Published at Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 - 07:42:12 AM. Ceramic Tile. By Gauthier Beaufils.
The History of Ceramic Tiles. Essentially made of clay, ceramic floor tiles date as far back as prehistoric times. Though extremely rudimentary, even back then they were being decorated in pigment and carved to produce a pleasing result. Eventually, it was discovered that firing the clay at very high heat made it much stronger and also gave it a degree of water resistance and resilience. Cultures all over the world used variations of the tile to decorate temples, homes and various structures, from ancient Greece and Rome to Asian countries. Glazed tiles were then initiated by the Persians and who created mosaics and interesting graduations in colour using the smaller tile pieces. In modern times, manufacturers of the product typically use the pressed-dust mode of production. But no matter the method, all ceramic tiles are fired to increase durability. In the end, what dictates the price of a ceramic tile is the quality of the clay used, how many times it has been fired and at what heat.
Flooring presents other challenges, and opportunities. Clearly floor tiles must be durable so high fire stoneware is the best choice. Any kind of relief is not advised as uneven surfaces can be difficult to walk on, especially for the aged. An additional consideration with flooring tiles is slickness. A glossy glaze on a floor is not recommended. A heavily textured glaze or a matte glaze is best. Outdoor use in cold climates demands high fired tiles and dependable glazes, especially if on horizontal surfaces. Low fire and even porous tiles can be used outdoors in cold climates if on or in a vertical surface. But you are still better off with a frost proof tile in cold climates.
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