Ceramic and porcelain tiles are manufactured from clay and other materials through a firing process ceramic tiles are heat resistant and some are water resistant whereas porcelain are heat, water and frost resistant, they are both very hard tiles and are commonly used in all types of applications commercially and residentially for floors, walls, bathrooms, splash backs and also as accent pieces to enhance the overall design, they can also be used to create the correct look where there are budget restraints. Colours and mixed colours are now available as never before and tend to be consistent due to the well established manufacturing processes. Ceramic tiles can be glazed or unglazed. Glazed tiles are available plain or decorated and can be used on walls and floors. Unglazed ceramic floor tiles are more suited to commercial and industrial settings, but can be used in laundries and utility rooms. They are available with a non-slip profile.
Porcelain tiles are ceramic tiles, but with a very low absorbency. They are usually made from kaolin clays, feldspar, and silica and colouring oxides and are fired at about 1200oC. Porcelain tiles are hard wearing and can be used on walls or floors. Porcelain is a form of ceramic tile made from a very fine mix of clay and minerals far different from regular ceramics formed under extremely high pressure and fired at higher temperatures than standard ceramic tile. The result is a material that is stronger and more durable than standard ceramic and very resistant to moisture and stains. Superior porcelain tile is especially resistant to scratching, staining and fading, and it never needs sealing. Through-body porcelain tiles are colored throughout the entire tile, so there is little danger of colour loss due to wear.
Porcelain represents the best overall value in tile because it is, Available in various styles and faithfully replicates natural stone; Non-porous (unlike standard ceramic tile or natural stone); More durable and stain resistant than natural stone; and Significantly more affordable than natural stone.
Like Granite Marble is a naturally forming metamorphic rock formed originally from limestone and mostly consists of Calcium carbonate. White Marble has been seen down the centuries to produce sculptures some of which have become priceless, Marbles also come in a variety of colours and give kitchens, bathrooms, foyers and receptions the most stylish and elegant look. The characteristic veining found in marbles give them there unique look and among the most popular colours are the Carrera, Crema Marfil and Rojo Alicante. Marble is the epitome of luxury. For centuries this cool, almost translucent stone, with its rich veining, subtle patterning and often vivid colours, has featured in the most elegant, lavishly decorated interiors. Marble is a material for making a statement. It works well in the classic contrast of black and white tiling. Marble is generally hard-wearing, although colours and patterns can become dulled by abrasion and traffic. Slipperiness depends on the surface texture. For flooring, it is advisable to opt for a honed finish which obviously offers a better grip than high polish.
Metamorphic stone such as marble originates from a natural change from one type of stone to another type through the mixture of heat, pressure, and minerals. The change may be a development of a crystalline formation, a texture change, or a colour change.
Marble: A recrystallized limestone that formed when the limestone softened from heat and pressure and recrystallized into marble where mineral changes occurred. The main consistency of marble is calcium and dolomite. Marble ranges in many colours and is usually heavily veined. Usually very sensitive to staining... Hardness rates from 2.5 to 5 on the MOH Scale. It is very important to begin taking care of marble both before installation and after with proper stone care products. Restoration is often required on neglected or improperly treated marble. Marble is very sensitive to both acid and alkali. Marble can be polished, honed, or tumbled. For tumbled marble the colour can be enhanced using a Stone Colour Enhancer.
Marble is classified into three categories:
1. Dolomite: If it has more than 40% magnesium carbonates.
* Does not provide a high polish; however, it is a very durable marble.
2. Magnesian: If it has between 5% and 40% magnesium carbonate.
* Usually provide a finish with less polish and reflectivity and are more durable than calcite marbles.
3. Calcite: If it has less than 5% magnesium carbonates.
* Calcite marbles provide the highest polish; however, they are more sensitive to acids and alkali chemical
Limestone is a sedimentary rock with sandy deposits this stone is well known for capturing fossilized plants and animals which all adds to the character of finished tiles, they can be polished but are usually seen in a matte finish with neutral tones, the tiles can be used in all kinds of settings which include walls, fireplaces, floors, window cills and steps and is popular both commercially and residentially producing beautiful results. Limestone is much softer than granite. Most types are fairly light in tone, ranging from warm neutral shades of oatmeal and cloudy white to dappled blue; green and grey, but there are dark and near black varieties. Limestone is cool and elegant. Large, even flags work in classic or contemporary surroundings, lacking the more overt stylistic overtones of marble. Some limestone’s wear better than others. All types are porous but may be treated to prevent staining. Limestone does not resist acid chemicals and the harder types can be slippery when wet.
Sedimentary stone came from organic elements such as glaciers, rivers, wind, oceans, and plants. Tiny sedimentary pieces broke off from these elements and accumulated to form rock beds. They were bonded through millions of years of heat and pressure. Most sedimentary stones are extremely absorbent; therefore, they must be protected with Stone Sealing products and maintained properly with stone cleaning products.
Limestone: Mainly consists of calcite and some magnesium. It does not show much graining or crystalline structure. It has a smooth granular surface that is usually honed; however, some dense magnesium based limestone's can be polished. Varies in hardness. Common colours are black, grey, white, yellow or brown. It is more likely to stain than marble. Limestone is known to contain lime from sea water. Limestone is extremely popular due to its natural earth-tone colours that coordinate in any environment. It is very important to use products specifically designed to clean limestone such as: limestone cleaners and limestone sealers.
Granites are naturally formed stone from the cooling of magma typically from volcanoes and comes under the classification of Igneous rock it is one of the hardest rocks known to man but can produce the most stunning of finishes to an elegant bathroom, hotel foyer or company reception with subtle reflections of light coming from the naturally formed crystals within. Granites can be expensive but Agglomerate Granites can be a more economical option but still offering the high quality look and stunning finish. Granite is a coarse-grained rock comprising of feldspar, quartz and mica which give sit an attractive crystalline appearance. It is exceptionally hard, highly resistant to wear and chemicals, and impervious to water. However, choose with care as polished varieties may prove unacceptable slippery. Rougher textures are better for flooring; even more practical are granite sets, or paving stones which can be laid like brick. It is one of the most expensive types of stone, but tiles come at a fraction of the cost and weight. Tiles as thin as 7mm can be used on bathroom floors.
Igneous stones such as granite are mainly formed through volcanic material such as magma. Underneath the Earths surface, liquid magma cooled and solidified. Mineral gases and liquids penetrated into the stone and created new crystalline formations with various colours.
Granite: Primarily made of Quartz (35%), Feldspar (45%) and Potassium. Usually have darker colours. Granite contains very little calcite, if any. Provides a heavy crystalline and granular appearance with mineral grains. Granite is a very hard material and easier to maintain than marble, yet, it is still porous and will stain. There are different types of granite depending on the percentage mix of quartz, mica and feldspar. Black granite is known as Anthracite. It contains very little quartz and feldspar and has a different composition than true granite. Fined grained granites are often more absorbent than others; however, they are all extremely durable. Granites should be sealed to protect against water and oil-based Spills.
Everyone is familiar with Mosaics even our Children who produce the familiar pictures at school using coloured tiles to bring home for our enjoyment, the most popular places you see them is perhaps in the swimming pool whilst on a summer break, although mosaics have been around for centuries, having been found in Roman Britain, Greece, Turkey & Pompeii they are still as popular with architects and home owners alike. They can give lovely finish to hallway floors and kitchen and bathroom splash backs and simply as accents for the perfect finishing touch. Mosaics are very small tiles, usually less than 35cm2. Mosaics can be glazed or unglazed and made from porcelain, ceramic, glass or natural stone. Mosaic is true floor-level art. Small cubes bedded in mortar in decorative or geometric designs give mosaic an irresistible intricacy and delicacy. The scale of individual pieces and the variations of light catching on their surfaces create a gentle, almost blurred effect. Mosaic floors are hard, but their appearance is soft. Any size floor can be covered with mosaic, although in practice it tends to be used on a smaller scale, e.g. bathrooms. Mosaic shares many of the characteristics of other hard floors: durable, noisy and fairly cold. However, the natural key supplied by the myriad grouting joints means that mosaic is far less slippery than floors made of larger tiles or slabs of the same material.
Quarry tiles are formed by an extrusion process from clay or natural shale they can be glazed or unglazed and are extremely durable and are often used in high traffic commercial areas such as bakers floors, petrol station floors and kitchens, but are also popular for kitchen and garage floors in the home. Quarry tiles are a traditional product made in the UK for hundreds of year. They are made from natural clay, squeezed through an extruding machine, and then fired. They are mostly available in terracotta, black and white colours.
Slate is a homogeneous, metamorphic rock formed by low pressure and temperature compared to some other metamorphic rocks, originally formed from a shale type sedimentary rock composed of volcanic ash or clay. Common uses for slate tiles are for both interior and exterior and are most commonly used in roofing applications although just as commonly now, for wall cladding, flooring and fire surrounds, sealants can be used after application to increase stain resistance, durability and to reduce effloresce. Tiles can be split very consistently to give a uniform thickness but this tends to be more expensive. Slate, like marble, is a metamorphic rock quarried in mountain regions all over the world. It comes in a range of beautifully dramatic colours – dark green, blue, blue-grey, red, purple and black – and tends to have a slick, wet look due to the high proportion of mica crystals layered through the stone. Slate is by no means inexpensive, but it is more reasonably priced than either granite or marble and has other considerably practical advantages. Unlike marble or limestone, most types of slate are waterproof, which makes it excellent for areas indoors which are likely to get wet. It is also very hard, wear-resistant and needs little in the way of after-care.
Unlike quarry tiles, terracotta tiles (both fired earth) are fired at lower temperatures generally being handmade and are a porous tile with a rustic look often effloresced which adds to the character, because of the porous nature of these tiles they are often sealed after application to add to the durability and finish and are used in a variety of settings both residential and commercial but are often at there best used to give a rustic country look. Terracotta tiles are also made from local clays. Terracotta means "cooked earth" and these products tend to be very absorbent, so need sealing when used on the floor.
Travertine is a sedimentary rock of carbonate minerals usually made up of aragonite but is often primarily calcite from mineral spring or streams containing calcium carbonate deposits. Travertine can be found as a major building material in the Coliseum in Rome, the Basilica in Paris and the Getty centre in Los Angeles. Travertine in its purist form is white but the colours can vary to yellow and brown tints through the impurities found in the water from which it was formed. Travertine gives a beautiful finish to all kinds of applications both residential and commercial and is a common choice for architects used in flooring, walls and as a design accent to give an overall look with a stunning finish. Dense, banded rock composed of calcium carbonate. Formed by rapid chemical precipitation of calcium carbonate from solution in surface and ground waters, it is a variety of limestone that has a light colour and takes a good polish.
Glass tiles are becoming increasingly popular because of the vast array of colour finishes that can be achieved along with the surface finishes allowing the tile to refract light in all directions. These tiles are extremely durable and easy to keep clean and can be used in all kinds of applications both residential and commercial, applied to walls, splash backs, bathrooms or simply as accent pieces for the design look required. Many modern hotels and restaurants use these tiles because of the clean minimalist and sharp bright finishes that can be achieved.
These tiles are beautiful which you would expect from the handcrafting of dedicated individuals who produce these products, individuality is the obvious reason for selecting this product but other reasons are to give the setting the absolute look and feel that you really desire, colour and design has virtually no restrictions only the creativity of the maker. Handmade tiles tend to be a more expensive option due to the labour required in producing them but often outweigh the use of traditional products where a real identity wants to be