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What is Porcelain Tile?

Decorative Accent Tile Heritage Mono


Heritage Mono

Available in every color and style, modern porcelain tiles offer the beauty of natural flooring materials for a lower cost with minimum care.

Modern porcelain tiles are the most popular flooring materials across the world, replacing all other traditional flooring products. Today marble, travertine, hardwood, and even industrial concrete floors are available in their porcelain version. So, the same exact look for a lower cost with minimum care.  

If you’re going to remodel your house or just a part of it that involves tiles for floors or walls, we would like to explain the basics of ceramic tiles which will help you understand the product that you may want to use for your project. Based off of our experience with customers, you’re most likely more curious about porcelain than you are ceramic. But, we would like to start off with ceramic tiles to provide a better understanding. 

Ceramic Tile or Porcelain Tile?

While almost everybody is somewhat familiar with the term ceramic and porcelain, many people don’t know the difference between the two. When it comes to choosing floor or wall tiles, ceramic or porcelain becomes the confusing question. There is one simple answer: Porcelain is the name for the ceramic with water absorption below 0.5%. This is a great choice for floors and walls whereas, ceramic tiles are limited to just for wall. 

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, in its entirety, is categorized under ceramic products.

How are ceramic tiles made?

The main ingredients of ceramic tiles are clay, sand, and water. First, clay and sand are grounded into tiny particles and mixed with water and various other elements. The mixture goes under a hydraulic press where it gets its tile shape and hardens. Soon after, the tiles move to a dryer prior to a priming process, 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. Eventually, printed tiles are covered with glaze and then fired. 

Porcelain Tiles

When clay, sand and water mix is strengthened with cement and fired into 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. This is a non-porous layer that contains liquified glass and covers and fills the surface of the tile. The glaze can be either shiny or not matte.

What is polished porcelain tile?

Shiny glaze doesn’t have a solid gloss like marble. When looked at from a certain angle, it ripples like an orange peel and is also slippery.

Polished porcelain 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 friction. Therefore, polished tiles are significantly less slippery than high gloss glazed tiles. 

What is red body tile?

The ceramic tile’s body is traditionally in red color due to the clay’s original 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 weigh 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.” 

Minimum Grout Lines 

Factory recommended grout lines are 2 millimeters (5/64″). The most common practice is 1/16″. 

Please click here to read our blog about grout lines for more detailed information.

Are matte surface tiles less slippery?

Definitely not. This is a common misconception. Whether glossy or matte, glazed tiles are slippery due to the liquid glass composition of the glaze. 

Some tiles are manufactured with a textured surface which provides extra friction. However, this friction is measured with a test called dynamic coefficiency of friction (DCOF). Tiles with a DCOF value equal to or over 0.42 meets the minimum requirement for wet surfaces. Tiles with the best performance in wet areas are called R11.

At our showroom in Pompano Beach, the majority of tiles displayed are imported. However, unlike wholesale tile companies that sell their products through tile stores, we sell our products directly to our customers. Since we don’t have to serve hundreds of tile stores, our retail prices are lower than distributors’ wholesale tile prices. 

How Do Tile Stores Function?

For every 10 tile stores, 9 will be run by companies that display tile samples from wholesale companies / the distributor. Everything you see in the store is the samples of what the distributor imports and stocks in their warehouses. If you like a sample, the tile store will order it from the distributor for you. 

Suppliers give away hundreds of samples to thousands of stores. That’s a giant overhead there.

Suppliers can only sell through tile stores. In effect, they have to give away as many samples as they can, to as many stores as they can, in order to maximize their product exposure. Having these products present in every single store may seem like a benefactor for suppliers, however, it mandates bulky inventories that generate significant turnarounds. Additionally, all those stores need to be given a sales rep and customer service. All of this ads up to the cost prior to your business with the tile store. 

Our Quality

Only a few people would buy a porcelain tile with the marble look or with the wood look if the porcelain version were more expensive than the original material. Since the distribution operation generates substantial overhead costs, we cannot expect mainstream distributors to deliver the best ones. Their tiles are okay. 

Us, on the other hand, we import from the most reputable factories. TAU is Spain’s most expensive manufacturer that can offer up to 15 different faces on marble and concrete look tiles and up to 45 faces on the wood look tiles, whereas most manufacturers can only offer between 6 to 8 faces. ITT is well-known for its stunning designs. Mirage, Gardenia Orkidea and La Fabrica are the most respected Italian manufacturers. Yurtbay has an impeccable quality that’s recognized by Italian and Spanish tile makers. We offer all those brands for wholesale tile prices. All the information about our products is listed on our website. Whoever wants to fact-check, can go on google, bing or yahoo. We hide nothing. 

In an industry where there are so many manufacturers from so many countries, one can never have it all. Therefore, to offer a larger selection for our customers, we also display various tiles that we don’t import. We know the cost of everything in every country therefore, for the benefit of our customers, we only display tiles from companies that we have ties with and know their products are of good quality with prices are reasonable. 

If you’re shopping for a tile that you’ve already have seen in another store, we most likely don’t  have it. 

If you’re shopping for tile, you’ve probably noticed that most of the tile stores display the same products. Well, our store doesn’t as we display various unique and rare tiles. In comparison to other stores, our brands are too expensive for wholesale companies. Similarly, it would also be hard to find our tiles in other stores.

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