Different Types of Tiles
Key Difference: Tiles have become an important part of the furnishings. These are primarily used for covering floors, walls and roofs. There are many different types of tiles which are primarily differentiated on the basis of their composition. Ceramic, porcelain, wooden, metal, glass, clay tiles are some of the common ones.
Tiles have become an important piece of design material. It is made from any hard wearing material. These tiles are usually rectangular or square in shapes. Tiles are mostly used to cover wall and floor. They are many different types of tiles and the characteristics of the tiles like appearance, robustness, etc. depend upon the core material used in the manufacturing process.
Some common types of tiles are –
Ceramic tiles - The word ceramic has been derived from a Greek word which means roasted earth. Natural clay and other mixtures can be used to make ceramic tiles. The most important process in the manufacturing of this tile is the baking which provides it with its final characteristics. It is usually red or white in color. Generally, it is made from clay which is dried and powdered. This clay is put into the moulds where it is pressed and then fired. This creates a raw tile which is then screen printed and the top is covered with a clear glaze by applying silica glass. Again it is re-fired due to which silica melts and a non-porous layer develops on the top. The advantage of these tiles are that they are easy to install and can be cut easily. However, due to their softness they are not viable for commercial flooring.
Porcelain tiles– These tiles differ from the ceramic tiles as they are not that soft as ceramic ones. These are usually made by the dust pressed method from porcelain clays. The material for this tile is fired at a very high temperature and due to this high temperature this tile gets additional strength quality. The density of the tile is also greater which makes it more resistant to moisture. Many people consider ceramic and porcelain as the same. However, porcelain is a tough tile than in comparison to ceramic. These are less porous and harder wearing than in comparison to ceramic tiles.
Stone tiles – These tiles are made from natural stones like marble, slate, granite and limestone. These tiles are made from slabs which are cut from the stone using diamond studded high speed equipment. Sometimes, these stones may have natural occurring cracks. Pitting and cracking are some common problems that are associated with the natural stones. These are expensive to install. Tiles made from granite stone are preferred for making countertops as it is naturally anti-bacterial and does not get affected by water contact. Tiles made from sandstone are known for their grainy appearance and durability. Marble tiles are admired for their luxurious look. Marble is porous and therefore requires sealing.
Cement tiles – These tiles do not use clay or heating process. A hydraulic press is used for making this brick of Portland cement, mineral pigments and fine aggregate. Kiln or glaze is not used. These tiles are treated in ways similar to ordinary cement. Handmade cement tiles are very popular for their uniqueness. They are colorful tiles known for their decorative designs. They provide a good durability. Mainly, they are used for covering floor.
Glass tiles - These tiles are made from pieces of glass which are set to form specific shapes. Earlier, glass was commonly used in mosaics only, but later glass tiles started to gain recognition. These are mainly used for decorations like in feature walls. These days emphasis is being made on using recycled glass for making glass tiles. The tiles can also bear finishes with a number of options like opaque color or reflective backing. These interesting tiles are known for their durability and good looks both.
Natural Clay tiles – These tiles are primarily made from clay. These are also known as Earthenware tiles. This baked or fired tiles made from clay and mud are porous in nature. Terracotta tiles also fall in this category which is usually unglazed. If required, then glazing is done after installation. Saltillo tiles also belong to this category. These tiles are first exposed to sun for the drying process and also are cooked partially in beehive kilns. However, they are not strong types but are known for their earthen look and low cost.
Metal tiles – These tiles are made from metals. However they can also make use of alloys or some composite materials. They are not installed like other tiles. They need to be snap-fitted, engrossed or tack welded in their parent frame. Metals like Brass, copper and stainless steel are used for making these tiles. They are usually placed in kitchens and bathrooms. These tiles are known for their shiny textures.
Wooden tiles – These tiles are made from original wood, ply boards or artificial wood. Currently people also prefer tiles which resemble wood but are made from different materials. The reason behind this is that hardwood suffers from vulnerabilities like chips and scratches. Wood gets affected with the change in weather which results into its expansion or other such distortions.
Terrazzo tiles – These tiles are made from a composite material consisting of granite, glass, marble or any other suitable chips. All these components are mixed into a cement binder. Sometimes the mixture is not converted into a tile and is directly poured in place in large sections. It is then machine ground to achieve a polished finish. It appears like agglomerate tile which occurs with a resin binder.
There are many other types of tiles too. It depends upon an individual to prefer one on the other.
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