When many of us think of floor tiles, we think that other than the color or finish, they are all the same. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Tile is actually a generic term which is used to describe various types of stones and paving products which are available for flooring.
Most glazed ceramic floor tiles used currently are monocottura, or single-fired tiles. To create them, the manufacturer uses a small amount of water while compressing the tile bodies under very high pressure. This procedure is also referred to as “dust pressing,” and the result is that the tiles end up with a shiny “glazed” finish. They then will cook the tiles at extremely high temperatures of over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. This creates highly durable tiles that can last for generations.
A grading system is applied to all floor tiles sold in the United States (I-V), as follows:
· Grade II: These tiles are typically used for residential rooms only in areas that encounter light traffic.
· Grade III: These tiles are used for both residential and commercial uses where traffic is at a minimum.
· Grade IV: These tiles are commercial se rated, although they can also be found in some homes.
· Grade V: These tiles are rated for industrial applications, with the capability to stand up to heavy abuse and chemical exposure.
It is always better to purchase your tile from established suppliers and professionals that know tile, rather than a discount store. Tile grades are usually not found on the packaging of the tile.
Quarry ceramic tiles are made out of the same raw materials as bricks (clay). These tiles are made from the same process of “burnt clay.” They can be purchased in many shapes and sizes, in almost any type of configuration you would like. This type of tile is very hard, and the color goes all the way through the material. They are rated Grade IV and V, will never wear out, and can put up with whatever abuse you can throw at it.
Porcelain tiles are very difficult to cut and install. More cutting blades get worn out cutting porcelain than any other type of tile. The main advantage of porcelain tile is that it is very dense and waterproof. Unglazed porcelain tile are ideal for industrial and commercial environments. Some porcelain tiles can be purchased with non-slip coatings for use outdoors or in areas where they will get wet. Typical porcelain tile is quite slick when wet. Glazed porcelain tiles are becoming more common in homes, although they are more expensive than ceramic porcelain tiles manufactured from clay.
Mosaic tiles are small ceramic floor tiles that are about two inches in size. They can be found in many different shapes, and are usually made out of unglazed porcelain. These tiles are commonly found in the walls and floors of bathrooms. Because of their size, it is relatively easy to “dish” the floor so that water will flow toward the drain in the floor or shower. Because of all the grout lines from the small tiles, the floors will be relative slip resistant.
Natural clay tiles are also available. Two examples of this are Terracotta and Saltillo. Terracotta will have the same color as the material that it was produced from. Terracotta tiles are usually unglazed and will have to be finished after they are installed. Saltillo tiles are dried in the sun and are partially cooked in “beehive” kilns. These tiles are soft and crumble easily, but they are inexpensive.
A.C. T. Services would be honored to have the opportunity to show you the best choices for your new tile project. We can put our 34 years of experience to work in making your new tile beautify your home and turning your home into the showplace that you desire. We will make the tile match your personality, as well as your personal tastes, and most of all, you are the most important member of our home remodeling team.