Ceramic Tile's Make Up:
All of the raw materials used to make ceramics come from the earth, including the colors of glaze. While there have been successful methods to improve most products by substituting natural materials with synthetic, like vinyl and carpet, there are no methods to improve the quality of the raw materials found in ceramics; they have changed very little over the past thousand years.
General Characteristics of Ceramic Tile:
All ceramic tile share unique and exceptional qualities found in no other type of decorative building products:
Abrasion resistance: How will a tile’s glaze or surface hold up under continuous wear? This is a very important consideration when choosing any glazed floor tile. Commercial areas, as well as areas of the home subjected to heavy usage, such as kitchens or foyers, demand good abrasive resistance. If the right product is chosen and if it is maintained properly, (kept free of sand and grit), it could easily last the lifetime of the home.
NOTE: Abrasion resistance is not a factor when selecting an unglazed tile.
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Stain resistance: Ceramic material in general is the most stain resistant building product in the world. Glazed tile and even some unglazed tiles resist practically all solutions that could cause staining in other types of products.
Water absorption: The glaze on ceramic tile is non-porous. Therefore, when referring to water absorption, it pertains only to the tile’s body. The water absorption of the tile is important to know particularly for outdoor use. If the tile absorbs more than 3% moisture, it is not suited for outdoor use in cold climates where it may freeze and crack.
Frost resistance: Frost resistance goes hand in hand with water absorption. The less water the tile absorbs, the greater it’s frost resistance. Your labels will clearly identify those tiles which are frost resistant.
Slip resistance: The slip resistance of ceramic tile in ordinary applications is comparable to that of most hard surface flooring materials and it is significantly better than some. Unglazed tiles have greater slip resistance than glazed tiles and are recommended for areas subjected to high water spillage. Many glazed and unglazed tiles also feature an abrasive grit on their surface, increasing their slip resistance substantially. These tiles are particularly suited to public areas with direct access to the outdoors.
Color permanence: While most colored materials will be altered by long exposure to light, colors in ceramic tiles are unaffected and will not change or fade from exposure.
Dirt resistance: Ceramic tiles do not retain dust or residues. Plain water or a damp cloth is generally all that is required to keep the tile clean. With the exception of tiles such as Terra-cotta, which may be optionally oiled or waxed, no polishing or buffing is necessary to maintain the finish.
Fire resistance: Ceramic tiles are completely fire-proof at any temperature. They will not burn nor fuel a fire. The surface will not alter, nor will it give off any toxic gases, smoke or fumes during a fire. In addition to being fire-proof, tiles have also been found to provide protection for structural surfaces during fires.
Hygiene: The face of ceramic tiles will not retain liquids, absorb fumes, odors, or smoke. This allows for good hygiene. Tiles are suited for any environment where hygiene is essential.