Types of ceramic tiles
According to experts, there are three main types of ceramics, as determined by the composition of the material and the type of firing used to make it. When you are choosing decorative ceramic tiles for your home, you need to understand the difference between them as they each have quite different properties and uses.
How are ceramics made?
Pottery is derived from a mix of natural substances, including clay and sand. Chemically, the compounds of these substances are complex silicates. It is the elements other than silicon and oxygen that determine the properties of the ceramics that are made from them. For example, the presence of iron in the silicate causes a red-orange color.
When silicates are subjected to very high temperatures (900 to 1400°C), the water present in the original compounds is expelled, allowing chemical bonding between the silicate layers. This gives the ceramic a structural strength that the original material did not have.
What are the three types of ceramic tiles?
- Earthenware it is porous, opaque and scratches easily. But it is a popular pottery used by hobbyists to make ceramics, as it is easy to form bowls or vases. The firing process can be carried out in a home oven, in which the temperature varies from 900°C (red) to 1100°C (yellow-orange). When not used for potting, it may be called quarry tilePrayed terracotta.
- Stoneware it is non-porous and after firing it has a very smooth surface. It is difficult to scratch, so it is used for cooking and tableware. And it is also the most widely used ceramic for decorative ceramics.
- porcelain It is also non-porous and has a smooth surface, but it is much harder than stoneware and is more glassy. This is caused by being fired at a much higher temperature (1200 to 1400°C).
There are several terms that are often misused and can cause confusion. They are sometimes used to describe a type of ceramic tile, but are actually terms used to describe a feature or use of the tile.
Glaze The tiles can be ceramic tiles of any type. The term “enamelled” simply means that they are coated with glass-forming minerals that are shiny and often colored. This process waterproofs the tiles and makes them stain resistant.
Mosaic Tiles are not a different type of ceramic material. They are tiles that are usually small in size, so they can be used to make a “mosaic”, a decoration or a painting. They can be made not only of ceramic material, but also of glass, natural stone or even metal.
Ceramic tiles can be used in the home in many ways, but that is not the subject of this article. Suffice it to say that now that you are familiar with the different types of ceramics, it will be easier for you to choose decorative ceramic tiles for any application you need.