The history of a tradition

Ever since people began to live together in communities, the search for materials and construction processes to create comfortable and durable paving has been a constant concern. At first, the criteria were fundamentally practical, but later on, looks and design became increasingly important. A good example is that of the mosaic floors originating in the Middle East, which were later introduced into Europe by the Greeks and then improved on by the Romans.

The manufacturing of concrete pavements has a long tradition within the Pujol Group

With the discovery of "Portland" cement in 1824 – a material that was given its name by its English inventor Joseph Aspind – it became possible to create "artificial stone".

Artificial stone technology led to the invention of CEMENT TILES; since the last quarter of the nineteenth century, these have been the most widely used and highest-quality material employed in paving residential floors.

In 1945, Mollerussa (Lleida) was home to three cement tile factories – two of which were Pujol and Graus. Each company owned but a single press during the early years. These presses had a production capacity of eight square metres for figured tiles, and twelve to sixteen metres for marbled or plain tiles. These tiles were striking, high-quality works of craftsmanship, and are still doing service today in many modernist houses throughout the region. Both Pujol and Graus eventually scaled up to four presses each, manufacturing 20X20 and 40X40 tiles with extensive relief, using pattern moulds that offered many different figured designs.

Cement mosaic tiles are made up of three layers. The face side is created using white or grey cement, colorant, and marble dust. The second layer is the drying layer, which is created by spreading grey cement over the first layer after the patterning mould has been removed. The patterning mould is a metal frame that sits inside the tile mould and serves as a guide for making designs on the face, and separating the different shapes and colours. The third layer is mortar, a mixture of cement, sand and small gravel with a little water. It is passed through a press and then left to set up and harden for 28 days in a suitable location.

These tiles were a great product, but required too much craftsmanship, which limited production capacity. The market called for another alternative.

Following industrial developments in the building materials sector, new types of machinery and manufacturing processes began to appear. These developments made it possible to improve the mechanical properties of cement tiles and produce them in larger production runs, all without losing too much of their creative possibilities. This was when cement mosaic tiles were replaced by terrazzo tiles.

The merger between Graus and Pujol resulted in the Catalan company with the biggest production capacity on the market, going by the name of GRAUS, TERRAZOS Y PAVIMENTOS.