There are millions of different materials that tiles can be made of nowadays. You can get porcelain tiles, vinyl tiles and carpet tiles and each tile is categorised by the way it is made and the way it looks.
When choosing a tile for any application, it is always good to know how that tile is made and most importantly, how it will suit your needs. The more you know about tiles the more informed you can be when deciding which tiles suit your needs the best.
Here are just some of the tiles available on todays market:
Ceramic tiles are the most common type of tiles, however, lots of different tiles fall under the ‘ceramic’ description.
Here are a few facts about ceramic tiles;
? Ceramic tiles tend to be clay based and their natural colour tends to be red or white in its base
? The clay the ceramic tile is made from is quarried and then filtered to create a fine powder which is used to make the tile
? The ceramic tile is made by the dry clay powder being pressed into a tile shaped mold where it will then be heated at a set temperature to harden it
? The tile that comes out of the mold after it has been exposed to heat will then be dyed or printed and a clear glaze is put over the surface
? After the print and glaze has been applied the tile is subjected to heat again which causes the glaze to harden and solidify onto the raw tile, this stops the tile being porous
? The glaze applied to the tile can be smooth and shiny, textured or matte
Most ceramic tile applications involve wall displays, but specialist companies do offer ceramic tiles that are used as floor tiles. The composition of a ceramic floor tile is more malleable which makes it easier to reshape and to install. When you purchase a ceramic tile it will have a PEI rating which ranges from 0-5 with 0 being the softest and 5 being the hardest. The ceramic tile requiring the least maintenance, but also the most expensive is the glazed ceramic tile.
Porcelain tiles come in two main categories which are glazed porcelain tiles and vitrified porcelain tiles.
Glazed porcelain tiles
Porcelain tiles are made from clay like ceramic tiles are, but the clay used to make them is different. The clay used to make porcelain tiles is of excellent quality and goes through a much more thorough processing system that that of a ceramic tile.
The glazed porcelain tile goes through a higher temperature when pressed which means the resulting tile is less porous than a ceramic tile and therefore is more durable overall.
Because the glazed porcelain tile goes through a higher heat exposure during pressing, it has a higher PEI rating than a ceramic tile naturally. This means porcelain tiles are much more regularly used in all areas of the home. Like ceramic tiles, glazed porcelain tiles do not need any additional care or maintenance when laid.
Vitrified Porcelain tiles
Porcelain tiles of this type contain a colour or print that goes all the way through the tile. This is because the dry clay is mixed with the patterned composites or coloured powder before it is exposed to heat.
Recently manufacturers have been using a process called ‘double-charging’ which involves filling a mould with half pure clay and half coloured clay which saves on manufacturing costs.
Vitrified porcelain tiles come in a wide variety of different finishes including natural, which will then come with a high gloss, textured or matte finish. The maintenance involved in a porcelain tile very much depends on how it was made, although any reputable manufacturer should explain to you what is involved in the maintenance of your tiles before you purchase them. The majority do not require any maintenance apart from that of cleaning the grout lines between tiles .