How ceramic tiles are made
were first made over 4000 years ago. Back then tiles were made by hand but nowadays machinery is used to do the majority of the work. Although ceramic is an engineered product, the raw materials used to make a ceramic tile
are entirely natural. The predominant material within ceramic tiles is clay, which is combined with sand, feldspar, quartz and water in the manufacturing process.
The materials are mixed together and ground into what is known as the “body slip.” The water is used to bind these items together and the moisture content is then reduced by the process of drying. This is accomplished by placing the body slip into a dryer and then heating until the majority of water has dissolved.
The body slip is now in a dust form. A large electrical or hydraulic press then sets this dust into a set size and shape. Square and rectangular ceramic tiles are the most common varieties but presses may have shaped imprints to create varying shapes like ovals, diamonds and many others. After the body of the tile is formed it is dried once more to remove any remaining moisture.
A glazed finish is applied to many ceramic bathroom tiles
. Tilesceramic.co.uk has a wide range of glazed ceramic bathroom floor tiles
. At this stage, glaze is spread onto the tile creating a high gloss or matt glazed finish depending on the specification. Pigments are mixed into the glaze to provide the colour of the tile. Glazing is a popular process for ceramic tiles but is not essential. Some ceramic tiles are not glazed at all.
The ceramic tiles now have to be baked in a kiln. This process is often called “firing” and this is done at extremely high temperatures which are precisely controlled by a computer. After this the ceramic tiles begin the cooling process. For different colours and patterns the tile can be fired again or even several times to create the desired look. Ceramic bathroom wall tiles
are made in large batches through this process which keeps the price of manufacturing low.
Why ceramic tiles are so popular
When asked to name a type of tile the first answer from the majority of people is “ceramic.” This isn’t just true in the UK but all over the world, ceramic is the most recognised form of tile. Below we take a look at the reasons why ceramic tiles are so popular:
Price – Ceramic floor tiles
are a low cost option. They are cheaper to manufacture than other engineered tiles like porcelain and quartz and therefore less expensive for you to buy. Prices vary from budget tiles at the bottom end of the price scale to premium ceramic tiles from established brand names which can be considerably more expensive. For large projects like tiling public swimming pools, white ceramic tiles
are an obvious choice among quantity surveyors in local government councils.
Practicality – Unlike natural stone tiles ceramic brick tiles do not need to be sealed and therefore require less maintenance. They are also lightweight which not only makes them easy to install but also easy to replace if any are damaged or cracked. Glazed brick tiles are extremely easy to clean as dirt and stains can simply be wiped from the smooth surface. Ceramic kitchen tiles are compatible with electric under floor heating systems.
Variety – There is a greater variety of ceramic kitchen tiles on the market than there is of any other tile. There are ceramic tiles in almost every colour, shape and style. Natural stone effect ceramic tiles are a great option when you are looking to keep expenditure at a minimum. There are decorative ceramic wall tiles in specific patterns which you may prefer to a standard plain tile. Ceramic borders and mosaics are popular for kitchens and bathrooms as well as shops, restaurants and hotels. Cheap ceramic tiles are available in a variety of finishes including glazed, matt and textured.
Availability – Because there are such a large number of ceramic kitchen wall tiles
on the market there are a greater amount of places you can buy them from. For a quick DIY project you are likely to be able to obtain ceramic tiles at a low price and in a short amount of time in order to carry out the work. Ceramic tiling
is really easy in comparison to heavy natural stone kitchen floor tiles
The difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are each available in such an extensive range of colours, styles and textures that it can be hard to choose between them. Both porcelain and ceramic are manufactured tiles but to establish which one is suitable for your design project read on.
Porcelain is made through a similar process to that of ceramic as they are both fired in a kiln. Porcelain tiles are sand based whereas ceramic is predominately made from clay. The main differences are that porcelain is manufactured through an extreme amount of pressure and a temperature considerably higher than that of ceramic. As a result of this porcelain tiles are denser, less impermeable and are harder wearing than ceramic tiles. On the whole ceramic tiles are cheaper than porcelain although there are budget varieties as well as more expensive ranges in both types. Because they are less dense and therefore lighter, ceramic tiles are easier to use in DIY projects whereas it is recommended you acquire the services of an expert to install porcelain tiles. Porcelain is a better option for high traffic areas of flooring. For a cheap, yet stylish bathroom or kitchen wall covering metro brick tiles are an ideal choice.