Ceramic tile is made from a mixture of clays that are pressed into shape. Tiles have either a glazed or unglazed surface. Glazed tiles have a special ceramic coating that is applied to the body of the tile and then fired under tremendous heat. The glazing becomes hard and non-porous, resulting in a flooring that possesses the following characteristics:
- Stain resistant
- Scratch resistant
- Fire resistant
- Won’t fade from sun light
- Slip resistant
- Easy to clean
Porcelain tile is actually a form of ceramic tile, but made from a much finer clay than ceramic, composing kaolinitic minerals, quartz and feldspar, covered by spray and shaped by dry pressing the clay dust to form a ceramic material that is then fired at higher temperatures than ceramic. One of porcelain’s most important characteristics is its resistance to moisture. It is also resistant to wear, deep abrasion and frost, making porcelain a great product for use in harsh climates.
Myth: All porcelain tiles are “through” coloured products. Actually, only “unglazed” porcelain tiles are through-coloured, meaning that if the tile is chipped, the colour showing beneath the top layer will be the same throughout the thickness of the tile. Once a tile has been glazed, whether ceramic or porcelain, the body under the glaze will never be exactly the same colour or texture as the top layer. This is an important consideration when choosing the tile that is right for your space.
Natural stone tiles have been used in home interiors for thousands of years. They are made by slicing boulders and slabs of rock into thin squares or rectangles. The appearance of stone varies from tile to tile due to veining, natural imperfections, and even fossils. Color palettes also vary by the type of stone and location of the quarry. Natural stone choices include marble, travertine, slate, limestone, and granite. All have different looks and characteristics.
Glass tiles have become increasingly popular for both field and accent tiles. This trend can be attributed to recent technological breakthroughs, as well as the tiles’ inherent properties, in particular their potential to impart intense color and reflect light, and their imperviousness to water.