Many people talk about porcelain tiles as if they are an alternative to ceramic tiles, when in actual fact porcelain products are ceramic and according to ISO 13006-2013; 4.3.2 – 2(i) classed as group B1a, defined by water absorption of no more than 0.5%. In general terms they are the best, most widely used ceramic products. Porcelain tiles are widely available for use in commercial and residential environments.
There are three prime types:
These tiles are unglazed and the surface finish permeates through the entire body of the tile. The tile body is dense and compact. The product is frequently specified for use in areas subjected to high levels of foot traffic. The surface finish can be textured. Matt and polished products can be mixed together to produce an appealing aesthetic. Matt products are slip resistant and practically impervious.
This process produces a highly reflective surface when the surface of a matt porcelain tile is polished. This produces tiles which can look like polished marble. In certain circumstances the polishing process may open the micro pores which are present in the tile body. This potentially makes the surface of the product more porous and in some instances the surface may require an appropriate ex factory or post installation sealing regime.
This relatively new technology allows manufacturers to add a gloss or matt glaze to the body of a natural porcelain tile. This makes it easier to clean the surface of the tiles, protects against water absorption and the ingress of grime or dirt. These highly regarded products are used in numerous residential and commercial environments.
Most glazed floor tiles are produced using the single firing (monocottura) process which simultaneously produces the body and the glaze. This process can be used with red or white body tiles. The tiles are formed by pressing. Several special firing techniques can be employed, including a form of dust pressing, in which the glaze is applied in powder form during the pressing process.
Glazed tiles are easy to clean, hard wearing and extremely resistant to staining.
White Body wall tiles (Terraglia)
White body tiles which are formed by pressing and subsequently fired twice, to produce decorative, relatively porous products which are frequently used on the walls.
Hard wearing, pressed, unglazed, red body products which are frequently used externally.
‘Cotto’ or ‘terracotta’ is probably the oldest ceramic product. The red (or pink) tile body is usually quite porous and it may be necessary to seal all six sides of the tiles. Terracotta is very durable, and is favoured in external environments. The body is normally formed by pressing, but it may be extruded. Decorated Cottoforte (known as Majolica) is fired once to form the body. A second firing is employed to add decoration.
Slim Porcelain tiles and panels
Radical new manufacturing processes have evolved over the last 15 years, which have enabled tile manufacturers to produce slim (3 mm to 7 mm) thickness porcelain products in tile formats which range from 300 x 300 mm to 1000 x 1000 mm, to 1600 x 3200 mm giant slim panels of porcelain that can be fixed to innumerable vertical and horizontal, internal and external surfaces. These lightweight, easy to handle materials can be used on building facades, kitchen bench tops or over sound existing floor and wall surfaces. This process can significantly reduce the costs associated with removal of existing tiles and subsequent surface restoration.
Nerang Tiles is a multi award winning tile showroom with thousands of quality floor tiles and wall tiles on display at discount prices in its Gold Coast tile showroom. With the most extensive selection of tiles in Queensland including all types of floor tiles and wall tiles such as timber tiles, marble tiles, stone tiles and much more.
Visit in store to see the entire tile selection.