• Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What are ceramic tiles made of?

    Just like all ceramic products ceramic tiles are made from a mixture of clay, sand and other natural materials. Most often, the mixture is pressed or extruded into the shape of a tile and then fired at high temperatures (somewhere between 1000°C and 1250°C).

    What’s the difference between porcelain and ceramic tile?

    Most types of tiles are made from clay and a mixture of other materials and then fired at very high temperatures to create a dense, durable surface.

    Ceramic tiles, or non-porcelain tiles, are usually made from white or red clay, are fired in a kiln and coated in a glaze that gives it color. They work for both floor and wall applications, but are usually softer and easier to cut than porcelain tile. Carry a PEI rating of 0 to 3, or light to medium traffic. No-porcelain tiles are good for light to moderate traffic but are more prone to chipping, scratches and wear than porcelain tiles.

    Porcelain tiles are usually made from porcelain clays and are fired at much higher temperatures, which make them even more dense and durable than non-porcelain tiles. True porcelain tiles have a water absorption rate of less than 0.5 percent, giving them frost resistant. Some porcelain tiles are glazed with color like ceramic tiles. Other porcelain tiles are “full body”, which means the tile carries its color throughout its entire thickness making them impervious to wear and appropriate for high traffic areas. Most porcelain tiles today have a PEI rating of 5, or suitable for heavy-duty traffic.

    How do I clean ceramic tile?

    Ceramic tile is very easy to clean and requires very little maintenance to keep it in pristine condition. Here are a few tips:

    Keep a mat by the front door to trap dust and dirt
    Sweet, vacuum or dry-mop regularly
    Wipe spills with a damp sponge
    Use water and common household cleaners for mopping

    What is the difference between wall and floor tiles?

    Wall tiles (because they are not intended to be load bearing) are typically thinner, lighter and softer than floor tiles. Wall tile glazes are not designed to handle the abrasive forces from foot traffic. Increasingly, floor tiles are being applied to walls and this is no problem so long as the walls are strong enough to support their weight and proper ceramic tile installation methods are used. However, it is not usual to recommend using wall tiles in floor applications.

    How many tiles do I need?

    Tiles are usually sold by the square feet, so the area to be tiled needs to be carefully measured to establish how many square feet are involved. This can be done by your architect, builder or preferably your tile setter. Note that there is always a degree of “wastage” resulting from the cuts required to achieve your tile layout. The

    contingency allowance for wastage is best estimated by your tile setter, but is typically between +5% and +15%, depending on the tiles being used and the complexity of the particular design and layout. Also, consider that it is always wise to keep several spare tiles just in case replacements are required at a later date.

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