Ceramic & Porcelain Tile - Information & Care

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile - Information, Care & Maintenance 

Both beautiful and durable, ceramic and porcelain tile are one of the most sustainable, easy to clean, and low maintenance materials for home projects. The tiles themselves are generally made from a mixture of water, sand, and clay and then fired in a hot kiln at various temperatures for a strong product that’ll last through the years.

What is the difference between ceramic tile and porcelain tile?

Although produced from similar raw materials, the differences between porcelain and ceramic tile are found primarily in their composition and manufacturing processes. 

Porcelain tile is made using a mixture of finely ground and packed clay that is fired at a temperature between 1,200 and 1,400 °C making it more impermeable to water even without being glazed. Porcelain tiles can be installed on floors, walls, interiors, exteriors, and wet spaces due to its advanced durability. Porcelain tile collections that meet the DCOF of >0.42 are also suitable for high-traffic commercial spaces.

Ceramic tiles are more porous and often have a higher water absorption rate than their porcelain counterpart, making them less frost resistant and more prone to wear and chipping. Ceramic tile is ideal for interior walls (both wet and dry) and backsplashes thanks to its easy to clean and stain resistant properties. Although some ceramic tile can be used on residential floors, it is always best to avoid installing ceramic tile in high-traffic areas.

Be sure to always check the technical data on the bottom of each product page for accurate information on installation, shade variations, size/thickness, the finish and more to be sure you are choosing the right tile for the design of your dreams.

How much tile should I purchase?

Tiles are usually sold by the square foot, so the area to be tiled needs to be carefully measured by your builder, architect, or tile setter to establish how many square feet are involved.  Note that there is always a degree of “wastage” resulting from the cuts required to achieve your layout. The contingency allowance for wastage is best estimated by your tile setter, but is typically between +10% and +15%, depending on the tiles being used and the complexity of the particular design. It is also always wise to keep several spare tiles just in case replacements are required at a later date.

Do I need to seal my ceramic or porcelain tile?

Glazed tiles do not have to be sealed. For unglazed, crackle glazed, and polished tiles the use of a penetrating sealer is required prior to grouting. A penetrating sealer is one that does not leave a coating on top of the tile. Rather, these sealers assist in filling the microscopic surface pores. Top finishes and waxes, those that become a coating over the tile and grout joints, are not recommended as they will alter the appearance and slip-resistance of the tile.

How do I clean my ceramic or porcelain tile?

Ceramic and porcelain tile, for the most part, require minimal care and maintenance. In standard residential applications both can be cleaned with an initial sweep or vacuum, followed by the use of clean water and a tile cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. Regular maintenance is recommended to avoid build-up of dirt, residue, grease, soap, detergents, and other external contaminants. For grip and/or textured finish tiles more agitation should be applied while cleaning.

Are ceramic and porcelain environmentally friendly?

Ceramic and porcelain tile are some of the most environmentally friendly surface materials available. First, tile is energy efficient. Its inherent thermal mass reduces peak heating and cooling, which helps moderate temperature swings. This means less work for your HVAC system and more energy savings for you.

The raw materials used to make tile are also generally found within 500 miles of manufacturing facilities, dramatically reducing the energy and emissions that come from long-distance shipping before the product is even produced.

Made from natural ingredients and free from toxic chemicals, tile also keeps your home healthy by avoiding exposure to harmful contaminants. Ceramic and porcelain contains zero allergens, VOCs, formaldehyde, or PVC that are known to cause a variety of health problems such as allergies, asthma, and sick building syndrome.