What Is Ceramic Tile?
Apr 13, 2020
You’ve certainly heard of ceramic tile, but could you define or identify one? Some of you might remember ceramics from high school art class, but for the rest of us, here’s a much-needed refresher course.
Follow along and find inspiration as we cover the basics, including the different types of ceramic tile options for homeowners, and some of the best and most effective places to use ceramic tile in your home or apartment.
If you’ve been thinking about redoing your floors with ceramic tile or incorporating ceramics into a backsplash design, talk to our trusted tile experts about getting started today.
What Are Ceramic Tiles Made Of?
Let’s start at the very beginning: What is ceramic tile and what is this type of flooring made from?
In the ancient world, ceramics were simply materials made from clay, such as pottery. A traditional example would be earthenware pottery, which is the result of baking or “firing” clay in a kiln at low temperatures — a cool 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to more than 2,300 degrees for porcelain!
In the modern world, technological advancements have expanded the term’s definition. Today, materials called “advanced ceramics” are used to make everything from medical implants to refrigerator magnets!
The tiles themselves are generally made from a mixture of water, sand, and clay. However, the spaces between the tiles, known as “grout,” are filled with a separate mixture of water, sand, and “cement” like material. In some installations, the tile grout is made from epoxy instead of cement.
What Does Ceramic Tile Look Like?
Ceramic tile is very diverse with a myriad of options from natural stone looks to solid colors in a variety of sizes. As you may have found during your search of ceramic tile, there are so many interesting designs that are created with ceramic tile. Here we touch on a few trends in ceramic tiles.
Natural stone is currently trending in designs for kitchens and bathrooms. Stone is beautiful but can carry a price tag that is not for everyone. Ceramic in natural stone looks provides all the design aesthetic of stone without the high price tag. With advanced options for printing on ceramic, natural stone patterns can be extremely realistic.
While hexagons and other tile shapes enjoy bursts of popularity, a majority of tiles come in a linear rectangle or square. To achieve the former, manufacturers use machines that create precise, uniform edges, resulting in a product called “rectified” tile.
In current interior design trends, it is more typical to see large tiles than small tiles. (That’s good news for renters and big city homeowners since large tiles can help make small spaces look larger!) Some common ceramic tile sizes include:
- 12” x 24”
- 24” x 24”
- 12” x 48”
Types of Ceramic Tile
There are three different types of ceramic tiles to choose from glazed tiles, wall tiles, and floor tiles. What are the pros and cons of each, and which is right for you? Check out the comparisons below to find the best match.
- Glazed ceramic tiles. Glazed tiles are coated with a protective finish which can vary from matte to glossy. Matte finishes are perfect for natural stone designs and are recommended for most applications. Glossy ceramic tiles are chic by finish, offering a polished look—no pun intended—to a space. Glossy finishes are recommended for wall installations.
- Wall tiles. Wall tiles are used in showers, backsplashes, and accent walls, to name a few applications. With the variety of tile designs, wall tiles can really add an impressive design element to a room. They also come in similar sizes as floor tiles.
- Floor tiles. As mentioned above, floor tiles tend to be more on the matte side of finishes. When finding a ceramic tile you like, make sure to ask if it is suitable for floor installation. Ceramic tile can be extremely durable when installed as a floor.
Where Are the Best Places to Use Ceramic Tile?
Ceramic tiles are waterproof, which makes them a natural fit for any bathroom or shower stall, including open-concept bathrooms. Since they are non-absorbent and easy to clean, tiles are also popular in kitchens, where you might find them in eye-catching backsplash arrangements. When properly treated and maintained, ceramic tile is also tough enough for outdoor use, with applications for patios, decks, lanais, and other enclosures or courtyards.
Find Glazed, Wall, and Floor Ceramic Tiles at a Flooring America Store near You
Whether you’re looking for glazed, wall, or ceramic tiles for your bathroom floor, at Flooring America you’ll find durable, premium products backed by industry-leading warranties. With more than 500 stores conveniently located nationwide, we carry and install all of the leading tile brands for ceramic floors and walls. We can even help you customize a look with tile mosaics, inserts, borders, and other expressive details. Contact us online to learn more about how we can make your remodel a reality or find a store in your area.
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