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Ceramics and Type of Finishes

Ceramic tiles are known for their durable nature and decorative effect. The most common types of tiles are ceramic and porcelain tiles which are mostly regarded as the best choice for wall tiles as they are affordable, versatile, and easy to maintain and clean.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is made from a mixture of natural clays, sand, and water and shaped into different sizes and shapes. Once the ceramic tile has been shaped, it is burnt to a certain temperature (temperatures between 800-1200 degrees Fahrenheit). For specific applications, wall tiles are fired using different clays and different temperatures.

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

Porcelain Tile

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%.

ceramic tile
Image source : discountglasstilestore.com

Advantages and Disadvantages:

Ceramic tiles are glazed to increase resistance to abrasion and for easier cleaning. These tiles can be cut to intricate shapes that can be designed for ornamental patterns. Distinctive wall art art can be created using custom designed ceramic murals.


  • Very durable and extremely tough
  • Polished tiles are water and stain resistant
  • Easy to maintain
  • Stain and scratch resistant
  • Can complement any design style
  • Affordable
  • Water and fire-resistant
  • Resistant to germs, bacteria, algae, and molds.


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

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.


Type of Finish:

  • Textured : Surface with a variety of finishes. Slip resistant.
  • Lapatto : Polished but not deep enough to attain the luster 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 the space.
  • Matte : Granular and hard surface, non-reflective. Suitable for 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 Formats :

  • 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, chiseled, 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.

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