When it comes to flooring solutions there is no doubt that porcelain floor tiles are the better choice. Porcelain tiles also triumph in all categories over ceramic tiles as well.
Porcelain tiles are generally have denser and thicker bodies than ceramic tiles and are significantly less porous. However like all things, not all porcelain tiles are made equal. When choosing flooring or wall solution using porcelain tiles you have a range of options, one of which is between unglazed porcelain and glazed porcelain. There are important differences between glazed and unglazed porcelain and we have listed a few below to assist in your choice.
Porcelain Tile Manufacturing Process
Glazed and unglazed porcelain tile is manufactured by compressing and tightly firing clay, silica and other naturally sourced materials at extremely high temperatures inside a specially made kiln. The extreme density and heat causes vitrification and is why porcelain is very resistant to water and other contaminants.
Glazed tiles undergo an additional process to the above manufacturing of porcelain tile. Glazed tiles have an additional layer of liquid glass that is between 5-7 microns thick added to the surface of the porcelain tile.
Glazed tile tend to be thinner and less dense than unglazed porcelain tile. A glazed porcelain tile’s durability if affected by the quality of its glaze. A lighter glaze is fired at higher temperatures which causes it to be denser than a darker glaze.
The additional layer of glass on glazed tiles makes glazed porcelain tile one of the most moisture resistant products. Generally glazed porcelain tile will have a porosity of less than 0.5%.
Unglazed porcelain tile tends to have an unfinished surface. The raw surface assist unglazed porcelain tile to be more slip resistant. Unglazed porcelain tiles, also known as fully vitrified tiles have the colour of the tile running through the entire body. This means that chips in the tile will remain hardly noticeable due to the same colour biscuit or body as the surface of the tile.
You cannot seal a glazed porcelain tile. The low porosity and resistance to moisture causes most sealants to wear off over time or not stick at all. Only few high quality sealants can work on unglazed porcelain due to its already high moisture resistant characteristics. You can choose to seal an unglazed porcelain tile but it is not necessary as it already has very similar properties to glazed porcelain.
Should you choose glazed porcelain tile or unglazed porcelain tile?
First of all, unglazed porcelain tile is very rare and tends to be more expensive than glazed porcelain due to the higher density and colouring utilized in the manufacturing process. However unglazed porcelain will be more durable.
The choice between glazed and unglazed will depend on the application. Most commercial applications with high or heavy foot traffic may opt for unglazed porcelain. However both types are suitable for all applications and because of glazed porcelain tile’s availability, range of patterns and cheaper price range, it is more often the more popular choice.
Nerang Tiles has a range of glazed and unglazed porcelain and ceramic floor tiles and wall tiles on display at its multi award winning Gold Coast tile showroom. Visit in store to see the full range of porcelain tiles and take advantage of our expert design team with extensive tile knowledge.