Ceramic materials are time- honoured, ancient products, which are used extensively in every internal and external aspect of our built environment.
Today, tiles can be purchased in an extensive variety of formats which vary in size from tiny mosaic tesserae to giant pieces of porcelain.
Tiles vary in thickness from 5 mm to 25 mm. Products are manufactured from mixes of clay, sand and a variety of natural substances which are fired at extreme temperatures which frequently exceed 1200 degrees Celsius. The blend of raw materials and the temperature they are fired at determine the nature of the tile, and its suitability for use in specific applications. The firing process produces hard, rigid products which are fragile in certain circumstances.
However, once tiles are correctly installed, they are capable of withstanding heavy loads, and substantial levels of foot traffic, without bending or deforming. At this stage they are highly resistant to abrasion and their resistance to impact is increased. While the pressing stage initially sets the hardness properties, it is the final stage of the firing process that ultimately determines the hardness of the product. The high temperature production process produces a surface finish which is easy to clean and
maintain. Ceramic tiles are inert, they can be fully immersed in water without any change occurring. Significantly, the flames of a fire will not alter their structure. Consequently, tile can be adhered to any internal or external, vertical or horizontal, wet or dry surface that has been correctly prepared.
To summarise, tiles are
They can be laid in numerous residential and commercial applications. Hardwearing/Exceptional Life Cycle Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) studies have determined that correctly chosen and installed ceramic tiles materials can last as long as the building in which they are installed in.
The cost of periodic maintenance of floor finishes over a protracted extended period of time is expensive and constantly increases. Tile requires minimal maintenance.
The vast majority of ceramic floor tile installations can be cleaned by sweeping
away accumulated grit and light mopping or cleaning with a microfibre wipe.
The compact body of the product prevents impregnation by dirt, dust mites or other potential contaminants.
Fire and Heat Resistant
Tiles will not burn. The inert nature of the material determines that no toxins or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will be released during a fire. Tiled surfaces delay the spread of fire, the surface cannot be burned or marked by a lit cigarette.
Chemical and Stain Resistance
Most ceramic materials are highly resistant to staining and have a very high resistance to a wide range of chemicals. Appropriate specified ceramic surfaces can be laid in laboratories, hospitals, abattoirs, or virtually any commercial environment. Many porcelain products are practically impervious, and highly resistant to liquid impregnation and subsequent staining. Glazed ceramic products do not stain.
Even extreme levels of ultra violet and other forms of light (sunlight) have no effect on the colourfast nature of tiles either glazed or unglazed.
Tiled surfaces adapt to the air temperature of a room, which minimises heating and cooling costs. Under tile heating systems can be installed during the laying process. Clay products absorb heat and naturally release it when the ambient temperature falls. Porcelain tiles are particularly effective heat banks.
Advanced ceramic products are produced with titanium dioxide fired into the surface of the tile producing hydrophilic properties which ensure that the tiles are extremely easy to clean. In addition an anti-bacterial effect is created, in the presence of any form of light the photocatalytic process produces O2 active oxygen which can decompose microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, moss, mould and viruses, even the antibacterial resistant ‘super bugs’ are destroyed, this process also breaks down the toxic emissions such as nitrous oxide from motor vehicles. These products can be most beneficial when used in hospitals, on building facades and in private homes bringing major health and environmental benefits.
Credit: Australian Tile Council