Choosing Ceramic Tiles: Here’s What You Need to Know

When choosing tiles for your home, it is often difficult to choose the right one. Ceramic tile is one of the most appropriate types of tile that makes everything more elegant and sober. They are perfect for high-traffic areas such as the hallway, kitchen, bathroom or living room. Tiled walls, in turn, are an impressive decoration in the kitchen or bathroom. However, it is essential to choose tiles for a specific area and to take into account their parameters. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right type of tile and know their parameters.

For example, low-fired or bisque tile is generally less expensive but less durable than high-fired tile. Even if the tile has been glazed, it may have undergone only one firing and most likely only a low-temperature firing. The fact that it is glossy and colored does not indicate that it has the durability of a high-temperature tile. Glassware – ceramic that has dried but not been fired, can be glazed with a low-fire glaze and fired at a relatively low temperature.

Such a ceramic tile would not be suitable for certain applications. For example, if you intend to use the tile for a backsplash, countertop or table top, you will need a very durable tile that will withstand frequent cleaning and, in the case of a countertop, heavy use as well. Stoneware clays are best suited for this type of use. Stoneware is normally fired at a temperature of about 6 degrees and is very durable.

But in your investigation, don’t stop at the nature of the clay from which the tiles are made. Glazes vary enormously, and even so-called “food-grade” glazes can release chemicals, stain and lose their color. Many manufactured tiles are poorly made and cannot be used as intended on the market. Of course, there are also some excellent ceramic tiles available, so it is important to find out for sure. So you need to inquire to be sure. However, this information can be readily available.

The type of tile ornamentation is also important. For a ceramic countertop or table top, the tiles must be flat. Tiles may have low relief for a backsplash, but high relief will be difficult to clean and is generally not recommended.

Fireplaces, murals, mosaics and facades can be flat, low relief or high relief, and low fire glazes are acceptable in these applications. However, be careful in areas that will be heavily used, such as around a chimney where logs or fireplace tools will be placed. Low-relief tiles and glazes can crack or flake much faster than stoneware and high-relief glazes. Also, if it is an area that will require frequent cleaning, high relief can be troublesome.

For ceramic walls in dry areas with little physical contact, most tiles and glazes are adequate. For wet areas, flat tile, low relief or even high relief tile can be used provided it is not in a hazardous area where a body could inadvertently come into contact. A large frog jumping from the wall of your shower at body height is probably not a good idea.

Porous tiles are not suitable for wet areas. As long as the tile is vitreous – has been baked to maturity so that the crystal structure is unified – the tile or glaze is OK. However, the joints between the tiles will have to be sealed. Again, it is best to choose a stoneware tile that has been fired at high temperatures with a reliable glaze.

Floor covering presents other challenges and opportunities. Floor tiles must be durable, which is why high-temperature porcelain stoneware is the best choice. Relief is not recommended, as uneven surfaces can be difficult to walk on, especially for the elderly. Another factor to consider for floor tiles is thickness. It is not recommended to use a glossy glaze on a floor. A highly textured glaze or a matte glaze is preferable.

Outdoor use in cold climates requires tiles with high firing temperatures and reliable glazes, especially on horizontal surfaces. Tile with a low firing temperature and even porous can be used outdoors in freezing weather on a vertical surface. However, it is always preferable to use frost-resistant tile in cold climates.

The Tile Gallery is an excellent starting point, which will help you find a tile and even a tile dealer.

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