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Ceramic Tile Flooring and Its Finishes

Ceramic tile is made from a mixture of natural clay (Red, Brown or white clays), Quartz or feldsparic sand, and water. It is pressed into different sizes and shapes and a coating is applied. They are either hand molded, extruded or dry pressed into various shapes or sizes. Once the ceramic tile has been shaped, it is burnt to temperature between 800 – 1200 Fahrenheit in Kilns until hardened converting them into solid, tough and water resistant tiles. Pigments are added to the wet clay mixture to achieve desired colors.

The bottom side of tile is embossed with ridged textures that provides space for the mortar, which help in secure adhesion to the substrate.

The water absorption rate of ceramic tile is greater than 3%.

Ceramic Tile flooring is durable and extremely tough.

Image source : home-designing.com

Advantages and Disadvantages:

Ceramic tiles are glazed to increase resistance to abrasion and for easier cleaning.

Pros of Ceramic Tile Flooring:

  • Very durable and extremely tough
  • Polished tiles are water and stain resistant
  • Easy to maintain and stain resistant
  • Can complement any design style
  • Affordable
  • Water and fire-resistant

Cons of Ceramic Tile Flooring:

  • Hard and cold surface to walk
  • May be heavy for upper floors
  • Time-consuming to install
  • Should not be installed outdoors

Porcelain Tile Flooring

Porcelain tile is harder and denser than ceramic and made with refined and purified clay. It is composed of finely ground kaolin clays with silica and feldspar additives and water. It is pressed at higher temperatures than ceramic tile. They are fired at temperatures up to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit that are resistant to freeze/thaw.

Water absorption rate is less than 1%.

Density is pressed under 6000 pounds per square inch.

Slip-resistant tiles are ideal for balconies, bathrooms and pool areas.

Image source : Pinterest ; hgtv.com

Advantages and Disadvantages:

Pros of Porcelain Tile Flooring:

  • Water and stain, scratch -resistant
  • Highly durable
  • Hard, dense and resistant to heavy stresses
  • Fireproof
  • Low maintenance
  • Highly resistant to cracks
  • Resistant to germs, bacteria, algae, and molds

Cons of Porcelain Tile Flooring:

  • Expensive to buy and install
  • Tiles are heavy for upper floors
  • As they are heavy, more difficult to cut and install

Aesthetics

Ceramic tiles are available in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and finishes to achieve the desired look.

Type of Finishes:

  • Textured: Surface with a variety of finishes.
  • Lapatto: Polished but not deep enough to attain the lustre of a full reflective polish. Uneven nature.
  • Glazed: Glazed tile has an additional layer of liquid glass applied to the top during the final firing process.
    • Nonabsorbent in nature.
  • Glossy: Have a shiny surface coating.
    • Reflective surface brightens up space.
  • Matte: Granular and hard surface, non-reflective.
    • Suitable for a rustic or traditional look.
    • Slip-resistant.
  • Unglazed/Natural: Do not have a protective coating.
    • Absorbs liquids and can be stained easily.
    • Natural and earthy appearance.
  • Honed: Surface polished in satin finish
    • Scratch-resistant

Sizes and shapes:

  • Shape: Square, Rectangle, Hexagonal/Octagonal, Picket, Plank, Linear.
  • Thickness: 3mm,5mm
  • Tile Pattern: Geometric,Beveled,Brick joint,Floral,Honeycomb,Interlocking,Staggered.
  • Tile look:Brick,concrete,wood,stone,metal,hand-painted,subway.
  • Edge Type: Beveled, chiselled, flat, straight and wavy, pressed.

Type of Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are classified based on

  • Type of clay used, Mineral composition, Method of manufacturing
    • Ceramic, Quarry, Porcelain, Terra-cotta, etc.
  • Water absorption rate
    • Non-Vitreous Tiles : Have more than 7% water absorption (Indoor use and dry areas).
    • Semi-Vitreous Tiles : 3% to 7% water absorption (Indoor wall applications).
    • Vitreous Tiles : 0.5% to 3% water absorption.
    • Impervious Tiles : 0.5% or less water absorption.

Methods of Tile production :The two methods of Tile production are

  • Extrusion Method : Wet clay is mechanically forced through a nozzle that creates the shape and cuts into desired size.
  • Dust pressed Method : This method uses a cyclone dryer, a Ram press under high pressure to get a high quality floor tile that are dense and strong.

Material Properties

  • Water absorption : It is the quantity of water absorbed by porous ceramic and indicated as percentage of weight with respect to dry product. Ceramic tile are classified depending on water absorption rate.
  • Porosity : Ratio of volume of pores present in a material to the volume of the whole.
  • Glazing : Application of a vitreous coating.

PEI Rating

  • PEI stands for PORCELAIN ENAMEL INSTITUTE
  • It determines the hardness and durability of tile.
  • PEI Rating 1
    • Usage level: no foot traffic
    • Only used for walls in residential and commercial spaces.
  • PEI Rating 2
    • Usage level: little traffic
    • Wall and flooring areas such as residential bathrooms
  • PEI Rating 3
    • Usage level: light to moderate traffic
    • Residential and medium commercial spaces
  • PEI Rating 4
    • Usage level: moderate to heavy traffic
    • Residential and medium commercial spaces
  • PEI Rating 5
    • Usage level: heavy to extra heavy
    • All residential, commercial and industrial spaces

Radiant heat-underlayment systems

During summer months, the heat is drawn away from the interior space and in winter months, the captured heat is radiated back into the interior space. Therefore, porcelain tiles are most suitable for radiant heat-underlayment systems.

Sustainable Considerations

  • Porcelain tiles do not emit any VOC’s and care is to be taken so that the grout used emits little or no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound).
  • The installation of porcelain tiles does not harm the indoor air quality, therefore it is good for occupant health.
  • Since porcelain tiles are non-combustible, it does not release any toxic smoke or fumes.

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