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What types of ceramic tiles are there?

The world of ceramic tile is wide and spectacular, with a seemingly inexhaustible family of product choices and design options. Ceramic tile flooring and wall products are offered in a broad range of textures, patterns, and sizes. When combined with a spectrum of grout and glaze options, they offer significant design options for any room in virtually any home style. 

The goal is to know what is the best combination of aesthetics, style, and performance that fits your floor-covering budget. To help you know, shop, and make an informed decision, we offer this section.

In this post, George Ceramics will explain ceramic categories, advantages, sizes, and styles and offer you all the information you need to make smart choices.We invite you to read along as we describe the beautiful and vast world of ceramic tile styles.

Ceramic tiles are thin, flat tiles that are usually shaped with beveled edges. They are used for lining or covering a surface and may provide corrosion resistance, thermal protection, wear resistance, and/or surface decoration. Ceramic tiles come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. They are secured to a surface such as a subfloor with mortar.

The spaces between the tiles are filled with grout. In flooring applications, cross-shaped plastic spacers are used to separate the tiles before grouting.There are many different types of ceramic tiles, both in terms of categories and features. Examples include:

Glazed Ceramic Tile

Oftentimes, people consider a glossy or shiny finish as glazed however in the industry of tiles, glazed is not a matter to describe a finish but a material that is coated on the tiles. It can be liquid glass or enamel that is coated on tiles to make them known as glazed. 

Glazed porcelain tile can have a glossy or matt finish to provide a different look to the space. Many tiles are available in both finishes but that does not mean that the tiles with matt finish are unglazed.

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Glazed Ceramic Tile is comprised of two basic elements, clay and water. Various clays are mined, ground blended to a fine powder, and pressed together to form the body of the tile. The pressed clay body is then dried to reduce the moisture content.

Next, the surface of the tile is coated with a colored glaze (similar to glass). The glaze is then permanently fused to the surface of the tile by firing it in kilns at approximately 2000° Fahrenheit, to form the finished product.

We have an article here about Can glazed ceramic tile be painted? If you are interested, you can click to read it.

Unglazed Ceramic Tiles

Tiles made of clay are put into a kiln for firing but if they have to be glazed then the coating has to be applied before putting them into the kiln. The process of firing the tiles infuses the glaze into the top layer of the clay of the tile. 

But, if no coating is applied on the tile before firing it, then it will be called an unglazed tile. In this way, the basic difference between the glazed tiles and unglazed tiles is the coating on them. Unglazed tiles, whether they are made from porcelain or ceramic, get their color either from the minerals found in the clay they are made of or by adding pigments to them.

When these tiles are pressed to form patterned designs then the pattern runs down to the entire body of the tile, instead of remaining on the top surface only. In this way, unglazed tiles look more natural and earthy.

unglazed tiles

Differences between Glazed and Unglazed Ceramic Tiles

Glazed tiles are coated with a layer of enamel or liquid glass before going through the process of firing them at high temperature however unglazed tiles on the other hand need not have any additional coating and they are ready to use after being fired in a kiln.

Glazed tiles are mainly used in residential buildings because of their fine and slippery finish however unglazed tiles are normally used outdoors, in commercial areas as well as wet areas because of their slip-resistant and natural finish

Glazed tiles rarely get stained due to their non-porous and scratch-resistant finish with the help of the layer of liquid glass on them but unglazed tiles can easily get stained even after their scratch-resistant finish because of their natural finish that can absorb liquids easily.

Glazed tiles are thinner and less dense than unglazed tiles.

Glazed tiles are available in a large selection of patterns and prints including digital prints by using inkjet printing technology however the designs of unglazed tiles look very natural, rustic, and earthy.

The full body of porcelain glazed tiles can never be made of porcelain, it also includes various other materials to make it stronger and reliable but the full body of unglazed tiles is fully made of porcelain to give them an together homogeneous look.

We cover it in detail in this article Glazed or Unglazed: How to Figure it Out in Porcelain Tiles? Hope it helps.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile is made from a blend of fine-grain clays and other minerals to produce a very dense body, which makes it highly resistant to moisture, staining, and wear. Because of these features, porcelain tile will withstand years of heavy foot traffic in both interior and exterior applications while maintaining its color and beauty. 

These tiles are also extremely durable since they have been fired at an incredibly high temperature. However, they can be very slippery when wet and this makes them unsuitable for use in the baths. 

Owing to its durability, porcelain tiles can be used in many different ways including patios, pool decks, pool lawns, pool lay-by, kitchens, etc. They look great when paired with other types of tiles to create a unique design. 

They are extremely popular in modern home designs not only because of their appealing look but are easy to maintain.It is worthy of note to say that porcelain tiles are a lot heavier in weight than ceramic and have a smooth glazed surface which makes them easy to clean and maintain.

 

Marble

Marble is a metaphoric stone that has been used for thousands of years to create sculptures, buildings, and flooring. Marble tiles are made from this natural material by cutting the marble into thin pieces before polishing it with diamond dust to make it shiny. 

The polished surfaces give off shimmering effects as the light reflects on its highly reflective surface. Marble tiles are available in different colors, giving you the option to choose your favorite shade. 

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Ceramic Tile

Manufacturers of ceramic tiles may use proprietary mixtures of elements to make products. Typically, however, all of these mixtures include clay mixed with sand, feldspar, quartz, and water. All of these ingredients are mixed in a mill to create a substance called body slip. 

The body slip contains approximately 30% water at this point until it is heated and dried to reduce the moisture content to about 6%. The body slip has the appearance of dust or powder and is compressed into ceramic tile shapes using a high-pressure electric or hydraulic press.

After pressing, the formed tile shape is called bisque. The bisque tiles are dried to remove the remaining moisture. Some ceramic tiles remain unglazed, but most are glazed using a glassy substance that contains a mix of pigments that give the ceramic tiles their color and surface characteristics.

Glazed ceramic tiles are fired in tunnel kilns or roller-hearth kilns at temperatures of approximately 2000º F, permanently fusing the glaze to the surface of the tile.

Advantages

Ceramic tiles have the advantages of being very hardy, long-lasting, and resistant to wear. A professionally installed floor of tiles may survive for decades if cared for correctly. As a consequence, you won’t have to spend as much money replacing tiles as often, which will reduce your expenses over time.

Stains, dirt, and liquids will simply bead up on its surface rather than being absorbed into it, making cleanup a breeze. To maintain their cleanliness, just sweep or vacuum the floors using a gentle brush attachment.

Ceramic tile flooring is a great option since it is resistant to moisture. For high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms, ceramic tile’s protective coating helps it last far longer than other materials due to its resistance to water and stains.

Tiles may be cut to different sizes and shapes to create unique designs, and ceramic tiles come in a broad variety of colors, textures, and styles. They may be adapted to suit almost any aesthetic preference or color palette.

The ceramic tile flooring is not only simple to clean but also inhibits the spread of bacteria. Having ceramic tiles because of this quality is helpful when operating a company that deals with the public, such as a restaurant.

Disadvantages

Ceramic tiles may be long-lasting and need less upkeep, but they’re also quite difficult to install. However, because of its hardness, the floor may be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time. Putting soft rugs on hard ceramic tile floors may help reduce the effects of falls.

Ceramic tile floors do not absorb or retain heat well, making them uncomfortable to walk on during the colder months. When this is installed in a house, the first thing you’ll notice when you get up in the morning is how cold the floor is.

Because of its weight, ceramic tile flooring is not recommended for usage on higher floors. An expert should check the stability of the structure before tiling the upper floors of a commercial building.

There are many types of ceramic tiles, and you can buy or customize exclusive ceramic tiles according to your needs. If you still have questions, you can contact our experts, we are online 24 hours a day and will reply to you at any time.

Related Reading: Top 10 Ceramic Tiles Suppliers in China 2023

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