Italian Designers Take Ceramic Tile to a New Level
At Coverings, the international trade fair for ceramic and stone tile held last month in Atlanta, two Italian firms and their designers showed American audiences how sophisticated ceramic tile can be.
While many ceramic tiles today look exactly like real marble, Italian designer Giovanni Barbieri has taken things about 10 steps further. Read More.
Porcelain vs Ceramic Tile
There are lots of things to think about when you’re picking tile for floors, walls and accents, and one of them is material. Which one to choose depends partly on what you’re using it for. They’re different across a number of characteristics. Porcelain is made from a more specific type of heavily refined clay, while ceramic tile can come from different types of clay or silicate.
Porcelain tile is most commonly made from white clay. Ceramic tile can be white, though it more typically takes on a range of red or brown tones from the clay used. It’s more likely than porcelain to be glazed, either to a matte finish or a heavily shined, glossy finish, in a variety of colors or patters, and lends itself well to mosaics.
Porcelain is made from a more refined mixture of clay and is fired at much higher temperatures than ceramic is, so not only is the material more homogenous, it’s denser and heavier, and also less porous, which makes it more water-resistant and stain-resistant. It should be noted that ceramic tiles are porous enough that they can sometimes let water seep through into the structure and cause damage.
There are a number of factors that affect how well the tile wears, and individual batches can vary quite a bit. Glazed tile of either type can be more susceptible to cracking. Porcelain more often tends to wear well because of its density, and can be less likely to chip. It can even be stronger than some types of stone. As already mentioned, it resists stains and water more easily.
Porcelain has tended to be used more in commercial settings or outdoors because of its durability. It can also be quite a bit more expensive, so cost is something to consider for larger tiling projects in particular. Costs may sometimes be lower than in the past for porcelain, although costs for both types can sometimes vary, along with the strength of the specific batch. Uniform porcelain tile that’s homogenous and unglazed is generally the most expensive.