The Basics of Shopping for Tile
If you’re shopping for tiles, you probably have some questions about the product that you’re planning to purchase and use for at least the next 10 – 15 years. We tried to address most of the questions you may have with lots of details in our blogs. However this one has more simple answers to your questions regarding porcelain tile.
Boxes Are Marked Ceramic Tile?
When you see the boxes of your porcelain tile, you’ll see the word ceramic. Do not panic. Porcelain is a product of ceramic. Therefore, the manufacturers call themselves ceramic manufacturers and their name contain the word Ceramic instead of Porcelain. Thus your packaging may say ceramic tile instead of porcelain.
Definition of Porcelain Tile
Not all ceramic tile is porcelain, but all porcelain tile is considered a specific kind of ceramic. A dry pressed CERAMIC tile with water absorption below 0.5% is called porcelain tile. Water absorption is the method used to measure the density/hardness of the ceramic.
Are Polished Porcelain Tiles Slippery?
Before we explain, we need to state that matte finish isn’t necessarily less slippery than polished finish. Because today, most tiles are truly polished!
In the past, manufacturers were not able to polish the glazed tiles. Instead, they used a shiny glaze to obtain the glossy look. That glaze doesn’t have a solid shine and It ripples under the light. Besides, It’s slippery. Moreover, such glaze requires a ceramic body that’s not as hard as porcelain. Therefore, many tiles that were sold in the past as polished porcelain were neither porcelain or polished.
Today, polished tiles are produced with matte glaze first. Then manufacturer mechanically polish the matte glaze and nano seal the surface. Therefore, polished tiles have the same R9 slip value as most matte finish interior tiles.
PEI is something (I’ve picked the word something on purpose because I was never able to find out what It was other than it sands for Porcelain Enamel Institute) that’s widely confused with “Tile Classes” ASTM C1027-19 (2019 edition)” that only measures “Visual Abrasion of The Glaze”. According to 2019 edition, a Class 3 tile is suitable for light commercial and heavy traffic residential surfaces. Almost, all porcelain tiles are in this range!!! If you really want better porcelain tiles, you should check its density (water absorption) and Mohs level(deep abrasion)
What Is A Wall Tile?
Wall tiles are the tiles specially made for walls. These tiles are not porcelain and they are not meant to be walked on. They are lighter in weight and they are easier to cut and they absorb the adhesives better than porcelain tiles. These tiles are also covered with glaze as porcelain tiles and they are 100% waterproof.
If you are planning to use porcelain tiles outside, you should keep in mind that porcelain is made of silica, which is basically the sand. It gets hot under the sun. Color is also a factor. Darker colors gets even hotter. As long as it’s a covered patio or you will walk with your shoes on, you should be fine. However, If your surface gets lots of sunlight and you are barefoot, it’s definitely not a good idea.
Will Porcelain Scratch?
Anything would scratch. So does porcelain. Tile’s scratch resistance is measured by Mohs Surface Resistance Scale EN 101.
The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is based on the ability of one natural sample of mineral to scratch another mineral visibly.(Wikipedia) It’s a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is the softest (Talc) and 10 is the hardest (Diamond)
Most polished porcelain tiles’ Mohs hardiness is between 4 – 5 Matte porcelain tiles’ Mohs hardness is between 6 t0 8 Whereas Marble’s hardness is 3 regardless of finish.
Dog toe nail hardness is somewhere between 2 to 3.
How to Clean?
In most cases, porcelain tiles clean even without water. However, if something sticky dried on your tile, you can use warm water. If you want to use a cleaning product, you may want to choose a cleaner that doesn’t contain soap. You should not use bleach unless it’s diluted.