Ceramic Tiles/ Porcelain TilesArticles > Ceramic Tiles/ Porcelain Tiles
Ceramic Tiles/ Porcelain Tiles:
Ceramic tiles are also known as Porcelain Tiles. These tiles are very commonly used as floor and wall covering to prevent the floors and walls from absorbing water. These tiles are made up of the denser clay to get impervious and more hard and durable material. These tiles may be glazed, unglazed, and porcelain. An unglazed tile can be converted into glazed or porcelain tile by means of vitrification (a process of coating with molten glass). Historically the porcelain was not used as a raw material for manufacturing the tiles. Tiles were made up of earthenware and stoneware. China was the first country to make porcelain tile in the 15th century. These tiles were used in the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing. In this tower, porcelain tiles were used in the construction of the walls. After their use in China, the porcelain tiles were used in Europe, in the construction of the walls of some rooms.
Nowadays, due to the advancement of technology and modern methods, porcelain tiles are very common in use almost in every building and house.
Types of Ceramic Tiles:
There are mainly three types of ceramic tiles.
Glazed Ceramic Tiles: Glazed tiles are those which passed through a second firing process where a protective cover of the liquid glass is coated upon one side of the tiles. The new protective coating on the tiles increases their hardness and strength. The glass coat makes the tiles somewhat smooth and slick but enables them to be painted with designs and colors with the help of ink-jet printers.
Unglazed Ceramic Tiles: A tile, after its manufacturing from clay and burning in the kiln, is not processed in a second fire is called an Unglazed Tile. The whole body of an unglazed tile is the same. While a side of a glazed tile is glazed with extreme temperature, while other side and edges are unglazed and rough.
Porcelain Tiles: The raw material used in the manufacturing of a ceramic tile is silica and clay, while the porcelain tiles are manufactured from glassy material known as “porcelain or china”.
Big producers of Ceramic Tiles:
Italy, China, Turkey, India, and Spain are the big producers and exporters of ceramic tiles. However, countries like Australia, Brazil, the USA, Canada, and Japan are growing rapidly in the production of ceramic tiles. Meeting the domestic need on small scale, almost all the countries in the world are producing these tiles.
Quality of Ceramic Tiles:
The quality of a ceramic tile depends upon its resistance to surface abrasion and hardness. The tiles of inferior quality are prone to abrasion, scratches, and weathering, while good quality tiles are very resistant to these threats. The hardness and durability of the tiles matter much to the consumer. If a tile apparently very glazed and shiny is not durable, it will be considered as an inferior type of tile.
Uses of Ceramic Tiles:
- Ceramic tiles are used in paving the floors of houses and other buildings.
- Ceramic or porcelain tiles are used in bathrooms and kitchens to prevent water absorption into the walls and floors.
- Ceramic/ porcelain tiles are used as a decorative and ornamental material.
- These tiles are used as top of tables and shelves.
- These tiles are used as an outer covering of the walls and building structures for protection.
- These tiles can also be used instead of plaster.
- These tiles can be used in the manholes to prevent water absorption into the walls of manholes and adjacent structures.
Polished Ceramic Tiles:
In order to save the cost of glazing the ceramic tiles, the dense and the hard surface of the tile is polished in order to get a smooth surface. The tile is heated much and the polish is applied on the hot surface, which gives it a shining and soothing surface without glazing.
Vitrification of the tiles:
Vitrification is a process of applying the molten liquid glass on the surface of the tiles. Vitrification is done for reducing the porosity of the tiles and to increase their strength. Vitrified porcelain tiles are created by combining clay with other elements such as quartz, silica, or feldspar under incredibly high temperatures. The vitrification process creates porcelain tiles that contain a glass substrate. The glass substrate gives the tiles a sleek appearance, provides added strength, and makes the tiles water and scratch-resistant. Vitrified porcelain tiles do not need to be re-sealed or glazed.
Fixing Ceramic Tiles:
Specialized cement is necessary for the installation of porcelain tiles, and in the US specifications, is set by the Tile Council of America and supported by the Tile Contractors Association. Porcelain, being denser and heavier than ordinary ceramic tiles, needs a stronger adhesive to hold the weight on walls. Therefore, typical ready-mix adhesives are not recommended for porcelain.
Grout used to fix the ceramic tiles:
Grout is a specialized type of cement or adhesive material that is used to fix the tiles. The grout is generally an impervious and impermeable substance that does not allow the water to sink through the joints. As the main purpose of the use of the ceramic tiles is to prevent water to be absorbed by the walls and floors of the structures in contact with water, therefore, the joints between these tiles must be water-tight, so that the water may not seep through these joints.
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