If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. ― ( William Morris )
There is no limit other than your own imagination…
Ceramic tile consists of both clay, which is mined from the earth, and other natural materials. Ceramic tiles can be left naturally colored (similar to terra cotta) or colored white with a glazing that can be matte, high-gloss and/or textured. A ceramic tile is any tile that is "fired" in a kiln.
Porcelain tile is simply a newer form of ceramic tile and extremely popular among homeowners and commercial developments. Porcelain tiles are composed of fine porcelain clay and fired at much higher temperatures than ceramic tiles; this process makes porcelain tile denser, less porous, much harder and less prone to moisture and stain absorption than ceramic tiles. For these reasons, porcelain tile is the perfect choice for warm or cold weather climates, can be used indoors or outdoors, requires virtually no maintenance, has a high stain resistance, and in most cases, a high slip resistance. Porcelain tiles are also harder to cut due to their density and hardness.
The process to make porcelain and ceramic tiles is simple but requires some amazing machinery. On our tour of one of our partner's factories, we were able to capture some of this amazing manufacturing process,
HOW TILE IS MANUFACTURED
The raw materials that are used to make tile consist of clay minerals, other natural materials and chemical additives. The manufacturing process is basically a recipe that requires a certain portion of each raw material to be added in a very specific quantity.
The raw materials sit in a separate part of the factory in separate piles
Once the "formula" for a specific tile is entered into the factory system - the exact amount of raw materials is automatically picked up and delivered into a massive mixer. Raw materials must pass through massive mixers and grinders before being shaped, printed and fired in the kiln.
Sorting & Mixing
The raw materials must then be crushed and mixed according to particle size. Primary crushers are used to reduce large lumps of material using a horizontal squeezing motion between steel plates or rotating motion between steel cones. Secondary crushing further reduces smaller lumps to particles and sometimes a third particle size reduction step may even be necessary, depending on desired result.
Sometimes, water is added and the ingredients are wet milled or ground in a ball mill. If wet milling is used, the excess water is removed using filter pressing followed by spray drying.
Printing, Shaping & Firing
The resulting powder is then pressed into the desired tile body shape.
Once the tile is pressed into shape, a high-definition glaze is used to "print" directly onto the tile -- this creates color patterns, shades and textures. The tile is then passed through a kiln (a huge and very hot oven) and is fired at temperatures in excess of 2100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sorting & Quality Inspection
The image above illustrates the tile being sorted after leaving the kiln. Once the finished product has been sorted, it is randomly quality inspected to ensure color, shape and texture consistency across batches. When porcelain tile is manufactured, the tiles are "printed" with textures and patterns prior to being fired in the kiln and this process enables manufactures to virtually replicate any texture, color or shade - simply opening the doors to creativity! Now finding that perfect color match with the perfect feel is not only possible but readily available.
There is a lot to consider when selecting your tile; whether you’re looking for porcelain tile, wood tile, backsplash tile, stone tile, mosaic tiles or outdoor tiles, we have the experience and knowledge to help you choose a beautiful tile that works well in your area.
With three tile showrooms and well-stocked warehouses, we have a tile store near you! Come in to view our products.