FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain?
A. Ceramic tiles are made from a mixture of clay which have been fired at a high temperature to give the tile its hardness. They typically have a white or red clay biscuit with some form of glaze on top.
Porcelain tiles cost more than ordinary ceramic tiles because you are getting a superior product. Porcelain are basically a higher grade of of ceramic tile because they are fired at a higher temperature an have a low absorption rate. Porcelain are highly durable because they are much harder and more dense than ceramic tiles. This allows them to be made in much larger formats that would be impossible to achieve in a ceramic tile. Porcelain tiles will also often have a coloured biscuit that matches the surface glaze or have a colour and pattern that extends all the way through the tile. this avoids the common problem with ceramics where the glaze gets chipped and exposes the colour of the clay biscuit underneath.
Q. What is a rectified tile?
A. This refers to a tile that has been mechanically finished on all sides to achieve uniform size and optimum precision. It is used most often in larger tiles and also at times when large and small tiles are used together to create a patterned design. Rectified tiles add a modrn feel to a room, while cushioned edge wall tiles soften the look of the room.
Q. What is the difference between a wall and floor tile?
A. Wall tiles are not designed to handle the abrasive forces from foot traffic and may not have the strength required by a floor tile.. Increasingly, floor tiles are being applied to walls and this is no problem so long as the walls are strong enough to support their weight and proper installation methods are being used. There are however many tiles on the market suitable for both floor and wall, so when shopping for tiles you are best to ask the question of the staff to ensure you are choosing wisely.
Q. What size tile should I choose?
This all depends on the look you would like to create and the size of area you are tiling. You can create many different looks and illusions with tiles, using different sizes, shapes and colour. You may like to consider if you would like to accentuate the dimension of the tile, perhaps even contrast grout colour. A large tile can make an area appear larger as there are fewer grout joints. If you want fewer cuts then it is wise to measure your room and work backwards to look at tiles in the format that would fit the space best.
Q. How do I know how many tiles I will need?
The installation pattern can vary the quantity of the tile required. If you know the size of the tile you will be using and how you want to set out the area you can count exactly how many tiles you will require. Or you can calculate the area of each wall and/or floor area and add between 10% - 15% for cuts and wastage. It is always beneficial to have your installer complete a site measure for accuracy. This is very important. If you purchase too many tiles they usually cannot be returned. It is a good idea to allow spare tiles as the same batch will never be available again and you may require some for future purposes.
Q. What colour grout should I use?
Using a grout that is the same colour as the tile will create a blended effect, making the floor more uniform in appearance. For some, this may be the desired effect. However using a contrasting colour grout will emphasise your grout joint. You don't want to go too extreem or your floor will end up looking too busy. The best bet for grout selection is to choose one that blends will with the tile.
Q. Will grout stain or get dirty easily?
It depends. Grout that has not been sealed after installation is subject to stains. Grout that has a protective seal over it will retain a better appearance for many years, but eventually most grout will discolour over time.
Q. Is there a difference between marble and granite?
A. Granite is a more durable natural stone. Marble is easier to scratch and is affected by acidic substances. These acidic substances will cause a chemical reaction which removes the polish. However, with proper precautions, such as sealing you can reduce damage. The ancient Greeks used marble expensively in all areas of their homes.
Q. What is the most important feature to consider when selecting a tile?
It's durability. The tile must be tough enough to withstand the abuse it's going to be subjected to.
Q. What is the best way to clean marble and other stone?
Don't use anything you wouldn't consider safe to clean your hands with. for instance, you wouldn't clean your hands with abrasive powder and or cleanser. Never use any product which is acidic, such as glass-cleaner type products. Use cleaning products specifically designed for marble and granite.
USEFUL TILE TERMS
Body of tile - The structural portion of a ceramic article such as the clay material or mixture as distinct from the glaze.
Bullnose tiles - Tiles featuring a rounded edge applied to the ledge of stairs and turn outside corners.
Chemical resistance - The ability of a tile surface to withstand damage from chemicals, acid, alkalies and swimming pool salts.
Colourway(s) - Simply describes the colour or colour in which certain products are available.
Expansion joint - Separation provided between adjoining parts of a structure to allow movement at stress points to prevent uncontrolled cracking.
Finishes - Textural or visual characteristics of a tile surface. This may be high gloss, satin or matt. External tiles will often have have a rougher, more textural surface and have a higher slip rating due to the fact that they are exposed to the elements.
Format - The format is the term that simply refers to size. The size of tiles vary enormously however there are standard sizes from 100x100mm, 300x300mm, 600x600mm, 300x600mm and many other versions of these sizes.