has a low fire earthenware talc body, which creates a pure white background to make the glaze colors pop. However, what makes the Clayhaus palette unique is not just the variety of colors available. While a lot of tile companies can create a spectrum of colorful tile options, the Clayhuas difference is the saturation level. They put A LOT of glaze on the surface of one tile.

As the glaze mastermind, Jason formulates and mixes all the glazes in-house. His chemistry skills and ceramics DNA make all the difference–no off-the-shelf color at Clayhaus.

“I mix the raw materials–water, clay, glass powder, pigment, and gum–to get the colors we want,” describes Jason. “The gum is how the color adheres to the tile. While I can achieve almost any desired color, fuchsia is the exception; no one can make fuchsia.”

Jason Coleman mixing dry powder dyes to make the ceramic tile glaze.
Jason the glaze master, tile designer, and Chief Fabrication Officer in action mixing the glaze.

Glazing techniques differentiate one tile company from the next. While some paint it with a brush, Clayhaus sprays the glaze by hand in a spray booth. “We use a turntable, scale, and a spray gun. It is all done by hand,” says Jason.

The Clayhaus process is truly an art. The sprayer has to be careful to evenly apply the glaze, and turn the table as required. How do they know when to stop spraying? They work in grams and have a specific gram weight for their finishes–half a pound of glaze per board.

Cameron Holtcamp spraying the glaze onto tiles in the spray booth.
Clayhaus employee Cameron Holtcamp showcasing the meticulous glazing technique – spraying the glaze by hand.

“We put the tile board on the turn table and start spinning it,” says Jason. “As we spray, the scale reads how much glaze per board. When we hit the target weight, we stop spraying. There is a lot of waste, but this allows us to apply a lot of glaze on each tile.”

Clayhaus standards

Quality control is a priority at Clayhaus. As a small manufacturer, they have an eye on every detail from fabrication to handling, packing, and shipping. Jason and Megan also deeply care about the product and appreciate every opportunity to make something unique.

Their commitment to unique creations includes custom capabilities. When a client submits a control sample for a custom color, Clayhaus will match it with no minimum order required. “Greens and blues are easy, reds are harder, and neutrals are the most difficult to match,” says Jason. Clayhaus can also make custom blends of any colors. The ‘You-Design’ tool on their website helps clients visualize what it will look like.

A custom blend of colorful tile for a kitchen backsplash in blues and greens.
The client at Hillside House couldn’t pick one favorite color, so Clayhaus created a custom blend of her five favorite blues and greens for this backsplash.

Megan and Jason enjoy their area of expertise and maintaining a small artisan operation. Additionally, they thrive on the technical rigor and precision of the process. And they are always ready to work under the pressure of high client expectations.

“Our process is very calculated and precise,” describes Megan. “Additionally, our process and materials allow our glazes and colors to be very predictable. We can repeat them over and over. The sample you receive is what your final order will look like. At some tile companies, the color varies from batch to batch. But we can reproduce color consistency every time.”

Installing handmade colorful tile

While Clayhaus delivers a high-quality colorful tile, project success depends upon the installation. Jason advises hiring an installer with experience setting handmade, artisan tile. 

“There are a lot of installers out there, but not all of them know how to install artisan tile,” says Jason. “You need an installer familiar with handmade product color and size irregularities.”

A unique yellow colorful tile in a smooshed hexagon pattern for a kitchen backsplash.
Focal walls require clean and precise installations for maximum impact. Crystal hex tile in Lichen makes a statement in this niche at Alameda Modern.

Clayhaus provides an instruction sheet with every order. It is particularly important to note their specific recommendations for grout joints to achieve the desired aesthetic. And while the tile doesn’t require a sealant, the grout does. For best product results, use Clayhaus tiles for interior applications such as kitchen backsplashes and bathroom walls. It is not an ideal product for flooring.

Colorful tile = art for your walls

At Christie Architecture, we use Clayhaus Tile to create a sense of place in our projects. Whether selecting a saturated color, a neutral, or white, Clayhaus products allow us to bring our client’s stories to life. More than colorful tile, this artisan product is a work of art that adds the perfect touch to any project.

A bright red-orange colorful tile in a split hexagon pattern for a kitchen backsplash.
A half-hex tile in Vermillion adds texture and visual interest to this striking kitchen at Eastmoreland Remodel.

Looking to add color, texture, and a little wow factor to your space? Let’s talk tile! Give us a call.