October - 2018
For someone who is not familiar with the different types of tiles and their individual purpose, it can get difficult to tell the various varieties apart. It is especially confusing when it comes to porcelain and ceramic tiles because the former is a subcategory of the latter. All porcelain is ceramic, but not all types of ceramics can be called porcelain. Read on to find out the characteristics of ceramic and porcelain tiles, and how to spot the difference between Porcelain and Ceramic tiles.
Ceramic is a general term for all types of natural clay, which is mixed with water and organic materials in different formulas. Once it is shaped and decorated, it is sometimes glazed and then hardened by heat. The type of ceramic is determined by the additives used and the temperature and duration of the heat applied.
This explains why ceramics is an umbrella term that includes other varieties. For instance, pottery is included under ceramics and they’re almost the same thing because the process of making both is the same – shaping, firing, glazing, re-firing. But ceramics still refers to a wider array of things – ceramic tiles, ceramic cutlery, inlay for teeth, and sometimes even decorative fine art.
Porcelain, too, falls in a bracket under ceramics. It is a white clay body composed primarily of clay, kaolin, feldspar, silica, and quartz.
A porcelain tile is harder than a ceramic tile and it allows more flexibility with design. As mentioned before, they’re both made from clay and other organic materials, but the clay used to make a porcelain tile is more refined and purified. It is also fired at a higher temperature and pressure, which makes it dense and hard. Porcelain is more impervious to moisture. It has a low water absorption rate. The weight of the tile is checked before and after boiling it for five hours and leaving it in water for 24 hours. If the difference in weight is less than half of one percent, it means that not much water has been absorbed, and the tile can be identified as porcelain. Compositionally, porcelain has fewer impurities than ceramic, and often contains more kaolin. While porcelain cutting requires expertise, ceramic can be easily cut. It is also cheaper than porcelain.
The Porcelain Tile Certification Agency was formed just to settle the confusion and devise a standard definition for porcelain tiles. According to them, it is not enough for a tile to be impervious to be called porcelain. It has to meet a certain standard of water absorption. This is done by sending five sample tiles for testing, making a payment, submitting an agreement, and getting the certification renewed every three years. So, a PTCA mark is what one must look for in order to be sure if the tile is porcelain or not. Additionally, the American National Standards Institute says that a porcelain tile is one that is produced with a “dust-pressed method of a composition resulting in a tile that is dense, impervious, fine-grained, and smooth with a sharply formed face”.
If you have to choose between porcelain and ceramic, it is porcelain that is a better choice for outdoor work. Ceramic should most certainly not be installed outdoors because it is not durable enough and absorbs too much water.
Each material has its own use; the trick is to identify this and utilize it in the right place. After the choice of tile is made, quality is all that matters. Double charged vitrified tiles, manufactured by Vitero, provide the highest quality ceramic and porcelain tiles. Visit our website here to view the wide range of collections: https://viterotiles.com/