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Ceramic Tiles

As one of the most popular choices for flooring tiles, ceramics are affordable, practical, and have plenty of uses around the home. Here is everything you need to know about ceramic tiles to help you make an informed purchase decision.

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What Are Ceramic Tiles?

Ceramic is one of the most popular materials used in tile flooring. However, many homeowners don’t understand the difference between ceramics, porcelain, and natural stone tiling. Tile manufacturers use a combination of clay, sand, and other natural products, moulded into the desired shape and then sent to the kiln for firing.

Ceramic tiles come in glazed and unglazed formats, with glazed being the favourite of most homeowners. Since ceramic tiles consist of a blend of materials, instead of natural stones, manufacturers produce them in a variety of designs, styles and colours.

Is Ceramic Tile a Natural Stone?

Ceramic is not a natural stone. While manufacturers do use clay in the tiles, they don’t cut them from stone deposits in quarries like they do with limestone, marble, and granite. Here are the common types of ceramic tiles available for your remodelling effort.

Glazed ceramic tiles – Most ceramic tiles feature glazing to waterproof and protect it from wear and staining. These tiles don’t require any additional sealing or finishing.

Unglazed ceramic tiles – These tiles don’t have the protective sealing found in glazed tiles. The clay used in the manufacture of these tiles is porous. As a result, they readily absorb liquids and stain easily. However, unglazed ceramics do have a rustic, natural beauty, due to the effect of the untreated clay.

Terracotta tiles – This unglazed ceramic features manufacture with red clay found in parts of Europe. This material produces distinctive hues and patterns, but it requires sealing to avoid moisture absorption and staining.

What is a Good Price for Ceramic Tile?

When budgeting for tiling your home or office with ceramic tiles, you need to take into account the cost of the materials, as well as the fitment. Unless you have experience with laying tiles, then we recommend you use a professional fitment service.

The entry-level range of affordable ceramic tiles starts at around £15/m2, with plastic edge trimming costing around £5 each. Using this example, we can estimate that a 20/m2 tiling project could cost £300 for basic tiles, along with £20 for trimming, giving us a total material cost of £320.

When budgeting for fitment, we suggest that you work with £30/m2 for labour fees, giving you a total cost of £920 for the project.

Is Ceramic Tile Expensive?

If you are looking for the most affordable tiles for your tiling job, then you can’t beat the price of ceramics. Many people confuse ceramic with porcelain. While the two types of tiles have similar features, you can expect to pay up to 20 to 50-per cent more for porcelain than ceramic, making ceramics the best deal available.

Which is Better Ceramic or Vitrified Tiles?

Ceramic tiles are the most popular choice for home remodels. However, some homeowners may want to upgrade from their existing ceramics to vitrified tiles. Vitrified tiles feature the use of feldspar and quartz in the manufacturing process, producing a glass-effect that looks eye-catching.

As a result, vitrified tiles are far more durable and water-resistant than ceramics, but they also have a higher price tag.

What are Ceramic Tiles Used for?

The beautiful aesthetics and low cost of ceramic tiles make them a favourite choice for homeowners. Here are the most common applications for ceramic tiles around the home.

Flooring – This is the most common application for ceramic tiles. The low cost, along with a wide variety of styles, shapes, and colours make them an affordable and effective option for a home remodel or to spruce up your rental unit.

Walls – Both internal and external walls around the home can benefit from fitment with ceramic tiles. With interior walls, ceramics can change the feel and colour of the room. Outer walls benefit from the cooling effect of the tiles, as they do not absorb any heat.

Kitchen counters –  Glazed ceramic tiles are an excellent choice for countertops, and they are much more affordable than a granite or marble countertop. However, ceramic tiles are prone to chipping, so you’ll need to be careful when placing items on the countertop to avoid damaging the tiles.

Patios – Ceramic tiles are an excellent choice for patios. There is a wide variety of styles, designs, and colours to suit any patio décor. Glazed ceramic tiles are resistant to spills and the rain, and other environmental elements. We have a range of tiles suitable for both indoor and outdoor that allow the tiles to flow seamlessly.

Paths and walkways – Using glazed ceramics in these areas enhance the visual quality of your home while adding value to the property.

Is Ceramic Tile Waterproof?

The answer to this question is a double-edged sword. Untreated ceramic tiles are porous, and they will absorb moisture and stain if left unsealed. Water may also pass through the shrinkage cracks in grouting, resulting in water getting underneath the tile. Waterproof tiling requires the use of a plastic membrane to prevent water from getting between the concrete bedding and the flooring.

Is Ceramic Tile Good for Shower Walls?

Nothing is stopping you from using glazed ceramic tiles on your shower wall. The tiles provide a waterproof surface that wicks away water, but you’ll need to waterproof the grouting as well to ensure that you don’t get water behind the tiles that may lift them off of the wall.

While ceramic is satisfactory for a shower wall, we recommend you look into a set of porcelain tiles. Porcelain has enhanced waterproofing properties and does not require glazing or sealing.

You can prolong the life of your shower wall tiles by wiping them done after your shower. Avoid using bar soap in the shower as well; it contains animal fat that causes a build-up of shower grime faster than liquid soaps.

How Long Do Ceramic Tiles Last?

Properly fitted glazed ceramic floor tiles provide a service life of 50-years or longer. However, many tiling jobs don’t last this long due to chipping. Fortunately, if you by a spare square metre of tiles and store them in your garage, you’ll always have spares to replace any chipped tiles.

Is Ceramic Tile Durable?

Ceramic tiles are reasonably durable, and they absorb the impact of most items dropped on the floor. However, you may chip your flooring if you drop heavy, hard objects onto the floor. Expecting your tile to hold up to the force of a cast-iron frying pan as it falls from the kitchen counter, may be too much to ask from your ceramic tiles.

However, glazed ceramic tiles do hold up well to foot traffic, and you can expect them to retain their original colour and surface for decades to come. If you are remodelling your office, and need tiles for high foot traffic areas, then we recommend you look into porcelain tiles for additional durability.

Do Ceramic Tiles Break Easily?

After professional installation, you can expect your tiles to give you no issues unless you drop something substantial on the surface. However, some people report cracking of their tiles after installation. Here are the most common reasons for this occurrence.

Poor quality – Some homeowners are looking for the cheapest deal they can find when buying new tiles. While there’s nothing wrong with trying to save a few quid on your remodelling job, it’s important to note that you get what you pay for with your tiles. Cheap products may feature inferior materials and sub-par manufacturing techniques. It’s for this reason that Atlas Ceramics only works with the leading brands from Europe.

Gaps in the Adhesive – Poor fitment is another reason for cracks in your tiles. If the contractor does not spread the adhesive evenly across the footprint, it leads to air pockets or bumps that weaken the surface, leading to cracking.

Slab Problems – The concrete slab under your tiles also plays a role in cracking. If the slab shifts or starts to move, then it may result in damage.

Do Ceramic Tiles Chip Easily?

In most cases, ceramic tiles do hold up well to drops, and it takes some force to chip a tile. However, the tiles will experience damage if you drop a hard, heavy object, like a pan or pot onto the tiles. Be careful with any steel surface making contact with your new tiles. The metal feet of the couch or chairs with steel legs may cause chipping if you move the furniture around.