If you’re thinking of renovating your home, one of the first things that likely comes to mind is flooring. Since you’ll be walking on it everyday, choosing the right flooring option to fit your needs and your lifestyle is a crucial part of any renovation. One tile style that will never fail to leave you floored is glazed porcelain. These tiles are made in a very similar way to ceramic tiles, and can be used as both floor and wall coverings. Due to their durability, these tiles can also be used outdoors, helping you achieve the perfect patio. Plus, with a water absorption rate of less than 0.5 percent, these tiles are as resistant to humidity as they are beautiful. Read on to learn everything you need to know about glazed porcelain.
What Exactly Are Glazed Porcelain Tiles?
First things first, let’s learn what glazed porcelain tiles are made of. The answer: clay. The tiles also go through a thorough firing process to give them their desired, glossy finish. They are a little less durable than their unglazed cousins, but the glazing process allows for a wider range of styles and colours to help you get exactly the appearance you’re looking for. Not to mention that it makes them less vulnerable to staining.
Glazed or Unglazed?
Now let’s take a look at the differences between glazed and unglazed porcelain tiles. If you’re looking to lay tiles in places like the bathroom, the shower, or the pool area, you’ll definitely want to go with something slip resistant to stay safe. In this case, unglazed tiles are the better option as they are less slippery. Unglazed tiles also are great for exterior or high-traffic areas, and are a little easier on the wallet compared to glazed porcelain tiles.
However, although unglazed tiles are durable and slip resistant, they may not give you the look and sleek finish you want for your home. Plus, unglazed tiles are also less resistant to staining, so their look won’t hold up to general wear and tear quite as well – especially if your home is prone to spills! Glazed tiles, meanwhile, are attractive, inviting and require only very simple upkeep. Their inherent sheen will shine through even dusty floors and a quick mop will always return them to their glossy glory. They are pricier than unglazed tiles, but once you’re staring at your beautifully sleek floor, it will all be worth it.
But what about Slipperiness? Durability? Waterproof-ness?
Though it may not be immediately evident from their glossy finish, you’re really no more likely to slip on glazed porcelain tiles than any matte finished tiles. Obviously water will make glazed tiles more slippery, but the same can be said for any other type of floor. If you really want to, you can even use glazed porcelain in your shower.
Typically, porcelain tiles are denser and much less porous than ceramic. This means that they are highly water-resistant, making them great options for spill-prone rooms like the kitchen or bathroom. So go ahead and make a mess! Due to their density, porcelain tiles are also generally more durable than ceramic. And as mentioned, they tend to be more resistant to staining, because of their protective glass layer. What more do you need?
Uses for Glazed Tiles
Glazed porcelain tiles work best indoors and will really add to the aesthetic of your home. They are great for kitchens, bathrooms, and even squeaky clean laundry rooms. Due to the glazing process, these tiles are available in a wide array of colours, allowing you to achieve just about any look you desire. Go ahead and get creative.
Glazed tiles are also often used as kitchen backsplashes, giving you the flexibility to choose a colour scheme to match the style of your space. Because of their durability and scratch resistance, glazed tiles are long-lasting and can stand anything the kitchen might throw at them.
How Glazed Porcelain Tiles Are Made
The process of making porcelain has been around for centuries and was often seen throughout history in the homes of the elite and in bathing areas and spas. Created from natural products extracted from the earth, the tiles are shaped into squares and then fired in kilns. Let’s look at just how glazed tiles are made.
Step 1: The Basics
Mining the natural and organic raw materials is the first step in the process. The base is a mixture of clay and minerals, with 50% made from a material called feldspar.
Step 2: The Transformation
After extraction, the mixture is blended into a semi-fine powder. Water is then added to create a mud-like consistency, called the slurry. Next, the slurry is pumped into a large dryer. Once it has been thoroughly dried, the slurry transforms into a fine clay powder that feels and looks like warm sand.
Step 3: The Shape
The sand is now pressed and formed into a tile shape. At this stage, the tiles are referred to as “green tiles.” Some manufacturers use a method called extrusion, which replaces the pressing step of the traditional process, as the tiles are shaped through a mold. However, the most popular method remains the pressing and forming. Once this has been done, the “green tiles” are dried to remove moisture.
Step 4: The Glaze
Now it’s time for the glazing. The glazing liquid is prepared from a glass derivative called frit. Frit and coloured dyes are mixed together to create the desired look and the glaze is then applied either by a high-pressure spray, or poured directly onto the tile.
Step 5: The Heat
Time to bring the heat! After the glazing step is completed, the ceramic tiles are fired in a kiln at an extremely high temperature. This is where the harder and denser properties of the glazed tiles come from. And voila! The tiles are now ready for use.
Overall, glazed porcelain tiles are a great option if you’re in search of a colour and stain-resistant tile to make your kitchen or bathroom room truly shine. With so many options and styles available, you’ll be sure to find something perfect for you and your space. Check out our porcelain tile collection to learn more.