Tile: How It’s Made

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Tiles might seem like a boring subject to learn about—but in reality, they are a fascinating and very traditional form of home construction and design. The main ingredients that compose ceramic tile and the procedures that constitute its general manufacturing process have not changed much throughout the centuries. If you’re considering tile for your home, you’d better learn about the various options available to you. This will help you make an informed decision that will ensure your investment isn’t wasted, and that you have a beautiful and durable tiled area for many years to come. Read about the 2 main types of tile listed beneath for information on durability, design, and more.

Glazed Tiles:

These sturdy tiles are perfect for use in kitchens and bathrooms. Their thick, glazed upper layer makes them more stain resistant than unglazed tile, and they are exceptionally easy to clean. They provide a hard, non-porous, impermeable surface that is highly durable. When viewing the tile from the side, you’ll notice that you are able to see two layers. The body is called the bisque. The second upper layer is the glaze.

  • Stain-resistant
  • Durable
  • Impermeable surface
  • Easily cleaned

Unglazed Tile:

This type of tile is unglazed, and a solid color all the way through. It is referred to as through-body construction, and has no additional surface applications. It is more dense and durable than glazed tiles, making it suitable for use both indoors and outdoors, and especially in areas with heavy traffic or children.

  • Dense material
  • Extremely durable
  • Natural looking
  • Suitable for interior and exterior application

 

Tile Flooring Samples

The 5 Classes:

There are five classes of tiles, ranging from very little strength or durability to very high strength. These rated classes include both glazed and unglazed tiling.

Class 1:

This type of tile, usually glazed, are suitable for use only on interior walls. They are generally highly decorative glazed tiles. Floor use, counter use, or use in bathrooms is not recommended for class 1 tiles.

Class 2:

These tiles allow for light traffic, such as interior wall applications or residential bathroom flooring. The tiles may be glazed or unglazed. Areas of high traffic or excessive use may cause the tiles to crack or chip.

Class 3:

These tiles are able to handle more traffic, and can be safely used for residential floor and wall applications in various rooms of the home, including the kitchen, bathrooms, foyers, dining rooms and even family rooms. These tiles may be glazed or unglazed.

Class 4:

This class of tile is able to accommodate traffic in both residential and commercial areas. It can be used for medium to light industrial flooring and wall applications, such as in shopping malls, offices, restaurant dining rooms, showrooms, galleries, and hallways.

Class 5:

Such tiles are the strongest available. They are safe for use in extremely high traffic areas, such as airports, train stations, etc. They are even of a quality that allows for exterior placement. These tiles are generally unglazed. When purchasing tile, you’ll find its rating or class listed either on the box or in its description. If you’re unsure what a tile rating or class is, ask someone from our team for advice.

Understanding Tile Ratings:

While the classes describe the amount of durability and strength of a tile, there are other ratings to consider as you are making your tile purchase. Tiles will also be rated on their slip resistance (measured by its coefficient of friction of COF), scratch resistance, moisture absorption, chemical resistance, and breaking strength. Slip resistance is one of the most important to consider when placing tile in an area that gets wet. The higher the rating, the greater the resistance of the tile. These ratings should be provided on the box or in the item description. If you’re unsure of what ratings and class your tile should have,contact one of our team members. We can help you make the right tile purchase.

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5 Steps of Ceramic Tile Manufacturing Process:

Curious about the tile making process? This is a quick outline on how tiles are made—using methods that have been in place for centuries!

Mining

  • Process begins with the mining of the raw materials
  • Raw materials, composed of clay and minerals, are blended

Blending and Mixing

  • Introduces mud into the mix
  • Clay and mineral mixture blended and mixed into a semi-fine powder
  • Later is added to form a wet slurry or mud-like consistency
  • The slurry is pumped into a large dryer until it results in a clay powder that feels like warm, fine sand

Pressing

  • Clay is pressed or formed into a tile shape, called green tiles. This may also be done by extrusion, which forces the clay through a mold instead of pressing the tile
  • Tiles are allowed to dry entirely

Glazing

  • If the tile is to remain unglazed it skips this step and goes directly into the firing kiln, otherwise a liquid is prepared from a glass derivative called frit and colored dyes.
  • The glaze is applied by a high-pressure spray or poured onto the tile

Firing

  • The tiles are fired in the kiln at temperatures around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Monocoturra tile or single fired tiles are fired only once after the glaze is applied
  • Biocuttura or double fired tiles are fired after the green tile is dried and then fired again after the glaze is applied

After the finished tiles have been inspected for quality assurance, they are packaged, crated and ready to be shipped. Remember as you’re searching for tile for you home, that not all ceramic or porcelain tiles are created equally. Consider the class and ratings of each tiles before making a purchase. Better still,contact one our specialists to discuss tile options before you make a purchase. This is a big investment, and you want to be sure that you’ve chosen correctly!

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