What are ceramic floor tiles and how are they made?
Ceramic floor tiles are made of clay, sand, and other natural minerals. They are molded into the desired shape, colored, then fired at temperatures between 1000°C and 1250°C.
What are porcelain floor tiles and how are they made?
Porcelain floor tiles are made of a type of ceramic composed of fine grained porcelain clay and minerals. They are shaped and then fired at temperatures often higher than other types of ceramic, making them extremely solid and moisture resistant. They have a water absorption rate below 0.5%.
How does porcelain tile differ from ceramic tile?
Ceramic is actually a term used to cover a range of clay based products while porcelain is a specific type of ceramic. However, there are porcelain and non-porcelain ceramics. Porcelain is made from porcelain clay fired at an extremely high temperature. It is very strong and has a water absorption rate below 0.5%. The average PEI rating of porcelain is 5. Non-porcelain ceramic is made from red and white clay and is fired at a lower temperature. It is also not as durable or moisture resistant as porcelain and the average PEI range is 0-3.
What is a ceramic tile PEI rating and why is it useful to me?
The PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating is a 0-5 rating used to determine the abrasion resistance of ceramic tile. Here is a brief breakdown:
PEI 0 - Very little abrasion resistance and is only recommended for walls or other no-traffic areas.
PEI 1 - Recommended for very light traffic residential areas where hard bottom slippers and shoes will not be worn.
PEI 2 – Recommended for light traffic residential areas where shoes are not worn.
PEI 3 – Recommended for medium traffic areas. Tiles with this rating are usually okay for walking on in shoes, but they are not recommended for rooms with outside access.
PEI 4 – Recommended for medium-heavy traffic area, these work well in most areas of the home including those with outside access.
PEI 5 – Suitable for high traffic areas, this type of tile is the most durable.
What are the benefits of ceramic tile flooring?
Ceramic tile flooring is an extremely durable, long lasting choice. It is often moisture, stain, and wear resistant and is very easy to clean and maintain. It is available in an array of colors, shapes, sizes, and designs and can be installed in almost any situation.
What are the disadvantages of ceramic tile floors?
Tile flooring can be hot or cold to the touch depending on the temperature of the air. Also, glazed tile or tile flooring that is often wet can be slippery. Although it is stronger and more moisture resistant that some other flooring options, ceramic tile floors can crack, chip, or have other issues. It can also be more expensive and difficult for a self-installer to tackle.
What are the differences between stone and ceramic tiles?
Stone is often cut showing the natural texture of the rock itself, which tends to have variations, fissures, and other possible flaws. However, its unique, natural beauty is hard to match. Ceramic flooring is a manufactured product that offers a more consistent and uniform surface. Stone flooring tends to require more maintenance as it requires periodic professional deep cleaning and is also porous, making it less stain resistant. Stone is usually much higher priced, especially the more exotic options.
What tile flooring colors and designs are available?
The options are almost unlimited. Tile flooring can be produced in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and designs. It comes in many different styles including rustic, contemporary, traditional, and so on. Ceramic tile floors can also mimic the appearance of natural stone or wood.
How do glazed and unglazed floor tiles differ?
Glazed floor tiles have been coated with a glassy finish which often incorporates color, texture, or design, and is fired at very high temperatures. Unglazed floor tiles do not have this surface as the color comes from the body of the tile itself. This can be natural color from the clay or other minerals or can be added to the mixture before forming and firing the tiles. Because the color extends through the entire tile, these are great for high traffic areas as they do not show wear as easily.
What is the average lifetime of tile flooring?
When properly installed and maintained, ceramic tile floors can last a lifetime. Unglazed tile shows less wear than glazed tile and will last longer in high traffic areas. Porcelain tile is known to be the longest lasting.
Are ceramic tile floors an expensive choice and are they worth it
Ceramic tile floors tend to cost more than some other flooring choices, such as vinyl, but the benefits often make up the difference. Tile flooring can last a lifetime without needing replacement, and it is easy to maintain. Most ceramic tile will also increase the perceived value of your home.
Where can tile flooring be installed?
Tile flooring is extremely versatile and can be installed in almost any situation above, below, or on grade. Many tile floors are frost, heat, and moisture resistant and can be installed outdoors for porches, pool decks, patios, and so on. Glazed tiles and wet tiles can become slippery and are not recommended in areas where this may be a problem. Ceramic tile is great in kitchens, entryways, or other areas that require a tough, durable surface. Refer to the PEI rating to find the best ceramic tile flooring for your situation.
How is tile flooring installed?
The most common method involves affixing the floor tile to the substrate using an adhesive or mortar, then filling the joints with grout. However, there have been advancements in tile floor installation, and some manufactures offer click or snap together floor tiles, which are much easier for a self installer to tackle.
Is tile flooring recommended for a self-installer?
Tile flooring is not usually recommended for a self-installer. This is because it is a complicated process and requires special tools to cut and install the tile. Click or snap together ceramic tiles are much easier to self-install.
How many floor tiles do I need?
1. Divide the floor into rectangles.
2. Measure the length and width of each individual rectangle.
3. Multiply the length by the width of each individual rectangle.
4. Add your total for each rectangle together to get the total square footage.
5. Add an additional 5-10% (depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations) of the total square footage to cover the waste factor.
How do I choose the right grout for my tile floors?
You should choose a color that blends with the colors in the floor tile. The color of the grout will slightly vary in each installation due to different environmental factors and installation methods, so finding an exact match may be difficult. Darker grout tends to be easier to keep clean, but modern grout is often stain and mildew resistant so maintenance is very simple.
Will there be variations in floor tiles in the same box?
Yes, floor tiles will have slight variations in color, texture, or markings due to the way they is manufactured. This adds character and style to your tile floors. You should always inspect your purchase before installation to make sure you are happy with it.
Can I walk on my tile floor and mop it immediately after installation?
It is not recommended that you walk on your tile floor after installation until the grout and any other adhesive used has had ample time to dry. This will vary from product to product so be sure to check with the manufacturer for their recommendations.
How should I clean and maintain my tile floors?
Tile floors are actually very easy to clean and maintain and no resealing or refinishing is needed. You should sweep or vacuum up dirt and debris and clean any spills with a damp cloth or sponge. When needed, mop with a solution recommended by your manufacturer. Keep mats by outside entrances to trap dirt and debris before they can enter your home. White or light grout lines may become soiled, in which case you should consult your manufacturer for the best way to bring them back to their original color.
Can I wax or refinish my ceramic tile floors?
No, ceramic tile flooring does not require waxing or refinishing. A simple cleaning will usually restore its beauty.