Add a stylish touch to any room with porcelain tile. Porcelain tile flooring is ideal for its beauty and versatility and can be used in any room in your home. They are also an excellent choice for walls.
Porcelain is a type of ceramic tile that is characterized by being stronger, harder, purer, and more water-resistant than ordinary ceramics—which are already quite durable. It achieves this by using clays with finer particles, fired at a higher temperature that creates a harder glazed surface than is usually achieved by standard ceramic tiles.
This inherent versatility gives ceramic tile the ability to provide a number of benefits in a variety of architectural surface covering applications. However, as with all flooring options, there are both advantages and disadvantages to its use.
Porcelain Tile Offers Strength, Durability and Style
Porcelain is a mixture of clays pressed into shape, and fired at high temperatures to solidify. Along with the clay is a large amount of feldspar or equivalent mineral. It is more finely ground, subjected to higher pressure and fired for a long time at extremely high heat. As a result, porcelain floor tiles are very hard and dense. And because of this manufacturing process, they can be quite large and strong.
Porcelain Tile Uses
Porcelain tile and slabs are widely used in architecture and design thanks to the durability of the material and the array of aesthetic options available. As manufacturing technology and capabilities improve, the design possibilities increase drastically. The realistic looks of stone, wood and industrial materials can be achieved.
Porcelain Flooring Is Versatile and Durable
Made from heated, refined clay, porcelain tile is one of the most durable tile materials. It is the most resistant to breaks from drops and damage suffered in high-traffic areas. From wood look to stone look and mosaics to hexagons, porcelain tile can be classic and timeless or trendy and modern.
Whichever style you choose, know with confidence that your porcelain tile floor will stand up to the test of time. We know picking the right tile can be a daunting task, so we’re here to answer your questions and make sure you pick out a tile that you’re going to love for many years to come.
Porcelain Floor Tile Benefits
On balance, porcelain tiles are an excellent flooring choice with a number of important advantages:
Design flexibility Modern porcelain tiles can very convincingly mimic all sorts of traditional flooring materials, such as marble, granite, wood, or even steel, bamboo, or cork. Visually, these can be almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
Durability These are some of the toughest flooring options available. Hard, dense, and solid, porcelain is resistant to most heavy impact stresses, and can even be used in commercial environments. In general, this material should be classified with a PEI rating of at least 5, making it suitable for high-traffic spaces and heavy equipment use.
Resistance to liquids The density of porcelain makes it more resistant to liquid penetration than other, more porous types of ceramic. This advantage can be increased through the application of a melted glass glaze, which will make any surface it is adhered to completely impervious to water.
Stain-resistance Another advantage of porcelain flooring is that it is naturally stain- resistant. Being able to repel liquid penetration means that staining agents can’t easily penetrate down through the material dimensionally. When glazed, this effect is even more dramatic, making it nearly impossible to discolor the surface of these tiles.
Low maintenance The natural stain and water resistance of porcelain also helps to make the material very easy to maintain. Spills can be spot-cleaned with a damp rag when necessary, and regular sweeping will keep loose debris off the floor, helping to maintain any glazed surface protections which may be in place. Periodic damp mopping with a solution of pH-balanced dish soap and water makes it easy to disinfect the area.
Fireproof Porcelain does not burn under any normal conditions, and these floors can help to restrict the transference and movement of flames if a fire breaks out.
Long lifespan If properly installed and maintained, porcelain has the ability to last for decades of recommended use. This cuts down on the periodic cost of removal and replacement.
Repairable These materials tend to be resistant to cracking and breakage from physical impacts. However, if damage does occur to a tile, an individual porcelain piece is not difficult to remove and replace. It is a good idea to save an extra box or two of the product during installation to make color matching easier.
Porcelain Floor Tile Limitations
Porcelain has some unique considerations to keep in mind.
Heavy weight As with all hard tile flooring options, these materials tend to be heavy. That can make the installation process a difficult and laborious task. It also restricts the use of these products in most second and upper story environments, unless the building is specifically built to be able to handle the extra stress.
High price Porcelain tiles can be a little pricey, and these materials often outpace already expensive standard ceramic options. This is increased by the cost of installation, which can add 25 to 50 percent of the total cost, depending on the location and the specifics of the project. However, these floors can last decades, paying off the initial investment over time.
Lack of standard labeling There are no clear regulations that require products labeled as porcelain to have specific characteristics. While the ASTM and the PTCA do have certification processes available, these are voluntary, and retailers are free to describe their tiles in any way they like. That can make it difficult to determine what you are actually purchasing and the characteristics the material will have.
Difficult installation The process of installing porcelain is difficult, time-consuming, and physically laborious. The material itself is heavy and very hard, making it difficult to achieve precise cuts. Hiring a contractor to do the work can save you on expensive material waste, but it will increase the price of the project substantially.
Grout maintenance While porcelain is nearly impervious to stains, damage and water penetration, the lines in between these tiles are still vulnerable. Grout is a porous material even when set, and it needs to be sealed in order to prevent damage from regular use. Even when properly cared for, these features can sometimes be corrupted by humidity and insidious moisture, causing them to discolor with mold and mildew.
Porcelain Tile Color
Whether your tastes tend toward the neutral or the bold, find the perfect color of porcelain tile at Design Tile Inc. When you shop, you’ll find white, black, grey, blue, red and almost any color you could want. To really make a splash, choose a colorful patterned tile that creates beautiful, intricate designs on your floors or walls.
Porcelain Tile Shape
Large-format squares and rectangles, planks, penny rounds, hexagons, mosaics, chevrons—the selection of shapes is larger than ever. Browse through our wide variety and begin to imagine the possibilities of designing with tile.
Porcelain Tile Faux Finish
Using natural materials in your home can require extra maintenance. Get the same high-end look of wood, marble, travertine, slate or cement with porcelain tile. Your guests won’t know the difference, but you’ll appreciate how easy it is to care for.
Porcelain Tile Pattern
Even if you’re working with simple square or rectangular tile, there are countless ways to arrange your tile to give it a different look and feel. Herringbone, diagonal lay, straight lay, basket weave, brick and hopscotch are just a few of the interesting patterns you can create to amp up your design.
Porcelain Tile Texture
Whether it’s a subtle grain, a non-slip surface or a 3-D geometric pattern, texture can enhance your tile design in many different ways. Non-slip textured tiles are practical for use on mudroom and entryway floors that are prone to get wet or muddy, perfect for busy households.
Porcelain Tile Finish
Tiles can be finished any number of ways, and it’s important to know what you want and how to care for it. A rectified tile has a perfectly smooth 90° cut corner, while a pressed tile is one that is first pressed in a machine and then baked so the edges are not quite as sharp.
Most porcelain floor tiles are glazed meaning they have some sort of finish or coating on them to give them a certain look. Unglazed tiles are just a baked clay surface and should be sealed.
Porcelain Tile FAQs
What is Rectified Porcelain Tile?
All porcelain floor tile vary slightly in size between production runs. They are deliberately made over-sized so they can be cut on a diamond saw to reduce variation. This allows for finer grout joints between tile and helps to create a beautiful and contemporary porcelain tile floor.
What’s the difference between indoor and outdoor tile?
Porcelain tiles make an excellent choice for swimming pools, patios and the walkway leading to your front door. However, these tiles must meet slip resistant requirements. Outdoor porcelain tile has a surface texture that gives the tile a slightly gritty surface, even though the tile is glazed. The invisible grit provides superb traction when porcelain tiles become wet.
What’s the difference between floor tile and wall tile?
Porcelain floor tile is typically thicker, heavier and harder than wall tile. Their glazed surfacing is designed to handle the abrasive forces of foot traffic. Increasingly, porcelain floor is being applied to vertical surfaces. This is not an issue as long as the surface is strong enough to support their weight and proper installation methods are used.
Porcelain Tile Colors
Porcelain tiles are available in a range of great colors, and can be installed with minimal grout lines to reduce your cleaning time. Some porcelain tile flooring is even styled to give the look of wood. Their hand-scraped surfaces have subtle veining, texture, and come in the most popular colors.
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