Q. What is the difference between standard “ceramic” tiles and porcelain tiles?
Tile terminology can be confusing. Most types of tiles that are made from clay or a mixture of clay and other materials, then kiln-fired, are considered to be a part of the larger classification called “Ceramic Tiles”. These tiles can be split into two groups, porcelain tiles and non-porcelain tiles. These non-porcelain tiles are frequently referred to as ceramic tiles by themselves, separate from porcelain tiles.
“Ceramic” or non-porcelain tiles are generally made from red or white clay and fired in a kiln. They are almost always finished with a durable glaze. This glaze carries the color and pattern. These tiles are used in both wall tile and floor tile applications, are softer and easier to cut than porcelain, and usually carry a 0 to 3 PEI rating. Non-porcelain ceramic tiles are usually suitable for very light to moderate traffic and generally have a relatively high water absorption rating making them less frost resistant. They are more prone to wear and chipping than porcelain tiles.
Porcelain tile is a tile that is generally made by the dust pressed method from porcelain clays which results in a tile that is dense, impervious, fine grained and smooth, with a sharply formed face. Porcelain tiles usually have a much lower water absorption rate (less than 0.5%), than non-porcelain tiles, making them frost resistant or frost-proof. Glazed porcelain tiles are much harder and more wear and damage-resistant than non-porcelain ceramic tiles, making them suitable for any application from light traffic to the heaviest residential and light commercial traffic. Through body porcelain tiles carry the color and pattern through the entire thickness of the tile, making them virtually impervious to wear. They are suitable for any application from residential to the highest traffic commercial or industrial applications. Porcelain tiles are available in matte, unglazed or a high polished finish.
Q. Can ceramic tile be used outdoors?
To be used outdoors, we recommend the tile must be frost-proof and unglazed. A tile is considered frost-proof if its absorption rate is 0.5% or less.
Q. What is the difference between glazed and full-body tiles?
Glazed tiles are coated with a liquid glass, which is then baked into the surface of the clay. The glaze provides an unlimited array of colors and designs as well as protects the tile from staining. The unglazed tiles are pretty much the same as the glazed tile, except that their surface is not coated. Full-body porcelain tiles do not show wear because their color extends throughout the tile, making them ideal for commercial applications.
Q. Should a sealer be used on ceramic tile?
A glazed tile is already stain proof, so there is no purpose to putting on a sealer. You may put a penetrating sealer on your unglazed tile or your grout joints. The penetrating sealer is an invisible, stain resistant shield that is absorbed into the surface. Some sealers enhance the appearance of unglazed tiles.
Q. Where can your tiles be used and what is a PEI rating?
PEI classes range from 1 to 5. The Porcelain Enamel Institute rating scale is not a measurement of quality. It is a scale that clearly indicates the areas of use each manufacturer recommends and has designed their tile to fit. A PEI 2 tile has been designed for areas where very low traffic and soiling is anticipated. In most cases, the aesthetic detailing of these tiles is of prime consideration. You will often find high gloss levels, vibrant colorations and metallic elements in this group of tile. Conversely, a PEI 5 tile has been designed for abusive extra heavy foot traffic. The technical aspects such as surface abrasion resistance will be considered and must be achieved first before aesthetic effects are incorporated.
|Tiles suitable for interior wall application.|
|PEI II||Tiles suitable for residential bathrooms where softer footwear is worn.|
|PEI III||Tiles suited to general residential traffic, except kitchens, entrance halls, and other areas subjected to continuous heavy use.|
|PEI IV||Tiles suited for all residential and light to medium commercial areas.|
|PEI V+||Tiles suitable for heavy traffic and wet areas where safety and maximum performance are a major concern such as exterior hallways, food service, salad bars, building entrances, around swimming pools or shopping centers.|
NOTE: All tiles are suitable for interior wall use.
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