Modern porcelain tiles are the most popular flooring materials across the world replacing all other traditional flooring products such as marble, travertine, hardwood and even industrial cement look floors. Thanks to the inkjet technology, today tiles look just like natural materials. Besides, they cost less and require almost no maintenance.
If you are going to remodel your house or just a part of it that involves floors or walls, we would like to explain the basics about ceramic tiles to help you understand the product that you may want to use for your project. You are probably more curious about porcelain that you are ceramic. But we would like to start with ceramic tiles to provide a better understanding.
According to science textbooks and dictionaries: ceramics are nonmetallic and inorganic solids that aren’t metal or based on carbon compounds.
As a product, porcelain fits in that description and it’s categorized under ceramic products.
How ceramic tiles are made?
The main ingredients of ceramic tiles are clay, sand, and water. First, clay and sand are ground into tiny particles and mixed with water and some other elements. The mixture goes under a hydraulic press where it gets its tile shape and becomes hard. Then, tiles move to a dryer prior to a priming process that is called engobing. Once engobing is done, our tile is ready for the inkjet printing where the desired colors and the designs are printed onto the tile. Printed tiles are covered with glaze and then fired.
When clay, sand and water mix is strengthened with cement and fired in a much higher temperatures, ceramic tile becomes harder, stronger and less absorbent. This is the ceramic tile that we call porcelain tile. For a ceramic tile to be considered a porcelain tile, it must have 0.5% or below water absorption.
What is glazed porcelain?
The word glaze comes from the word glass. It’s a non-porous layer that contains liquified glass. It covers and fills the surface of the tile. The glaze can be glossy or not glossy.
What is polished porcelain tile?
Glossy glaze doesn’t have a solid shine like marble. When it’s looked at from a certain angle, It ripples like an orange peel. it’s also slippery.
On the other hand, polished porcelain tiles are not glazed. After they are fired, these tiles go under a brushing machine where they are polished like marble. Then, a nano sealing process covers the surface. Nano sealing also helps tile gain
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What is red body tile?
The ceramic tile’s body traditionally is in red color. The term red body refers to ceramic tile
What is white body tile?
The white body is a type of ceramic used for wall tiles that weighs lighter than traditional ceramic and porcelain tiles. White body tiles stick easier to walls.
Since many people won’t want to buy ceramic tiles, some companies prefer to call ceramic wall tiles ” white body tile”
What is PEI
PEI is an abrasion test that measures the wear and tear of the surface of a tile on a scale 1 to 5.
PEI V: Heavy traffic commercial areas. Like airports, shopping malls, hospitals.
PEI IV: Commercial areas. Like Hotel Lobbies, Restaurants.
PEI III Residential areas.
Porcelain tiles are extremely hard products. Regardless of the PEI number, they offer great longevity against tear and wear. Besides, the PEI is measured with a machine that uses ball bearings. Therefore, color is a factor that directly affects the PEI value of a tile. Unlike many people think, a higher number of PEI doesn’t make the tiles more durable. What makes the tiles more durable is the installation. Manufacturers today, are more focused on a new test that measures the stain resistance of the tiles on a scale of 1 to 7. Stain resistance is indicated with the letter C.
Minimum Grout Lines
Whereas, factory recommended grout lines are 2 millimeters (5/64″) Most common practice is 1/16″
Are matte surface tiles less slippery?
Definitely not. This is a common misconception. Glossy or matte, glazed tiles are slippery due to the liquid glass composition of the glaze.
Some tiles are manufactured with a textured surface that provides extra friction. However, this friction is measured with a test called dynamic coefficiency of friction (DCOF) Tiles with a value equal or over DCOF 0.42 meets the minimum requirement for wet surfaces. Tiles with the best performance in wet areas are called R11.