Porcelain tile is a type of clay product that is baked at high temperatures to achieve a great floor and wall tile. It is impervious to everyday residential use in kitchen floor tile, kitchen wall tile, bathroom floors, kitchen backsplash tiles, shower floor tile, shower wall tile and any other wet area in homes and commercial applications such as hotel flooring and hospitality bathroom tiles.
Unlike ordinary ceramics, it is much more durable for everyday floor and wall tile applications. For this type of product to be classified as Porcelain, it has to have less than 1% water absorption rate and some other technical specifications by the Tile Council of America.
Different types of porcelain tiles:
There are many types of porcelain floor and wall tile, as well as porcelain pavers for exterior surfaces. The manufacturing process determines these different types of tiles and slabs.
Glazed Porcelain Tile:
Glazed Porcelain is the most common type. This type of tiles is baked at temperatures over 1200 celsius, and the body is glazed with a colored glazed that can be glossy or mat. When you look at the tile, you will notice that the shape of the flooring is a different color than the surface. This is the least expensive type of material and easiest to produce but it is perfectly fine for everyday use. However, This product is not recommended for high traffic commercial applications like restaurant floors, shopping mall floors, and office building floor tiles. The top layer may wear out after some time, and you may notice foot traffic. This product is excellent for wall tile applications in residential or commercial uses.
Glazed Porcelain has many types of surfaces that reflect the natural stone look, such as Carrara Marble’s look, Wood planking look, or cement floor look. It is essential to find out what the repeat is on these tiles. Since it is a digital technology, designs are printed on the body, and it may repeat itself in so many tiles. In other words, if the design has 16 or 32 faces ( each pattern is one face ) it will repeat itself on the 16th tile and so on. Again, for everyday small residential bathroom floor or wall, this should not create any problems. Iris ceramics, Fiandre, Lea Ceramiche, Novabell, are some of the well-known producers of this category.
Full Body Porcelain Tile:
This is the more durable version of porcelain tiles. These tiles the body and the surface are the same material, and it will not wear out quickly. In other words, as you use these floors, wear will be inside the body and will not show anything. This product is recommended where there is a lot of foot traffic such as shopping malls, car dealerships, and office lobby floors. It is more expensive but it will last for a long time. Graniti Fiandre is one of the top producers of this category.
Most common sizes in Porcelain Tiles:
Traditionally, the most common size has been 12×24 tiles. Recent improvements in technology increased the most efficient size to 24×24. This was mostly predicated on the efficiency of the porcelain kilns. Sacme is the largest Italian ceramic, and Porcelain machinery makers in the World gets most of the credit for these improvements. Recently, even larger sizes like 24×48 and big slabs are produced in most factories. Although these sizes are not easy to install, they eliminate grout joints. Designers can create bathroom walls without any seams. You can literally cover an entire shower with two pieces.
Porcelain slabs is another improvement in this segment. Today, you can buy porcelain slabs that are 6 ft x 12 ft. These large pieces, also called slabs, can be used for kitchen countertops, large office lobby walls, elevator walls, and other areas where large dramatic pieces of Porcelain needs to be displayed. Porcelain slabs can be book-matched to show dramatic veins.
Porcelain Tile Accessories:
basic mosaics such as 2×2 are very common for shower floors. This type of collection can create slop and some anti-slip friction on the shower floor. Another complementary piece is a bullnose piece, which is used as a baseboard.
Additional decorative porcelain tiles include chevron tiles, hexagon tiles, and many other shapes other than rectangular and square tiles.
How to install porcelain tiles:
The installation of porcelain tiles is super easy. The material itself has many advantages that make the installation by any type of contractor easy. Some of these are
- Ability to cut with a basic saw, or scorer
- Reduce waterproofing need
- Easy to carry and lay.
- No need to seal it.
Things you should pay attention:
- Be sure to plan extra pieces. If you run short, it is challenging to find the precisely same porcelain tile lot. Each lot may be different.
- Pay attention to calibration on the boxes. During the production, each lot shrinks more or less, and each size within the batch is different. In general, you can not mix the batches, especially if you want small grout joints.
- Use only unsanded grout.
- Pay attention to the number of faces. If you are installing porcelain tiles in a big open area such as hotel lobby, or office building floors, tiles may look repetitive if it is a low-end tile. Better quality tiles have more than 32 faces. When you mix those faces well, it is complicated to see the repeat.