• Don’t Forget About Porcelain Tile!

    Date: 2013.08.28 | Category: History of Tile, Tips and Advice | Tags: ,,,

    There are times when a proper porcelain tile is simply a better choice than ceramic. With a water absorption rate of less than .5 percent, porcelain tiles are available in glazed or unglazed varieties.

    This lower water absorption rate means that porcelain is a very durable choice for floor surfaces and areas of high wear and hard knocks. Because the material is much harder and denser compared to most ordinary ceramic tile, its usefulness in these areas is pretty clear. The dense, hard surface of porcelain can be polished to a high gloss, creating a shine without the need of a glaze.

    Here’s the thing: porcelain and ceramic aren’t actually different types of tile. They’re actually both ceramic tile. Porcelain tile is simply fired for longer and at higher temperatures that what we consider ceramic. At a glance, you really can’t tell the difference between a proper porcelain tile and a proper ceramic tile.

    Courtesy of TileLiving.com

    For durability, porcelain wins. It’s a combination of the higher kilning temperature and a higher concentration of feldspar. The resulting density can be a pain to cut and fabricate at the DIY-level. Ceramic tile is quite a bit easier to cut — by hand, wet tile saw, or snap tile cutter.

    Generally speaking, porcelain tends to be a bit more brittle compared to ceramic, so exercise care if you’re going to attempt cutting it yourself.

    Here’s an installation tip: Be sure to allow enough time for your thin-set to dry before applying any grout. Because porcelain absorbs so little moisture, the only place where the water content from thin set can escape is through the grout joints. Allow at least 24 hours before grouting. This will allow excess moisture enough time to evaporate. Trapped moisture can cause a host of problems with your installation.

    Note as well: typical ready-mix adhesives are not recommended for porcelain due to the material’s weight and density. Only use adhesives specially formulated for use with porcelain.