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What are Ceramic Tiles?

Oct 11, 2007
Ceramic tiles are variously shaped slabs, made from a mixture of clay, sand, and a host of other natural ingredients. Since decades, it has been a popular decorative option. According to certain records, its history dates back to 4th century BC when ceramic materials were used to grace houses. There are also records regarding its usage by Mesopotamians during the 4000 BC.

In China, it became more popular during the reign of Shang Yin Dynasty in between 1523 and 1028 BC. After sometimes, they became an important segment of Islamic architecture. Apart from these, Assyrians and Babylonians also used it. Meanwhile, its production and usage gained much popularity in Europe, the examples for which are the faiences of Antwerp and the floor tiles of renaissance Italy. Later, it was widely accepted across the world as a popular decorative and flooring option. Now, it has been fondly used as a popular wall and flooring options in a variety of areas like homes, offices, churches, and mosques.

As mentioned earlier, ceramic tiles are primarily made from clay and a range of raw materials. Sometimes, even items such as old florescent bulbs, auto windshields, and ground glass used for its making. Among the steps involved in the most modern production method are batching, mixing and blending, grinding, spray drying, drying, glazing, and firing.

Batching is to determine the amount and the type as well as the color of raw materials required for its manufacture. In mixing and grinding, clay and other materials are blended whose combination gives a semi fine powder. Later, some water is poured on it to get a mud-like item. Drying involves the pumping of this mud-like item to a large dryer, whose result is fine clay powder.

The next step is glazing, which provides it a glazing look. During this process, a liquid made of colored dyes and flirt (glass derivatives) is poured on the tile using a high-pressure spray or by directly pouring on the tile. The last but the important step is firing. In this phase, the tiles are heated at a desirable temperature in the kiln. On the completion of these steps, ceramic tiles attain properties like hardness, rigidity, and fragility.

Different types of ceramic tiles are now made available that suit your pocket and match with your lifestyle and preferences. The most popular category of ceramic tiles is glazed tiles and unglazed tiles. The main difference between both the tiles is that unglazed ones are fired only once, while manufacturing of glazed ones undergo a special process, namely, glazing. Glazed tiles are available in an infinite variety of colors and styles, apart from a range of finishes like matte, satin, and high gloss. Unlike glazed tiles, unglazed ceramic tiles possess natural colors. Clinker, red stoneware, and terracotta are some of the popular types of unglazed tiles.

The ceramic tiles are again classified into floor tiles and wall tiles. Floor tiles are considered one of the best options to beautify floors in areas like bedrooms and lounges, whereas wall tiles are used for surfacing fireplaces, kitchen and bathroom walls.

Depending upon its usage, ceramic tiles are again grouped into five categories. Soft as well as scuff, Group 1 is most suitable to surface bathrooms. Group 2 is considered the best for common residential purposes, however, not recommended in areas like kitchens. Apart from its applications in residential areas, Group 3 can be used in office spaces. Group 4 are used both in residential and commercial areas. The last group is intended for heavy traffic areas like restaurants, shopping complexes, and malls. There is also a special category, called whiteware, which are exclusively designed for special purposes like adorning the interior or exterior of a building or home.

In contrast to other flooring options like marble and granite, ceramic tiles offer a range of benefits, including easy installation, cost effectiveness, durability, resistant to chemicals, and stain resistant. Further, they are regarded as a boon for allergy and asthma sufferers, as they are easy to clean and are resistant to dust, abrasions, and chemicals. Above all, this flooring option can easily be fitted to any surface.

Nowadays, ceramic tiles come in a plethora of styles, fashions, designs, and finishes. A recent addition is decorative tile. Also, popular nowadays are hand painted ones.
About the Author
Maverand offers the largest variety of ceramic tile, marble and granite mosaic and garden decorations . All products are carefully selected and come from the most qualified factories in Hong Kong and China.
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