Porcelain tile is a durable and beautiful product that enhances floors, countertops, and walls. Porcelain floor tile is beautiful, durable, and easy to take care of when properly installed. Porcelain tile floors add a touch of elegance to any home or office they adorn. One question for you to evaluate is ceramic tile vs porcelain — which one fits your style and budget best.
Porcelain tile flooring has been the choice of emperors, royalty, and priveledged people for centuries. Now it’s readily available for you too from stores ranging from flooring specialty companies to wholesale porcelain tile outlets.
Porcelain is made up of tiles that are made of fired clays and crushed stones. While this makes porcelain flooring similar in manufacture to ceramic floors, porcelain is often considered the more luxurious and valuable product. Porcelain tile is prized as a flooring material because of its hardness. This type of floor offers the customer:
- Lasting, hard tile floors
- Easy cleaning
- Low moisture absorption
- Colors variety
With those advantages come disadvantages, including:
- High prices
- Lack of uniformity of size and shape
Made Similarly to Other Ceramics
Porcelain is made similarly to other ceramics, although it is generally fired at higher temperatures. Porcelain tiles for the floor are made by combining natural products such as crushed China stone (a type of feldspar) and kaolinite with chemicals that give the porcelain strength. The “mud” is pressed, shaped, and glazed, then fired in a kiln at temperatures of 1200-1350 degrees Celsius (2192-2462 Fahrenheit). Before firing, some tiles may be given a coat of colored enamel to give the tiles a color or design. The resulting tiles are durable and slightly translucent.
Because of the high temperatures during firing, porcelain tiles have a very high hardness rating. The MOH (measure of hardness rating developed by the Porcelain Enamel Institute) of porcelain floor tiles varies with manufacturers, but tiles with a MOH rating of 6 or 7 are quite common. This very high hardness rating puts porcelain tile well above other flooring options when it comes to durability.
Porcelain has a long history. Used in China since the early Han Dynasty, old Chinese porcelain art tiles being one example we can see today, and in Europe since the early 1700s, porcelain has been used for many decorative and functional purposes. In Europe, Italian porcelain tile being some of the most prized, places of worship and fine homes began using decorative porcelain tiles for floors and walls, creating durable and elegant entranceways and artwork.One drawback of porcelain is that tiles of this materials are not perfectly uniform in size, which can make installing porcelain tiles rather challenging. Porcelain tiles are fired in a kiln at such high temperatures that they generally become slightly distorted. When selecting porcelain flooring tiles, then, you will need to take extra care to choose the most uniform tiles you can. Working with porcelain tile during installation can be frustrating, or it can be an artistic endeavor with beautiful and interesting results.
Helps Reduce the Problems that Uneven Tiles Can Cause
Some homeowners find that having a professional install the porcelain tiles can also helps reduce the problems that uneven tiles can cause. They can also better handle porcelain tile cutting because they have the right tools and experince. Pricing porcelain tile installation has to be part of your consideration when evaluating the use of these tiles. Another small drawback of porcelain is its higher cost. Since the tiles are considered stronger and since they take more energy and heat to make, they often carry higher prices than other flooring materials.
Porcelain has many advantages as a flooring material, however. It is considered one of the strongest fired flooring options today. This type of tile simply provides a durability that is hard to match. Porcelain tile flooring is also very decorative, coming in a wide variety of glazes and finishes, ranging from matte to high gloss looks. Some porcelain tile even has a translucent look reminiscent of glass or gems. Many homeowners also appreciate the convenience of porcelain.
Cleaning Porcelain Floors
Cleaning porcelain floors is often as simple as using a damp mop and all-purpose cleaner. Mop your tile floor using warm water and a clean, nonabrasive cloth, mop or sponge. Cleaning products for porcelain tile help remove soils that sweeping, vacuuming or damp mopping leave behind. Part of the care for porcelain tile involves not only sealing the tile and grout after installation, but also removing dirt and grime regularly to help preserve the finish and look of porcelain floors. With a good glaze, stains are rare. Since porcelain tile is also has a very low moisture absorption rate, it is the perfect solution for bathrooms and kitchens. The low absorption rate can also help ensure high air quality in a home as the floor tile will not absorb chemicals and other unwanted substances.
Your home is your castle, and now you can make it look like that of royalty without emptying your coffers. If you need a high-quality flooring solution with a high hardness rating, porcelain tiles may be a great investment for you. The beauty and durability of these tiles is sure to please you for many years.