Beautiful Tiles

There are two basic types of tile, ceramic and porcelain. They’re actually cousins with very different attributes.  Ceramic tile is defined broadly as a formed and baked clay product, usually finished with a decorative glass glazed surface. The technique has been in use for thousands of years. Porcelain tiles are a modernized version, typically made from different, denser clay materials and baked at very high temperatures and lower water absorption rates than traditional ceramic tile, making them tougher and generally frost resistant, though not always. There also are some non-porcelain tiles that can be used in freeze-thaw environments. There are both glazed and unglazed porcelain tiles. Some people favor glazed versions, stating that they are a tad easier to clean. Others say porcelain tiles may be more slip resistant.

Much of today’s ceramic and porcelain tile offerings are designed with the look and feel of natural stone in mind, and along with that color and textures which further expand your design-ability with tile. As you explore “your look,” check the tile to see what the shade variation is. It can be a consistent color yet with shade and texture variations from low to very high.

If green, or environmental responsibility, is an issue, tile can fit the bill, and in the way YOU define it. First, most ceramic tile is made of natural materials, like clay and silica for the glass glazing. It is easy to clean and keep healthy, making tile a longstanding choice in medical facilities. And top name manufacturers are adding increasing amounts of recycled content to their ceramic and glass tile products.

Excerpted from Fabulous Floors Magazine, Winter 2011.

[image by dlkinney]