Porcelain Floor Tile | Get the FAQs

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Porcelain Floor Tile | Get the FAQs

Selecting the right material for your floor covering project can be challenging depending on your needs, budget, and location. Porcelain floor tile is a versatile, reliable, and high-value choice for a wide range of applications.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about porcelain tile and answers to help you decide if it is the right material for you and your project.

What is porcelain tile?

Porcelain tile falls under the category of “ceramic tile” due in large part to how it is made. Porcelain tiles, like many ceramic tiles, are made from clay – in this case, porcelain clay – which is then kiln-fired with a combination of high pressure and heat.. 

What is porcelain tile made from?

Porcelain tile is made from porcelain clay – a combination of several types of clay, finely-ground sand, and feldspar. The porcelain tiles are formed using a dust-pressed method, which involves high pressure and higher heat (up to about 1100℃ or 2012℉) than non-porcelain ceramic. This process makes for a stronger and hard-wearing tile.

What types of porcelain tiles are there?

Porcelain tiles are available in many different finishes from naturally textured and matte to semi-and high-gloss options. These products are categorized as either glazed or unglazed finishes. In essence and method, these two types of porcelain are quite similar; the only difference is the glaze that’s applied on top, post-process. 

Adding a glaze, post-process, allows for porcelain tiles to be modified in a few ways:

  • to add additional color or design
  • to reduce the size of naturally porous parts
  • to add a glossy aesthetic
  • to strengthen the tile 

Unglazed porcelain tiles undergo the same process; however, color is added during the process so that the color is mixed all the way through the tile. Unglazed porcelain maintains a naturally porous finish and does not have a glossy or “glazed” finish.

Is porcelain floor tile slippery?

How slippery porcelain tile is all depends upon the finish that is chosen. Every finish is tested prior to distribution and assigned a relative Slip Rating. This Slip Rating allows the manufacturer to specify the level of grip and friction of each tile’s surface. 

Considering the porcelain’s Slip Rating is essential when deciding which finish of porcelain to choose. If choosing porcelain as a flooring product for a space with kids or pets, be sure to choose a finish with an appropriate Slip Rating. 

The same advice applies when considering the location that the tiles will be placed. Porcelain tile placed in a location where it can become wet (i.e., outdoors, entryway, kitchen, bathroom) will become slippery and possibly hazardous. In contrast, Slip Rating is much less of a consideration when porcelain is being used in a non-flooring capacity, like on a wall.

How long does porcelain last?

Porcelain tiles are considerably durable, allowing them to be used in a multitude of high-traffic residential, commercial, and industrial locations.

Glazed finishes create a harder tile, making the porcelain more impervious to everyday wear and tear, and allowing porcelain to be used in a variety of high- and low-traffic areas. 

Materially low-maintenance, porcelain has a low water absorption rate, making it easy to rinse off and wipe down, while also frost-resistant when used outdoors. 

Porcelain is also considered high-heat resistant, which offers a variety of locations to use it in, particularly kitchen and bathroom countertops.  

Where can porcelain tile be used?

Porcelain tile can be used in a variety of locations inside the home as well as outside on patios, balconies, and verandas. Porcelain is also a strong choice for a variety of commercial and industrial settings. 

Versatility is one of porcelain’s greatest assets as a product. Porcelain tiles can be cut thinner to be installed on walls in bathrooms or kitchens, cut thicker to bear heavy loads on floors or outdoors, or cut into thick slabs to be used as countertops. 

What is the cost of porcelain tile?

Porcelain tiles carry an additional weight and thickness that other ceramic tiles do not. While this allows for strength and durability, laying porcelain tiles can be more labor-intensive than other ceramic tiles; therefore, can cost more to install.

Additionally, the type of finish that is chosen for the porcelain tiles will also determine the final cost. Surface condition and installation location (i.e, walls, floors, countertops) can also affect cost.

Generally, the average material cost for porcelain tiles can range from $2 to $30 a square foot. Labor costs typically fall within the $4 to $15 per square foot range.

What sizes does porcelain tile come in?

The sizes of porcelain tiles vary. Some porcelain tiles are produced over-sized and then cut down to smaller sizes.

Often porcelain tiles are “rectified,” which means that they are manufactured to very precise measurements with perfectly-cut edges.

Porcelain tile sizes can be customized by the manufacturer using a diamond saw. They are then cut down to the requested size and shape, often leaving the tiles with saw-cut edges which provide for finer grout joints between tiles when installed.

What shapes do porcelain tiles come in?

Porcelain tiles can be produced in a variety of shapes. From slabs (i.e, for countertops) and planks (i.e., for walls or flooring); to large and small tiles from 4×24 to 48×48, an array of sizes can be cut to fit your design.

What designs are available in porcelain tile?

Since porcelain tiles allow for a wide variety of finishes, the design options are seemingly endless. There are an unlimited combination of colors, finishes, and cuts to fit your design needs. Porcelain tile can even be made to emulate the look of wood, metal, marble, or countless other finishes while still retaining the durability and ease of maintenance porcelain is known for.

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