Characteristics of ceramic wall and floor tiles
We know how important your home is and so picking the right tiles for the right environment is paramount.
Here we talk about the different types of tiles you can buy and where you can use them in your home.
GLAZED OR UNGLAZED
Glazed tiles have a surface that is covered by a coloured layer of glaze. This glaze gives the tile important design characteristics such as colour, shininess, pattern, shading, etc., as well as technical properties such as hardness, slip resistance, etc.
Unglazed tiles, on the other hand, tend to be perfectly uniform in surface and thickness and usually have no decoration or pattern.
WITH A COMPACT OR POROUS BODY
The body of the tile can be totally impervious to any water absorption or there can be tiny ‘pores’ in the body of the tile which can absorb small amounts of water.
RED OR WHITE CLAY BODY
Depending on the clay used, the body of the tile can be various shades of red or brown (red body) or whitish (white body). For certain unglazed tiles, mainly porcelain different colours can be obtained by adding colouring pigments.
Porcelain tiles are totally impervious, highly compact, glazed or unglazed floor tiles. They are totally frost proof and have a higher impact resistance than normal floor tiles. The name comes from the Italian Gres Porcellanato and has nothing to do with porcelain pottery.
Made from unglazed natural clay, they are extremely hard wearing and often used in commercial locations. Most quarry tiles require sealing before and after grouting.
These floor tiles are made from unglazed, natural clay. They vary in water absorbency and stain resistance and are generally unsuitable for exterior use and areas of potential heavy staining. All terracotta tiles need sealing and/or polishing, as well as regular maintenance.
Mosaic tiles are small pieces of ceramic tile or glass usually sold in sheets on a mesh backing for ease of fixing.
NATURAL STONE PRODUCTS, mainly Slate or Marble
These products vary enormously in wear-ability. Some are extremely hard and others quite soft, most need sealing or polishing and can vary a great deal in colour, thickness & flatness.
All tiles can vary slightly in shading, even within the same batch. When fixing, use 3 or 4 boxes at a time to mix up the tiles.
DIMENSION & APPEARANCE
There may be small variations in the size and flatness of ceramic tiles of the same batch. Although now quite rare, we still recommend using spacers to compensate for any such variations.
CHEMICAL & STAIN RESISTANCE
Most glazed tiles are resistant to household chemicals and domestic stains. For commercial use, please check the technical characteristics for your desired tile.
Care should be taken when selecting unglazed tiles for use in areas of potential heavy staining such as kitchens.
Crazing looks like hairline cracks under the surface of the glaze. Although mainly a thing of the past, crazing can still occur in certain situations. Lead-based or deep glaze colours tend to be more prone to crazing, but movement, heat & cold and thickness of adhesive can also be factors. As such, no glazed tile is guaranteed against crazing.
There is no such thing as a non-slip floor tile. For areas where slip resistance is desirable, choose a tile with a rough surface or specific anti-slip characteristics.
All tiles are subject to stringent quality control after production to ensure that they meet the highest standards. Ceramics Planet Ltd only buy 1st quality tiles from factories whom we know and trust.
Tile manufacture is mostly of a very high standard, but all tiles should still be checked for any defects before tiling begins.
HARDNESS & DURABILITY OF GLAZED FLOOR TILES
The durability of glazed floor tiles is measured by counting the number of rotations of an abrasive wheel required to break through the glaze and expose the base clay. The grades are known as PEI grades:
PEI Grade 1
PEI Grade 2
PEI Grade 3
PEI Grade 4
PEI Grade 5
Wall tiling only
Domestic Bathroom Floors only
Average domestic use i.e. Conservatory or bathroom
All Domestic use & Medium Commercial Use
All Domestic & Heavy Commercial
FROST PROOF and FROST RESISTANT
The resistance of ceramic floor tiles to frost damage depends on the water absorbancy of the clay used in the biscuit or body:
Most ‘Red’ Clay
Most ‘White’ Clay
Frost Resistant to about –5 degrees Centigrade
Frost Resistant to about –10 degrees Centigrade
Totally Frost proof
CHOOSE THE RIGHT GLAZED FLOOR TILE
If you are using unglazed tiles or natural stone, the main consideration will be hardness.
For inspiration visit our Pinterest page for images on kitchens and bathrooms.