Types of Tiles

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic Tiles are available glazed or unglazed. Glazed tiles are available plain or decorated and can be used on walls and floors.

Unglazed ceramic floor tiles are more suited to commercial and industrial settings, but can be used in laundries and utility rooms. They are available with a non-slip profile.

Quarry Tiles

Made from natural clay squeezed through an extruding machine, and then fired. The tiles are mostly available in terracotta, black and white colours.

Terracotta Tiles

Also made from local clays. Terracotta means “cooked earth” and these products tend to be very absorbent, so need sealing when used on the floor.

Porcelain Tiles

These tiles are the same as Ceramic Tiles, but with a very low absorbency. They are usually made from kaolin clays, feldspar, silica and colouring oxides and are fired at about 1200oC. As Porcelain tiles are stain, scratch, shock, frost and chemical resistant they are very hard wearing and can be used on walls or floors.

Many can be used indoors or outdoors and are available in matt and gloss finishes and glazed or polished.

Mosaics

Very small tiles, usually less than 35cm2. Mosaics can be glazed or unglazed and made from porcelain, ceramic, glass or natural stone.

Natural stone products

Limestone, Marble, Granite and Slate are quarried from the earth. Some of these stones are extremely hard, and some quite soft. Some may need sealing.

These beautiful looking tiles are made from naturally occurring substances, which means each tile has a slight variation in colour and texture, giving them a very distinctive look.

The most popular types of natural stone tiles are:

  • Limestone – classical soft, warm creamy white in appearance
  • Travertine – a form of limestone that comes in darker natural shades of beige, cream and soft brown
  • Slate – formed from volcanic ash to produce a very durable stone in dark and earthy colours
  • Marble – crystal structures produce an almost translucent appearance at the surface, for a classically luxurious look
  • Granite – one of the hardest stones, extremely beautiful and available in many colours

There are various types of finishes for natural stone tiles including:

  • Honed – where the surface has been filled and ground to a smooth surface
  • Riven – where the faces of the tiles are irregular due to material being split by hand (e.g. slate or sandstone)
  • Polished – where a layer of gloss has been added

Natural stone tiles will need sealing to protect them from dirt and stains, to enhance their colour and to keep them looking beautiful for many years.

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