Tiles 101 — Categories and Performances


Tiles come in a variety of materials each one of which presents its own peculiarities and, rest assured, unmistakable charm. Here’s a list of our main tiles categories.

1.Porcelain tiles (stoneware)

They are simply the go-to place when starting talking about tiles. Their thickness varies from as little as 2 mm (wall covering) to as much as 30 mm (paving) and they’re easy to take care of in a sense that they don't require any particular care except for periodical cleaning with mild, neutral soaps and lukewarm water. Porcelain tiles withstand pretty much anything except for aggressive acidic substances. Just make sure you effectively use specific thickness tiles depending on your purpose. For standard residential applications, like floor and walls, anything between the 6 and 12 mm it’s totally fine while, for outdoor and “heavy traffic” applications like driveways, warehouses and shopping centres, 20 mm thick is warmly recommended.

2.Ceramic tiles (low density)

The forefather of stoneware. Ceramic differs from porcelain for the temperature they’re cooked in kilns allowing the two materials a different grade of vitrification. Ceramic tiles are often referred to as “low density” or “wall” tiles as they’re less dense hence more porous than porcelain and for this reason more suitable for light or no foot traffic at all making them ideal as wall covering being easier to cut, handle and transport too. Depending on the kind of glaze they’re covered with, they can pretty much be maintained and cleaned the same way as porcelain. The only difference being to observe caution in rubbing with chemicals as they can get stained or scuffed due to the nature of their body and thin glaze (outer layer).

3. Fired clay tiles (terracotta)

These kind of tiles are usually stunning and unique, yes they are! They’re essentially delicate, definitely much more than any porcelain or ceramic made product. One should keep in mind that they’re meant to be taken good care of due to the manufacturing process. Glazed clay tiles are suitable on walls, splashbacks, bathtubs and showers as these are places one normally treads barefoot on. Also, as they’re glazed they don’t require pre and after laying and periodical sealing. Unglazed clay - i.e. terracotta - can be used on floors given they’re at least 15/16mm thick and a suitable adhesive and grout are used. Unglazed terracotta tiles have to be sealed before and after laying or they’ll get stained by the grout and, periodical sealing is required depending on the actual wear and tear they’re put through.

" ..stunning and unique, yes they are ❤"

4. Handmade Cement tiles (encaustic)

These are basically as cool as the fired clay tiles with the only exception they're actually heavier and tougher meaning they can be used regardless on floor and walls. The only downside is gradual discolouration if extensively and constantly exposed to UV rays. For this reason, they're recommended on porches, covered alfresco, indoor and outdoor showers, powder rooms, laundries and in any place in need of strong character and that warm "aged" feel. Cement encaustic tiles also come in a variety of shapes, colours and patterns and the fact they're hand made makes them even more rare and appealing.

5. Marble/cement (terrazzo)

Traditional terrazzo, likewise encaustic tiles, are a mix of sand, cement and stones, marble in this case, mechanically pressed together to result into bold solid concrete tiles. They pretty much have similar properties and performances of cement tiles, the only difference is their peculiar look that it's brought by the earthy and vibrant marble chunks clearly visible on the surface.

6. Natural stone tiles

These are the tiles people started using at the beginning of our civilizations, regardless of the region in the world. Natural stone has been mined and used as building materials for centuries, even millennia. It goes to say there's nothing as authentic and "alive" as natural stone tiles. But, how does it perform in modern homes? Well, they'll last forever and will look awesome the more time goes by as natural stone is indeed susceptible to scratches, stains and dents but that's exactly where it's inherent value comes from.

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