Porcelain Tiles – A Detailed Guide
Porcelain tiles can add a stylish touch to any room. They are highly prized for their versatility and can be used to decorate both floors and walls. However, porcelain floor tiles are typically thicker, heavier and harder than wall tiles. In addition, porcelain floor tiles can be used both indoors and outdoors and are commonly found outdoors near swimming pools and patios.
Why are porcelain tiles preferred over ceramic? Porcelain tiles are stronger and harder than ceramic tiles. This is the result of a process that involves pressing and firing raw materials to create tiles that have lower water absorption. As a result, porcelain tiles are suitable for any application.
Porcelain tiles are available in four general types:
1. Unglazed Porcelain Tiles
Unglazed porcelain tiles are produced by dry pigmented powdered clay that is injected into a mould and then pressed and fired. This type of production creates porcelain tiles where each tile has a different pattern. Unglazed porcelain typically doesn’t require any further treatment and sealing may not actually be required.
A structured finish can be produced by pressing powder into a patterned mould. The tile then takes on the texture of the mould. This type of external tile is extremely hard wearing and is ideal for both domestic and commercial application. Typically, no sealing is required.
2. Glazed Porcelain Tiles
Glazed porcelain tiles are available in gloss, matt or semi-polished form. Glazed tiles can be created through several methods and the glazes can have either a solid colour or a pattern with a gloss or matt finish. After a porcelain tile has been glazed, it doesn’t require any further treatment or sealing.
3. Digitally Printed Porcelain Tiles
Digitally printed porcelain is another type of glazed porcelain. This is the latest method of tile production which allows for natural materials to be photographed and digitally printed onto the tile to create images that are natural in appearance. These tiles do not need to be sealed.
4. Full Bodied, Double Loaded, and Colour Bodied Porcelain Tiles
Full bodied, double loaded and colour bodied porcelain tiles are a type of tile where the colour and pattern of the tile runs all the way through the biscuit, with a single colour from the surface to the base of the tile. Double loaded tiles are made by compressing two layers of clay together. These tiles are great for high traffic areas.
Porcelain Tile Care and Maintenance
Generally the care of porcelain tiles depends on the type of tile. However, the initial cleaning of your tiles needs to be done thoroughly so that it will remove any invisible residue, such as grout haze, or wax residue to be taken off.
Regular cleaning and maintenance can be performed easily by using a cleaning solution with warm water and a mop. Bleach, harsh chemicals, steel wool, and wire brushes are abrasive and should not be used. You should only use the cleaning products that have been recommended for the specific type of tile that you purchased.
If you spill anything on the floor, make sure to clean it up right away to avoid grout stains. You should also consider using floor protectors on the legs of your furniture to avoid damage to your tiles.
Porcelain Tile Variations After It Is Installed
It is important to understand that the appearance of porcelain tiles can change after installed due to reflection and varying natural lighting. For example, the high gloss finish of porcelain tiles is sometimes likened to a mirror, it is virtually impossible for manufacturers to produce tiles that are absolutely flawless.
Before installing porcelain tiles, they should be inspected by laying the tiles prior to affixing them with adhesive. The tiles should be perfectly clean and viewed from different angles during different times of the day to observe the changes in appearance.
Porcelain Tile Edges
Porcelain tiles come in two different edge styles. Rectified tiles have straight precisely cut edges. These tiles are cut by a machine that has a watered diamond blade during the manufacturing process. This ensures that every tile has a consistent size. The straight edges allow for tighter grout joint spacing.
Pressed edge tiles have rounder and softer edges than rectified tiles. That is because these tiles are not mechanically cut. Instead the raw material is pressed to fit a mould and baked.
Porcelain Tile Sealing
The majority of Johnson Tile products are pre-sealed. As a result, sealing may only be required for select tile product lines. Generally, only full body porcelain requires sealing because of the cutting process which creates miniature micro pores in these tiles.
If your full body porcelain tiles are not pre-sealed, you should ensure that sealing is performing prior to the grouting process. In certain cases, a professional may recommend that you opt to pre-seal dark porcelain tiles in instances where a lighter coloured grout is to be used.
Porcelain Tile Installation
Porcelain tiles should be installed by professionals in order to ensure a high quality result. The process begins by first preparing the base floor. The surface of the floor must be level in order to avoid lipping and cracked tiles.
Some of the floor tiles may be need to be cut in order to fit along the edges of walls. An adhesive is then applied to the floor using a trowel or notched spreader before the tiles are applied.
After laying the tiles, the floor will be left to dry for 24 hours. After the grout must be inserted into the gaps between the tiles by using a grout spreader. The excess surface grout must then be removed using a damp cloth. Next cleaning is done to remove any remaining grout.
Contact Johnson Tiles
With five showrooms and six distribution centres across Australia and New Zealand, we keep ahead of the latest designs trends and provide a consultative shopping journey from start to finish, at competitive prices. For more information about our products, contact us on 1800 JOHNSON.