There are many types of tiles. Does it matter what you choose? What is the difference between them? Let's look at some of the more common tile types.
Quarry tile is made from clay or shales. You might think of it as the same material as brick manufacture - except this is formed into tiles. Often, quarry tiles are used in the following sizes: 6x6; 4x8; 8x8. You may also see tile in a 12x12 size. Quarry tile is very durable.
Glazed tiles are one type of ceramic tile that is fired in a kiln to create an almost glass-type coating. Glazed tiles are highly recommended because the coating seals the tile. This makes it waterproof and easy to clean. Any grouting used should be sealed in addition to the glazing on the tile. Be sure to look for (or make) a non-toxic grouting material for your tile floors. If you plan to implement passive solar in your home, then darker grout will absorb and hold the heat more efficiently than light colored grout.
- Ceramic tiles are a clay body tile that is covered in a thin glaze. Ceramic tiles are always suitable for wall use, and some also may be suitable for floor use.
- Ceramic tiles can be produced from wet clay that has been extruded or machined into long sections that are cut into tiles, or they can be produced from compressed dry clay dust. If a ceramic tile has been fired once, it is only suitable for wall use. If the tile has been fired twice, it can be installed on the floor.
- Ceramic tiles may be hand or machine made, and come in a variety of styles, sizes and thicknesses.
- Porcelain tiles are a heavy, dense clay tile made of compressed clay dust and fired to extremely high temperatures. The color of a porcelain tile frequently is added to the clay itself, giving the tiles a "color through" body. If a porcelain tile were to chip, it would be less noticeable than if a colored glaze were to come off.
- Porcelain tiles are so dense they can be polished to a glossy surface or left matte. They can be glazed or printed with additional patterns on top of the surface.
Terracotta tile is a type of floor tile that picks up the clay color from which it is made. Colors may vary from brown to orange to numerous other shades, according to the chemical composition of the clay.
Recycled Glass Tiles
These tiles, made from post-consumer (what you recycle from household use) or post-industrial (what manufacturers recycle) glass. They are becoming extremely popular because they are Eco-friendly and use a substance that used to end up in landfills.
Since glass comes in a multitude of colors, recycled glass tile is available in a wide spectrum of shades and can be designed into all types of patterns.
(Some excerpts are from building-your-green-home.com)
Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile
- Many ceramic tiles produced today are meant for wall tile use only. They are fired once, with a glassy glaze that is not durable for foot traffic. Ceramic tiles can be decorative, with embossed designs, dimensional handcrafted images or hand painted with a range of colors and designs.
- Ceramic tiles designed for floor tile use will be thicker and typically will have a textured or matte glaze finish. A ceramic floor tile also can be installed on the walls.
- Porcelain tiles can be used anywhere inside or outside the home. Porcelain tiles are non-porous and extremely dense, so they do not absorb water or moisture, making them perfect for showers, high-traffic floors and exterior uses as well.
- Porcelain tiles can be glazed in finishes to resemble leather, metal, wood and fabric but rarely have highly decorated designs. Because of the way they are made, they always are produced by machine and, therefore, have a higher rate of consistency and less variation than ceramic tiles.
Now... does that help? Or are you still mystified?