Ceramic and porcelain tiles are some of the most cost-effective, durable and practical floor coverings around.
So says Jasmin Kraneveldt from leading sanitaryware and tile supplier, Bathroom Bizarre, who goes on to add: "These tiles are also an environmentally-friendly choice of flooring, as the manufacturing processes do not require the use of harmful chemicals, and their exceptionally long lifespan ensures that they boast a small carbon footprint when compared to other flooring options, such as solid wood and carpeting for example."
However, she says that consumers are often not well informed on what kind of tile they are buying and the pros and cons of that particular choice
"Often consumers will make their choice of tile based solely on what the tile looks like or its price.However, this is not always wise, as some tiles are better suited to specific applications and styles.
It is far wiser to make an educated decision and understand the benefits and disadvantages of the type of tile you have chosen.”
By far, the most common kinds of tiles available on the market include ceramic and porcelain tiles, and as such, Jasmin provides an overview on both of these tiles, and the pros and cons of each.
"Ceramic tiles are by far the most common tile currently on the market," says Jasmin.
She says that their production is relatively straight forward: "Essentially, a ceramic tile is a clay-based product – the clay is quarried, purified and then dried to create a powder, or what the industry terms as the body slip.
"This powder is injected into moulds, pressed at a moderate pressure, and then fired at a moderate temperature to create what is termed as a bisque, or in other words, a raw tile. The bisque is then screen-printed with a pigment or pattern, and a clear glaze called silica glass is applied over the top.
"The tile is then re-fired causing the silica to melt and form a durable, non-porous layer over the top of the pigment or pattern underneath. The glaze can be either gloss, matt or textured."
- Pros: First and foremost, ceramic tiles are the most affordable type of tile on the market. They are available in a virtually limitless range of different colours and textures, some of which very closely replicate more expensive materials, including natural stone such as marble and travertine for example, and even wood.
- They don't require any sealing or special maintenance, and they are comparatively softer than porcelain tiles, making them easier to cut and therefore, less troublesome and less expensive to install.
- Cons: Although some ceramic tiles are only hard enough to use as a wall covering, there are numerous ceramic tiles available that can be used for both wall and floor applications. However, they are generally not hard enough for commercial installations.The fact that the tile itself has a comparatively high porosity rate makes ceramic tiles less frost-resistant than other options.
- One of the major drawbacks to ceramic tiles however, is the fact that they are not rectified, which means that they are not cut after production, but rather formed before firing. When the ceramic tiles come out of the oven, they shrink, which often leads to the development of size variants in each batch. This means that in any batch of ceramic tiles, there will be slight differences in the size of each tile – as such, when you are laying these tiles, to account for the size variants, you need to use bigger spaces for the grouting, which generally need to measure between 6mm to 8mm in width.
On page two... The pros and cons of Porcelain tiles...