What is the difference between “ceramic” and ” porcelain” tiles?
Ceramic tile is a general term to define the tile, which is made from clays along with other inorganic raw materials that are fired to hardness.
Porcelain tile, on the other hand, refers to a fully vitrified tile with water absorption less than or equal to mass fraction of 0.5%. Porcelain tiles normally have higher mechanical and chemical characteristics, which is always specified for exterior installation. They may be glazed or unglazed.
What is the difference between “porcelain” and “homogeneous” tiles?
Homogeneous tiles is a type of porcelain tiles (full body porcelain). The two common types of porcelain tiles are full body porcelain and glazed porcelain.
The colours in full body porcelain or homogeneous tiles run uniformly through its entire thickness. It will not expose its clay base when chipped.
Glazed porcelain tiles may or may not have the same colours run through its thickness because of its top layer of glaze.
What is the difference between “glazed”, “unglazed” and “polished” tiles?
Glazed tiles are ceramic tiles covered by a layer of glaze (either glossy or matte glaze). This hard glassy coating fired on top of it generally protect an image or pattern printed onto the tile surface. It also gives the tile its colour, texture and design.
Unglazed tiles don’t have the glassy finish that glazed tiles have and their colour comes from the natural look of the clay and other minerals it is made from. They are good for high-traffic areas as the colour doesn’t wear off as easily as glazed tiles (Full Body Tile – Unglazed tile, not having a glaze coating the tile body. The full body of the tile is composed of clay material giving the final colour and pattern).
Polished tiles are usually unglazed heavy duty tiles (HT) that have gone through the grinding process until the surface shines evenly to achieve a high, uniform lustre.
What is the difference between “honed”, “lappato”, “matt” & “structured” tiles?
Honed – The surface finish of a tile, glazed or unglazed, that has had its surface polished in a satin finish.
Lappato – The surface finish of tile that has been polished but not deep enough to attain the lustre of a full reflective polish.
Matt – The surface finish of a tile in matt finish
Structured – Term describing the character of the surface of the tile. There are many different types of surface structure. This unique character is given to the tile by the tile factory press.
Why are polished tiles easily stained?
Polished tiles are usually less stain resistant as the polishing process exposes microscopic pores, and spills trapped in the microscopic pores can be difficult to dislodge. It is important to quickly clean the spills before it dries.
SELECTING THE RIGHT TILES
What tiles should I use?
Choose the right type of tiles to ensure durability of the tiles for the intended function or application.
Tiles with lower water absorption rates are more compact and have higher mechanical strength. Hence, wall tiles which have higher water absorption rates and lower mechanical strength should not be used for the floor. While porcelain and floor tiles, which have lower water absorption rates and higher mechanical strength may be used for walls if desired.
A key technical property to consider for floor tiles is slip resistance for spaces with high traction or prone to being slippery.
Should I use bigger tiles? Will it cost more?
It depends on the size of your floor area. In terms of cost, it will cost slightly more than the smaller tile, but bigger tiles will always make the area look more elegant and luxurious. Visually, a smaller room can appear larger with the use of larger tiles. With a larger tile, grout lines are less frequent.
Should I choose textured-surface tiles or smooth tiles?
Textured-surface tiles provide more slip-resistance, and are suitable for households with children, babies or elderly, and for outdoors or areas susceptible to wetness, such as driveways, wet kitchens and bathrooms.
If smooth tiles are preferred, limit the application to indoor areas such as dry bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms and light cooking kitchens.
If slip resistance is a priority, note that the slip resistant characteristics on the textured-surface tile will trap dirt and will be difficult to clean.
How many tiles do I need?
Measure the areas to be tiled and have your drawing plans, sketches and measurements on-hand.
To ensure that you have sufficient tiles to complete your project, it is advisable to buy an excess to cater for wastages, breakages and future replacements. A general guide for the percentage of excess would be to add on 5% to 10% for normal installation and 15% to 20% for diagonal installation or for rooms with many curves and corners.
QUALITY & TECHNICAL QUESTIONS
How long can your tile last?
Tiles are very hard and generally more durable than other normal covering materials. If properly installed and maintained, ceramic tiles can last for many years, with porcelain known to be the longest-lasting.
Are your tiles comparable in thickness and quality to others?
Different manufacturers have different thicknesses. However, it is important to note that the thickness of tiles does not equal to the strength or durability. In fact, thickness is sometimes used to compensate the body strength. In other words, thicker tiles does not mean better tiles!
We test our tiles coming out of production daily on various properties based on the MS ISO 13006 requirements and we have compared our tiles with other brands. We are confident of our quality. A ‘good’ quality depends partly also on choosing the right tile for the right place.
Do your export and local tiles have the same standard of quality?
We do not differentiate our products into export and local tiles. All our tiles are for both export and local market. They all come out from the same production, are made from the same materials and have undergone the same quality tests.
Why do your tiles come in different tone, shade and sub-sizes?
As ceramic tiles are made of natural materials that are compressed under high pressure before being kiln-fired at high temperatures, some variations will occur. Tiles will have variations in colour tones within the same batch, and more so from batch to batch.
For some tiles, these variations are part of the design to give the tiles a natural characteristic and charm.
Why do my tiles appear to be in a different shade from the ones I selected at the showroom?
Each batch of tiles will have shade variations, as this is an inherent characteristic of ceramic tiles. It is important to dry-lay the tiles first to ensure that you are satisfied with the colour of the tiles.
It is also ideal to ensure that the lighting condition in the area being tiled is as close as possible to the final lighting condition, so that the final effect is as desired.
Do take note that in the showroom, lighting and the environment affect the visual appearance, shades and colour tone of tiles.
Why is cement not considered a grout?
Cement mix is very rigid and does not meet the minimum performance criteria in accordance with the standards of BS EN 13888 and ISO 13007-3.
A proper grout is formulated to have properties of good abrasion resistance, compressive and flexural strength, low shrinkage and low water absorption.
Why did my tile get chipped?
Tiles are fired at high temperatures, making them hard and relatively brittle (i.e. non-resilient). It is best to avoid impact from hard objects.
Why did my tile crack at the corner?
This is usually due to insufficient coverage of adhesive under the tile corners.
Why are deep cracks appearing across my tiles?
This is likely due to excessive movement in the substrate during shrinking and curing, or underlying structural issue.
Why are fine cracks appearing on the glaze of my tiles?
Known as ‘crazing’, these fine hairline cracks on the glazed surface of the tile could be due to:
- Manufacturing defect – low quality of glaze
- Excessively thick adhesive application during installation
- Mortar having high cement content, causing high shrinkage during curing.
What causes hollowness?
Hollowness can be due to:
- Insufficient adhesive coverage under the tile.
- Wrong adhesive used, resulting in poor bonding.
- Incorrect installation, allowing the adhesive to ‘skin’ before the tiles are installed.
- Using the buttering system instead of trowelling system.
Possible factors contributing to tile debonding/buckling
- Setting movement (drying shrinkage/hydraulic shrinkage)
- Tiling onto substrates (e.g. Render/Screed) that has not fully cured
- Absence of movement joints (control joint) to cater for:
- Setting movement
- Thermal movement
- Moisture movement
- Incorrect fixing specification:
- Fixing system not compatible with tiles/ stone slabs and/or substrate
- Poor workmanship (site practices):
- Abuse of products (adulteration/dilution)
- Poor substrate preparation / contaminated surface
- Contaminated tile back
- Wrong fixing system
- Settlement movement / in-elastic deformation / creep