Ceramic tile is a generic term that applies to a wide range of tiles made from fired clay. Ceramic floor tiles cover un-glazed tiles – often referred to as terracotta, glazed and porcelain.
When a ceramic floor tile is glazed as part of the firing process you end up with a stain resistant, scratch resistant hard wearing surface which will stand the test of time, won’t fade and is easy to clean.
Ceramic floor tiles come in a number of standard sizes and an almost unlimited range of colours and textures. They also come with different edge types. Rectified or cushion edge which we will explain later in more detail.
Are Ceramic Floor Tiles A Good Choice For My Home? You Decide!
Traditionally ceramic floor tiles where typically glazed ceramic in the standard size for floors of 300mm x 300mm and had a cushioned edge.
In recent years the porcelain tile has taken over as the tile of choice in residential housing.
The main difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles is that a porcelain tile is much more hard wearing and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. This is the result of a slightly different firing process and is certainly something to consider for having your new home built by a custom builder such as Renmark Homes.
Ceramic floor tiles are made from natural clay and are fired at a lower temperature than porcelain. The porcelain floor tile is fired at a much higher temperature for longer periods resulting in an extremely hard tile.
Types of porcelain tiles available:
Glazed porcelain: Glazed porcelain is where the tile has been manufactured with a glaze applied to the tile face similar to a ceramic tile. Once a porcelain tile has been glazed no further treatment is required in the sense that these tiles are considered non-porous and will not require sealing. The majority of the porcelain sold today are glazed.
Matt or natural porcelain: This tile comes out of the kiln in this form and undergoes no further processing. Normally, sealing is not required.
Rock finish or structured porcelain: This type of porcelain is extremely textured and quite often used for external purposes when a home is built. Normally sealing is not required.
Polished/Honed Porcelain: As the name suggests, is an elaborate technique used to machine finish the tile after the firing process. Generally, this process means that the tile will be prone to staining as the grinding will expose minute voids in the tile surface making it prone to staining. Unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer polished porcelain will require sealing and even pre-sealing. A polished or machined surface is not actually a glazed surface, so do not be fooled into thinking that polished porcelain is a glazed tile.
Unlike the ceramic tile the most popular size for a porcelain tile is 300mm x 600mm or the 600mm x 600mm. (referred to as a large format tile). You can even buy porcelain at sizes as large as 1200mm x 600mm. Sizing and lifestyle is definitely a consideration when you are designing your custom home.
All porcelain is sold with a rectified edge.
Porcelain tiles are generally more expensive to lay due to their size, hardness (cannot be cut by hand) and their edge.
What is a rectified edge?
Rectified tiles are ceramic or porcelain tiles that have been precisely machined to give them near-perfect straight edges and exact dimensions. These tiles provide a very clean, symmetrical look, and allow for extremely thin grout lines.
Rectified tiles usually have a very fine bevel around their top edge to help reduce the chance of their sharp edges chipping.
Using a tile with a rectified edge can also highlight lipping. Lipping occurs where adjacent tiles are slightly higher or lower than the tile it abuts causing a shadow line and giving the tile the appearance of unevenness.
Unrectified edge (Cushion edge)
An unrectified edge is often referred to as a cushion edge. As opposed to the rectified edge the cushion edge is rounded and softer. This makes the tile much simpler to lay as it has a wider grout line and much more forgiving where the is some slight unevenness in the floor.
With a rectified tile you also need to give some thought on how you want external edges that meet at 90 degrees. Most tilers use a metal angle in these areas. However with a porcelain tile more often than not the look required needs a mitred edge.
A mitre to a tile is done by machining a 45 degree angle off the back edge of the tile, so when two tiles meet at a corner no edge of the tile is visible.
Although this is a far superior look, the tiler will charge for the machining as it is a labour intensive task. The cheaper alternative is to use a plastic or metal trim at the edges. Both examples are shown in the pictures below.
Mitering is rarely used on floors as such, but as often is the case these days walls and floors are tiled with the same tile and as such the edge treatment is very important.
Flooring Options For New Homes
An article from our Choosing The Right Floor For Your New Homes series.
This series of articles is designed to help you explore flooring options for your new home. We hope you find this information useful in choosing the right floor for you.
Renmark Homes – Building Custom Designed Homes in Melbourne’s North West
If you have any questions about how Renmark Homes can assist you in building your new home, please contact us on 1300 367 245, or visit our contact page for further options.