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Ceramic Tile FAQ's

What are ceramic floor tiles?

Ceramic floor tiles are made mostly of clay, with the addition of sand, and other natural minerals. They have been used for indoor and outdoor flooring for thousands of years. They can be glazed or unglazed.

How are ceramic floor tiles made?

First the clay is molded into a desired shape. Next it is colored. Then it is fired in a kiln at very hot temperatures ranging between 1000°C - 1250°C (1832° - 2282° F). Glazed ceramic tiles require a second firing.

What are porcelain floor tiles? How are they made?

Porcelain floor tiles are made of a type of ceramic composed of fine-grained porcelain clay and minerals. They are shaped and then fired at very high temperatures. By doing so, they become extremely solid and moisture resistant. They have a water absorption rate below 0.5%.

How does porcelain tile differ from ceramic tile?

Ceramic tiles are any kiln-fired clay-based tiles. Porcelain tile is a specific type of ceramic tile. It is made from porcelain clay and is fired at extremely high temperatures. It is a very dense tile and virtually does not absorb water. Porcelain is the hardest and strongest commercial tile available. The average PEI rating of porcelain is 5.

Non-porcelain ceramic is made from various red and white clays. It does not need to be fired at as high a temperature, and is not as durable or moisture resistant as porcelain. The average PEI range of non-Porcelain tiles is 0-3./p>

What is a ceramic tile PEI rating?

The PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) uses a 0-5 rating system for the abrasion resistance of ceramic tile:

PEI 0 = Very little abrasion resistance. Recommended for walls and extremely light traffic areas.
PEI 1 = Some abrasion resistance. Recommended for walls and extremely light traffic
PEI 2 = Recommended for light traffic areas where soft-soled shoes will be worn.
PEI 3 = Recommended for medium traffic areas. Tiles with this rating are usually okay for walking on in shoes, but they are not recommended for rooms with outside access.
PEI 4 = Recommended for heavy-duty traffic areas. Recommended for medium-heavy traffic areas.
PEI 5 = recommended for extra heavy-duty traffic areas. This type of tile is the most durable.

Corporate Floors U.S.A. will recommend the right rating for your application.

What are the benefits of ceramic tile flooring?

Ceramic tile flooring offers several advantages. It is:

  • Durable—it lasts for years and years.
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Moisture and stain resistance
  • Hygienic—resisting bacteria and allergens
  • Resistant to wear and high temperatures
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Available in an incredible choice of shapes, designs, sizes and colors
  • Can be installed almost anywhere

What are the disadvantages of ceramic tile floors?

Ceramic tiles can feel hot or cold. They are rigid and hard to stand on for extended hours. They can get slippery when wet, especially glazed tile. Despite their strength, ceramic tile floors can crack or chip if not properly installed or if subjected to enough force.

What are the differences between stone and ceramic tiles?

Stone is a natural material with an intrinsic beauty. The surface of stone is varied. Ceramic tiles are manufactured products, offering a more uniform surface. Stone flooring requires periodic professional deep cleaning while ceramic tile is relatively easy to clean. Stone is porous, making it more susceptible to staining, and stone is usually much more expensive than ceramic tiles.

What tile flooring colors and designs are available?

The options for tile flooring are only limited by your imagination. They can be produced in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and designs. Available styles run from contemporary to traditional, from a rustic appearance to a high-tech look. Ceramic tile floors can also be made to resemble natural materials like wood or stone.

How do glazed and unglazed floor tiles differ?

Unglazed floor tiles are homogenous, where the color runs throughout. This can be natural color from the clay or other minerals, or can be added to the mixture before the tiles are formed and fired. Because the color extends through the entire tile, these are ideal for high traffic areas because they do not show wear as easily.

Glazed floor tiles are like unglazed ones with a baked-in glass-like finish. This finish requires a second firing and may incorporate a color, texture, or design (This is not possible in an unglazed tile.) Glazing helps protect against staining, dirt and grime, and glazed tiles are easier to clean, but it can also make the surface more slippery, especially when wet.

What is the average lifetime of tile flooring?

Ceramic tile floors can last a lifetime with proper installation and maintenance. Unglazed tile shows less wear than glazed tile and will survive longer in high traffic areas. Porcelain tile lasts the longest.

Where can tile flooring be installed?

Versatility is one of the great assets of ceramic tile floors. Because they stand up well to heat, moisture, and frost, they can be installed indoors and outdoors, at, above or below grade level. Ceramic tiles work hard in high-use areas like kitchens, restrooms and entryways. Their tough, durable surface holds up against traffic and spills. Refer to the PEI rating to find the ceramic tile flooring that is right for your need.

How is tile flooring installed?

In most cases, the floor tile is affixed to the substrate by using an adhesive or mortar, and then filling the joints with grout. There have been some advancements made in tile floor installation, and some manufacturers offer click- or snap-together floor tiles.

How do I choose the right grout for tile floors?

The color you choose for grout ideally coordinates with the color of the floor tile. You can choose to offset the floor tile color with a somewhat lighter or darker shade or you can match the tile as closely as possible. It is difficult to achieve an exact match between floor tile and grout color because the grout color will vary slightly with each installation due to environmental factors.

Will there be variations in floor tiles in the same box?

Yes. The manufacturing of floor tiles allows for some tolerance. Subtle variations in color, texture or markings are not only unavoidable—they are desirable—as they add natural warmth, and help to blend in any future markings from wear.

How soon can traffic be allowed on a new tile floor?

The adhesive used requires ample time to dry. While it is setting up, you should not walk on the tile floor. The time necessary for drying will vary from product to product. Corporate Floors U.S.A. and manufacturer recommendations should be followed.

How should we clean and maintain tile floors?

Maintaining tile floors is easy, usually only requiring a cleaning. Sweep or vacuum periodically. Use a damp cloth or sponge to clean spills. As necessary, mop with a solution recommended by your manufacturer. Mats by outside entrances are excellent for trapping dirt and debris. Should white or light grout lines become soiled, consult Corporate Floors U.S.A. or the manufacturer for the best way to restore them.

Can we wax or refinish ceramic tile floors?

No. Ceramic tile floors look and perform better without waxing or refinishing. To maintain original beauty, a simple cleaning will usually suffice.

 

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