Ceramic tile is a hard surface, natural clay product which creates a beautiful and durable floor that will last for a lifetime. It comes in an array of patterns, shapes and colors, giving you an endless path to design capabilities and custom effects which add value and style to your home.The charts below will explain the basic features of ceramic tile:
Ceramic tile is made of clay and shale that has been baked and hardened in a kiln. The traditional baking, or firing method, is a double-fired process called bicottura. A more modern process called monocottura bakes and glazes the tile in a single firing. The single-step process has many advantages, including producing a tile that is more economical tile, more dense and durable, and has a harder glaze. Prior to the firing process, natural clay colors are sometimes augmented with pigments.
The clay composition, in combination with the firing process, and whether the tile is glazed or unglazed, creates one of four basic tile types, explained in the chart below.
Keep in mind:
• Have a surface that provides color, design and ease of maintenance
• The higher the firing temperature, the harder the glaze
• Light-colored glazes tend to be stronger than dark ones
• Shiny glazes tend to be softer than matte or satin finishes
• Offer a greater range of colors
• Are more resistant to stains
• Have a color produced from the tile’s composition and/or added pigments
• Tend to stand up better to wear
• Their natural surface makes them more slip-retardant.
The correct subfloor structure is critical to performance.
Ceramic tile, more than any other form of flooring, requires the proper subfloor system and setting materials. A double subfloor system with the total thickness of 1-1/4″, over floor joists 16″ on center is required. The top subfloor layer should be exterior grade plywood or an underlayment specifically designed for ceramic tile installation like cementous backerboard.
Special setting materials are available which will allow ceramic tile installations over existing floors that are solid and already meet the above requirements. Failure to provide a sturdy base can cause grout to crack and release or tile to crack.
Although many ceramic tiles look the same, there are quality differences.
The quality of raw materials, the firing process, and the sophistication of glazing applications that create realism will determine the quality of the finished product. These quality differences are often reflected in the price.
Selecting the right surface glaze is an important step when selecting floor tile.
Floor tiles are rated for glaze wear and slip resistance, which are important factors to consider. Glaze ratings should exceed 3 for residential applications with the exception of bath areas that can use tiles rated 2. Tiles with a slip resistant rating of 0.5 or better should work well in most indoor residential applications.
Use caution when selecting tile for installations outdoors.
Unglazed quarry tiles, tiles with heavily textured surfaces, or porcelain paver tiles, all with slip resistant ratings of 0.6 or greater are possibilities. They must also be frost resistant.
Request the best in setting materials.
New latex modified mortars and grouts provide better strength while also allowing greater flexibility.
Dropping objects on ceramic tile–particularly heavy ones–can chip even the best tiles.
Ask our Design Team
Confused about what will go where, what grout to use, how to use patterns? Ask our design people what will work best for you, and they can show you a world of possibilities and interesting designs.
The installation process is just as important to a successful project as the products that we sell. Our craftsmen deliver the end product that ulitmately makes our clients proud of their project. We pride ourselves on our quality of installation. Each member of our team knows our commitment to doing a job right. We reinforce this by a system of continuing education and certification, training programs and seminars, and on the job implementation. Our installers are our own employees and work strictly for us, unlike the independent installation subcontractors that most others use. LEARN MORE