Published at Saturday, May 25th, 2019 - 00:03:21 AM. Ceramic Tile. By Pierpont Salle.
Such a cermic tile would not be suitable for certain applications. For example if you intend to use the tile for a backsplash, counter top or tabletop you will need a very durable tile that will hold up to frequent cleaning and in the case of a countertop or tabletop, some hard use too. Stoneware clays are the most suitable for this sort of use. Stoneware is normally fired to about cone 6 (around 2200 degrees F) and is very strong. But in your inquiry, don't stop with what kind of clay the tiles are made from. Glazes vary enormously and even so-called 'food-safe' glazes can leach out chemicals, stain and lose their color. Many manufactured tiles are poorly made and will not hold up to the uses they are marketed for. Of course, there are many quite excellent manufactured tiles too so you need to inquire to be sure. That information however may or not be readily available.
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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