Porcelain tiles have been a popular material for interior and exterior decoration for thousands of years. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and glazes and can be used plain, decorated or as part of a mosaic. Porcelain tiles are a popular choice of flooring due to their aesthetic appeal, as well as their durability and easy care.
Porcelains are an ancient craft that date back some 4,000 years, originating in Ancient Egypt around 4,700 BCE. The origin of the word “porcelain” comes from the Greek word “keramos,” or pottery. The word “tile” originates from the Latin “tegula” and its French derivative, “tuile.” The art of tiling spread west from the Middle East, becoming popular in Europe during the 11th century, when mosaic floorings and panels became prevalent. Although porcelain has been used for making tiles for many years, only modern production methods and quantities has made the porcelain tile available for the average householder in recent years.
Porcelain tiles are made from a sand like materials, which are then formed with pressure and heat becoming denser and hence absorb less water than porcelain tiles. Because of the moisture absorption rate, porcelain tiles can be installed outside where porcelain tiles cannot. Porcelain tile flooring is fired at higher temperatures than regular porcelain tile, making it 30% stronger than granite flooring and resistant to staining.
Porcelain tiles have been a popular material for interior and exterior decoration for thousands of years. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and glazes and can be used plain, decorated or as part of a mosaic. Porcelain tiles are a popular choice of flooring due to their aesthetic appeal, as well as their durability and easy care. A properly installed Porcelain tile floor will outperform and outlast nearly any other floor covering product created for the same application. Porcelain tiles resist stains, odors and dirt and can be cleaned with a damp mop or common household cleaners. Porcelain tiles are extremely scratch resistant. You never have to worry about a cut or tear like you do with other floor coverings. Porcelain is much harder than ordinary porcelain tiles and is usually selected, despite its higher price etc. in areas where strength is more important, such as floors and commercial use, or in areas of high traffic and wear. The dense, hard surface of porcelain has made polishing a viable alternative to a glazed surface. This means that a tile can be fired, and then a polish cut into the surface, creating a shine without a glaze.
Specialized cements are necessary for installation of porcelain tiles, porcelain, being denser and heavier than ordinary porcelain tiles, needs a stronger adhesive to hold their weight on walls. Therefore typical ready-mix adhesives are not recommended for porcelain.
When porcelain is first made, it is not absorbent, but the polishing process for making the unglazed surface shiny cuts into the surface, making it more porous and prone to absorbing stains, in the same way as natural stone tiles do. Unless they have a suitable, long-lasting treatment put on by the manufacturer, such as nanotech treatment, polished porcelain tiles will need sealing. Porcelain sealers are either water-based, which is cheaper, but does not last as long, or solvent-based.
Modern technologies have added to the range of shades, finishes and shapes available. In addition, there has been a resurgence of more traditional looks with terracotta and other natural unglazed finishes.
Additional benefits of Porcelain tile include:
- Cleanliness: Environmentally friendly, porcelain tile is manufactured using natural materials and does not retain odors, allergens or bacteria.
- Versatility: Modern porcelain manufacturing technology has created a virtually limitless number of colors, sizes, styles, shapes and textures that can add rich beauty and character to any room in your home.
- Fire Resistance: Porcelain tile doesn’t burn or emit toxic fumes. Even hot kitchen pans or skillets can’t scorch or melt the surface of glazed porcelain tile!
- Water Resistance: Most glazed porcelain tile has a dense body that permits little or no moisture accumulation.
Advantages of Porcelain Tile Flooring
Porcelain tile flooring can easily endure heavy foot traffic at both residential and commercial locations while not reducing its color and beauty! It is used for many decorative and functional purposes but regarded as an ideal choice for flooring applications. Some of the advantages of porcelain tile flooring are mentioned below:
- Porcelain tile is both harder and denser than many other ceramic tile products
- Porcelain tile is frost-resistant, and often frost-proof, ideal for outdoor use
- Porcelain tile is highly resistant to stain, scratch, and moisture
- Porcelain tile is a hard wearing material which is resistant to harsher cleaning agents, scratches, stains, fading, heavy loads and fire.
- Porcelain tile is available in glazed as well as unglazed varieties.
- It is strong and long-lasting. It has a high breaking strength. Porcelain contains less clay and more feldspar (a mineral). It’s also pressed at a higher pressure making it much stronger.
- It can be easily installed in heavy traffic areas
- Porcelain tile flooring is aesthetically pleasing.
- Porcelain tile flooring has low water absorption. Therefore, less staining occurs on these floors and they are easier to clean.
- Porcelain tile flooring offers a wide range of colors and textures, and many different designs and styles. Professionals can produce an accurate recreation of the look of natural stone, granite, slate, travertine, limestone, marble, quartzite, terracotta and even woods and metals.
- Porcelain tile flooring can be easily maintained. For this reason it is a practical choice for flooring in any room in the house as it needs no polishing, waxing, or sealing, and can be cleaned easily with a damp mop.
In short, porcelain tile is a timeless, luxurious and durable flooring choice that offers a unique opportunity for self-expression because of its detail, flexibility and sheer beauty. From simple terra cotta tiles to highly decorated individual tiles that create intricate mosaics, porcelain tile offers a level of versatility that makes the possibilities truly endless.
Selected Porcelain Tile Samples
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