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Porcelain Tiles

As a homeowner, you may be wondering about the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles. While all porcelain tiles are ceramic, not all ceramics are porcelain. Further down the page there is a brief guide to everything you need to know about porcelain tiles.

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What are Porcelain Floor Tiles?

Porcelain tiles consist of similar materials to ceramic tiles. Both use a blend of clay and supportive elements, moulded and hardened in a kiln. However, porcelain tiles spend more time under fire than ceramic tiles, and as a result of the additional time in the furnace, they develop a harder, more durable surface than ceramic tiles.

Porcelain tiles are very uniform, and they provide the homeowner with a non-porous surface that has excellent water resistance. The hardy construction of porcelain tiles makes them ideal for use in spaces where temperatures tend to fluctuate, and they are a good option for radiant heating systems.

Porcelain tiles have the same thickness as ceramics, but they have more weight to them due to the densely packed materials. Typically, porcelain tiles have more variety on offer than ceramic in terms of style, sizing, and design.

What are the Benefits of Porcelain Tile?

Many homeowners and landlords choose ceramic over porcelain due to the additional costs involved with purchasing porcelain tiles. However, making your decision on a set of tiles requires more than setting a budget. There are plenty of reasons why you should consider installing porcelain over traditional ceramic tiles.

Durability – Porcelain tiles last longer than ceramic. Due to the additional time in the kiln, porcelain has fewer air pockets and a harder surface than ceramics. Since porcelain is much more durable than ceramic, it’s the ideal material to use in high-traffic areas of your home or office.

Minimal maintenance – Unlike ceramic, porcelain tiles do not require any sealing, and they are simple to clean and maintain. While porcelain is not entirely waterproof, it has enough water –resistance to avoid damage if water pools on the floor before you have a chance to mop it up.

Attractive – Porcelain tiles look fantastic after fitment in your home, and they are available in a wide variety of styles that will bring out the décor in your home. Some manufacturers produce porcelain tiles with the appearance of marble or granite, allowing you to create a luxury feel to any room in the house, without the costs associated with expensive materials like marble.

Moisture resistance – Homeowners may experience cracking with ceramic tiling when the weather turns cold in late autumn. However, porcelain tiles are far more durable and resistant to changes in temperature, and they won’t crack under stress induced by changes in the seasons.

Easy cleaning – Unlike porous materials, porcelain does not trap bacteria. The tiles are resistant to stains, and they clean easily with a mop, leaving fewer streaks than other materials.

Is Porcelain Tile Good for a Kitchen Floor?

Many homeowners that install ceramic tiles on their kitchen floors are disappointed when they drop a pan or pot and find that they chipped their new set of tiles. It’s for this reason that we recommend porcelain tiles for the kitchen, as they are much more resistant to impact than ceramic. The non-porous nature of porcelain also gives it better resistance to liquids and prevents staining of the tiles.

Is Porcelain Suitable for a Bathroom Floor?

Using porcelain tiles on your bathroom floor ensures that you get the best water resistance possible. However, porcelain may be slippery when wet, and we recommend you select a non-slip porcelain product for your bathroom to avoid falls. Glazed porcelain is a great option for the bathroom floor, as it has excellent non-slip characteristics.

How Do I Stop My Floor Tiles from Being Slippery?

To prevent slips and falls on porcelain tiles, we recommend that you look into a glazed option for better traction. A slip and fall can be a life-threatening event for a senior, so if you have any older individuals in your home, then we recommend that you look into installing a non-slip coating over your tiles to provide more grip to the surface. Non-slip coatings do tend to wear off, and you might have to replace the liner every few years in high-traffic areas of your home or office.

How Long does Porcelain Tile Last?

Porcelain is one of the most durable materials available in tiles. The long-lasting PEI 4 or 5 glazing grade can last the homeowner for a lifetime with the correct installation and maintenance.

However, if you select a lower-quality tile, you may only receive 20-years of service life before they require replacement. Porcelain has excellent resistance to the elements, and you can expect them to hold up in external applications around the home, such as the patio.

Do Porcelain Tiles Scratch Easily?

In most cases, porcelain tiles do not scratch very easily. However, if you make contact with the surface of the tile using a sharp object, then scratching will occur. Moving furniture with metal feet around will also scratch the tiles if you drag it on the floor. Metal spurs on the stiletto of high heel shoes may scratch the surface of porcelain tiles as well.

Does Porcelain Tile Stain?

Manufacturers fire porcelain in the kiln at higher temperatures than ceramic, resulting in a strong and durable tile. The additional heat and time in the furnace remove air bubbles while hardening the tile. As a result of the extra strength and non-porous nature of porcelain, it does not stain in the same manner as ceramic.

Are Porcelain Tiles Cold in Winter?

Many homeowners avoid installing tiles as they think it makes their home feel cold in the winter. However, the fact is that porcelain tiles do not absorb heat or cold. This characteristic makes them a neutral flooring for both the summer and wintertime.

Do You Need Underfloor Heating with Porcelain Tiles?

If you do have a cold home that has plenty of windows, or you are tiling a conservatory, then consider installing underfloor heating. Porcelain tiles have a high thermal mass and low thermal resistance, meaning that thicker tiles may take longer to heat up than thinner ones. It’s possible to heat porcelain and ceramic tiles to temperatures of 29°C, keeping your home warm in the wintertime.

Does Porcelain Tile Need to Acclimate?

Many homeowners have heard about leaving tiles in the room they want to tile for 48-hours before installation. This acclimatizing period helps with adhesion of the tiles to the floor, preventing air pockets or loose tiles from occurring. However, the truth is that porcelain tiles do not require any acclimatization, and they are ready for fitment as soon as you bring them into the room.

How Do You Clean Porcelain Tiles Without Streaks?

If you select lighter colour tiles for your new flooring, then the chances are that you may notice streaks on the tiles after cleaning. If you are having trouble with streaking on your tiles, try out this method when cleaning.

Clean the floor – Pull out the vacuum cleaner or broom, and remove all dirt and debris before you even think about mopping.

Apply cleaning solution – There’s no need to spends your money on advanced cleaning products. We find that the most effective tile cleaner is a quarter a cup of vinegar mixed with eight litres of hot water. Use a mop and clean the floor using the solution, then let it sit on the surface for 15-minutes before scrubbing.

Scrubbing – For general cleaning, we recommend you use a mop or sponge and a bucket to scrub the floor. If you are dealing with stains, then a soft-bristled scrubbing brush will help to lift the stains.

Dry the tiles – Use a wet vacuum or large bath towel to soak up the dirty water.

Rinsing – Fill a bucket with clean, warm water and mop the floor again until clean. We like using a scented floor detergent to remove the vinegary smell. Make sure you use a light solution, as too much cleaner can leave streaks.

Final drying – Use a micro-fibre buffing broom to dry the floor and give it a lustrous shine.