THE PAST IS THE FUTURE

BY CHASE WADE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

In today’s eco-obsessed design world, there are plenty of green flooring options to choose from. Cork, bamboo, glass tile—the list is endless. However, what if you were to learn that one of the most natural flooring options on the market isn’t something produced in some cutting-edge fashion, but is instead derived from centuries-old techniques that have stood the test of time?

That’s exactly the case at Dallas’ Presidio Tile, an artisanal cement tile manufacturer that merges the old and new by combining thoughtful, modern design with one of the market’s most durable materials.

“You can’t open the cover of a design magazine anymore without seeing some type of cement tile featured on its pages,” Luke Gilcrease, the company’s president, says. “Designers and architects have really embraced cement tile and are using it in a lot of modern but still very natural ways.”

To say that Presidio Tile has undergone quite the transition in its nearly two decades of existence would be an understatement. Initially a factory focused on stone and travertine, the company was forced to pivot when violence in Mexico, combined with the consumer’s ever-changing design appetite, made stone too costly a material to center itself around.

With a passport littered with stamps from across the globe, Gilcrease looked to design meccas like Paris and Barcelona for inspiration.

“Cement tile has been used in some of oldest, most beautiful structures in the world,” Gilcrease says. “I wanted to re-create that craftsmanship in my own factories, so I set out to learn everything I could about the material.”

As luck would have it, one of Gilcrease’s employees at his Torreon, Mexico, manufacturing facility had familial knowledge of the concrete tile world. With open ears and a renewed sense of purpose, Gilcrease began producing the cement tile that is currently Presidio Tile’s premier offering.


Visiting Presidio Tile’s impressive showroom, located just north of the Dallas Design District, is the perfect opportunity to learn about the breadth of cement tile’s uses in and around your home. From backsplashes to showers, entryways to courtyards, cement tile is a design chameleon.

“We work with the trade to find many ways to use our product,” Michelle Toleos, Presidio’s sales director, says. “We love working with interior designers to really incorporate a client’s vision to a final product. We start with our base offering and can customize our tile with custom colors and even custom finishes, like silver leaf.”

Presidio Tile’s multiple product lines offer everything from simple, standard tiles that quench the thirst of the modern consumer to more design-forward options that feel right at home in modern farmhouses or mid-century living rooms.

Considering that cement tile is made almost completely of natural materials, the final product evokes the look and feel of stone, but at a fraction of the cost. That’s exactly why Presidio Tile’s customers keep coming back.

“There’s an appetite in the modern American family home for natural materials that aren’t stark white and sterile,” Gilcrease says. “Material like porcelain tile can all too often look cookie-cutter and bland, but cement tile gives you the same modern feel but with natural variation just like we see outdoors. There are minute differences in every tile we produce, and that’s what makes our product special.”

As for the future of Presidio Tile, things are looking bright. A recent investment in updated manufacturing equipment has allowed the factory to produce a more consistent product while keeping up with the market’s demand.

“We’ve worked really hard to refine our tiles and people are excited with what they see,” Gilcrease says. “2017 is a defining year for us, no doubt about it.”

Chase Wade is a Texas-based freelance writer. Read more of his work at chasewadewrites.com.