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Ceramic VS Porcelain :
Many homeowners ask us which is better: ceramic or porcelain. Since both tiles offer an endless array of styles, sizes, colours and textures, the answer is less about aesthetics than it is about functionality. The tile you need depends on the room you're thinking of installing it in and where the room is located in the house.
Glazed 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:
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.
Porcelain tile is actually a form of ceramic tile, but made from 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.
Available in matte, unglazed or high polished finishes, porcelain used to be available only in standard 6” by 6” wall tiles and 12” by 12” floor tiles. Today, tiles are made in many different sizes, including 20” by 20” for those spaces that would benefit from a stone “slab” look.
The PEI classification (Porcelain Enamel Institute rating) of 0 through 5 should be considered when choosing the right tile for your space. The rating from 0 to 5 (0 for lightest foot traffic, 5 for heaviest) applies to both ceramic and porcelain tiles. The rating is not a measurement of quality but an indicator of the best areas of use manufacturers recommend. Typically, the most aesthetic tiles will have a lower rating, for example a PEI 2 tile isn’t manufactured with extra heavy traffic and abrasion resistance as the primary concern. Most tiles with high gloss, metallic finishes or special colours will tend to be rated in this group. Tiles used for very heavy traffic areas, like PEI 5, are designed with function as the foremost concern, aesthetic design next in importance. The technical aspects such as surface abrasion resistance will be considered and must be achieved first before aesthetic effects are incorporated.
Because of its exceptional properties, porcelain has become the flooring of recent years. It is the most durable of the hard body tiles, 30% harder than granite. Porcelain was previously used in smaller mosaics residentially, while larger tiles were manufactured for mostly commercial use. Today, with new methods of manufacturing, beautiful new styles and more competitive pricing, they are a hot trend. When installed properly, they should last forever. Polished porcelains are virtually impossible to scratch, functional and beautiful, a sure-fire hit for any home improvement project
Overview and General Characteristics: Terrazzo flooring offers high durability and deep beauty. Its upfront cost is considerably higher than resilient flooring but when viewed long-term, it can actually be less expensive.
Composition: Marble, granite, quartz and/or glass chips mixed with portland cement, polyacrylic-modified portland cement or epoxy resin and poured into place.
Portland cement and polyacrylic-modified portland cement floors hold finish nicely. Some pure epoxy-based floors can be tough to finish due to its low moisture absorbency and hydrophobic nature (non-affinity for water). Avoid using high pH cleaners and acid-based products on terrazzo.
Mexican Tile (Saltillo):
Overview and General Characteristics: Saltillo tiles are natural clay tiles, hand-made in Mexico. Similar to terracotta tiles, saltillo tiles are rustic by design. The beauty and character of each tile comes from variations in size, color and texture. It is extremely popular in Mexico and throughout the Southwestern United States.
Composition: Unprocessed clay.
Unglazed Ceramic (Quarry Tile)
Overview and General Characteristics: Quarry tile provides an attractive floor that is durable and easy to maintain. These tiles are usually red in color and 6” x 6” in size with a ½” thickness. Quarry tile is often installed in foodservice areas.
Brick Pavers (Paving Tile)
Overview and General Characteristics: Similar to quarry tile but larger in size and thickness.
Composition: Similar to quarry tile.
Maintenance Characteristics: Similar to quarry tile.
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