Ceramic tile is a mixture of clays and other natural materials. The special clays are mined from the earth, shaped, colored and than fired in kilns. Traditional ceramic tile can be naturally colored and left unglazed like terra cotta, or they can feature colored or highly designed surfaces which can be glazed (finished with a glass surface) either in a high gloss or matte finish. Most ceramic tile has either a white or red body coloration underneath the glazed, colored top layer.
Porcelain tile is a newer form of ceramic tile and extremly popular among homeowners. Porcelain tiles are composed of fine porcelain clays and fired at much higher temperatures than ceramic tiles. This process makes porcelain tile more dense, less porous, much harder and less prone to moisture and stain absorption than ceramic tiles. For these reasons, most porcelain tiles are suitable for both indoor and outdoor installations. Porcelain tiles are also harder to cut due to their density and hardness.
Unglazed porcelain tile is homogenous in terms of its through-body coloration. The color goes all the way through from top to bottom, so scratches or dings are less obvious and has better slip-resistance. Glazed porcelain tiles (meaning a glazing top top of the tile surface) may or may not have the same coloration from top to bottom because of the top glazed layer. Glazed porcelain tiles help seal the microscopic pores thus are easier to maintain than unglazed tiles. Because porcelain can be made to resemble stone, it is sometimes a better choice than Mother Natureâ€™s natural products simply because itâ€™s less porous and less prone to cracking.
However, not all ceramic or porcelain tiles are suitable for all areas. Tile products generally (although not all, due to the growing choice of imports) are wear-rated from low to high. Most manufacturers worldwide do meet international standards. Because all tiles are not rated for taking floor traffic, it&aposs important for consumers to select a tile appropriate for their project.
Regardless of whether you choose ceramic tile or porcelain tile for your decorating project you will find both types of tiles offer a variety of shapes and sizes in field tiles as well as some border and accent tiles. This will give you an almost unlimited amount of decorating options by mixing and matching different field tile sizes and shapes along with borders and accent tiles to really add pizazz and charm to your decor.
Rectified tile is often described incorrectly and is confusing for most tile buyers. It is simply tile that has been ground or sawed after firing to achieve a more precise tile size. Many tiles will vary slightly in size after being fired (both porcelain and ceramic tiles it is up to 1.5% variation) . By sawing or grinding the tiles after firing the manufacturer hopes to minimize the size variations from tile to tile. Although, at this time there are no set ANSI standards set for what the minimun variations are allowed for rectified tiles, it is strictly up to the tile manufacturer.