Ceramic tile is made from clay which is baked at very high temperatures, resulting in an attractive and very hard surface. Ceramic tile is a varied material, some types glazed with a layer of liquid glass, others left untreated for a more natural, rustic appeal. It is worthwhile learning about the right kind of ceramic tile to ensure that the type you choose is the one that is most appropriate for your installation. Overall, ceramic tile is very low maintenance, particularly in terms of keeping the surface clean. Ceramic tile retains virtually no dirt and can be kept clean with water and a damp cloth or mop. Ceramic tile is also naturally fire resistant and can actually help to maintain a structure in the event of a fire, making it popular choice of flooring material by the safety conscious.
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It used to be that it took several days of “firing,” that is, baking the clay in a kiln to produce a ceramic tile durable enough for use as flooring. Now, thanks to a process called monocottura (an Italian term meaning “single fired”) by which individual tiles are fired and glazed at the same time, the production time on ceramic tile has been reduced to a matter of hours. Another advantage is a denser and therefore more durable tile with a flat back allowing for an easier installation. A similar process called bicottura (“double-fired”) breaks the process in two. The clay is fired a first time and then again with a glaze added to the layer of ceramic. Tiles in this case may be fired several times, and are generally a little less durable than monocottura ceramic tiles. Bicottura tiles should really be restricted to an indoor application, mostly as wall tiles and backsplashes because of their softer body and their glaze.
Ceramic tile grading
Much the same as other types of flooring, some of the considerations to be taken into account for ceramic tile are hardness, slip resistance, resistance to abrasion, and impact resistance. Generally, these are judged in terms of application. The decision you make as to the proposed location of your installation, and the likelihood that the type pf ceramic tile you’ve chosen will stand up to the conditions it will need to endure there should be carefully considered when choosing your ceramic tile. To aid you in making an informed decision, there is a system of ceramic tile grading which standardizes the durability of ceramic tile from the Porcelain Enamel Institute. This is what is called the PEI (or sometimes just “PE”) rating, which outlines all ceramic tile into groups according to suggested usage, specifically with the factor of foot traffic in mind. The PEI rating will be a valuable tool for anyone looking to install ceramic tile, but is unsure of which type of tile is most appropriate.
Ceramic floor tile offers a wide variety of choice and a unique aesthetic effect for your space. Due to its natural make-up and texture, ceramic floor tile can serve many of your practical requirements as well. As such, choosing ceramic floor tile is actually a very balanced choice.