Over the years, flooring options for the kitchen and bathroom have more or less been tiles. Tiles are easy to clean, resist water and are also incredibly durable. It is no wonder that you can come across a wide range of flooring varieties within the tile category alone.
An Introduction to Porcelain Tile Flooring
Many people make the mistake of assuming that porcelain flooring is as delicate as the fine china dinnerware they have stored away in their cupboards. Interestingly, this type of flooring is similar to ceramic flooring. However, it is a lot more durable, making it a popular choice. It is made from clay which in turn consists of kaolin and sometimes also includes materials like quartz, crushed china stone, one ash, glass, petuntse, alabaster or steatite. They are a lot more durable than ceramic tiles due to their higher feldspar content.
What Makes Them Durable?
These tiles are a world apart from other flooring options in the tile category because of the extremely high temperature it has to endure when it is fired. In fact, the high temperature causes it to become hard and durable, making it extremely valuable as a flooring material. When the clay is fired at high heat, glass and another mineral called mullite are formed. This helps in increasing the strength and the durability of the tiles.
Types of Porcelain Tiles
According to the experts in the industry, there are two types of porcelain tiles, namely glazed and through bodied. The latter flooring option comes in even colors and textures while the former has a wear layer appearance caused due to the glaze. Glazed tiles come in a wider range of patterns and colors. If you are not sure whether you have ceramic porcelain flooring, all you need to do is check for the water absorption rate. The flooring is deemed to be porcelain if the rate of absorption is less than 0.5%.
Porcelain Flooring through the Ages
In the long-gone era, porcelain was deemed to be a luxury item. It was used to adorn the homes of royalty and the nobles. It made its first appearance in China during the early days of the Han Dynasty. In fact, several Chinese tiles of those days are present in modern museums. As soon as it made its way to Europe it became a huge hit. These tiles were prized and used by the rich and wealthy to decorate their homes, villas, and churches. Interestingly, several European palaces feature rooms that are decorated with beautiful eye-catchy tiles. As time went by, modern manufacturing methods made it possible for people from all walks of life to have access to these beautiful tiles. Thankfully, you no longer need to have Chinese or European royal ancestors to opt for porcelain tiles for your home.
Durability: The Secret Behind the Popularity of Porcelain Tiles
As mentioned earlier, these tiles have been prized in history over other flooring materials like ceramic tiles, wood and so on. This is because the tiles are a lot harder and denser than other flooring options. It has the ability to withstand heavy traffic with no sign of chipping or cracking. In fact, many airports, hospitals, museums, etc. have porcelain flooring to reduce the wear and tear caused by the constant movement of people. The PEI rating established by the Porcelain Enamel Institute is used to rate the hardness of the tiles. It can be a value from one to five. A rating of one on the PEI scale indicates that the tile is better suited for walls as it is not that hard. A rating of five indicates that the tile will perform extremely well in areas of heavy foot traffic, making it perfect for industrial and commercial uses.
Another reason why porcelain tiles are extremely popular in industries is its water-resistant attribute. Glazed tiles are extremely resistant to water and can also take in scuff, scrapes, and chips at ease. Thorough bodied tiles tend to have the same color and texture. This ensures that even if it does get chipped (although this is highly unlikely) it will go unnoticed. These tiles are built to last for a lifetime with little maintenance, making it a great option for several purposes.
Porcelain Flooring Puts the V in Versatility
Porcelain flooring comes in a wide variety of colors, styles, patterns, and textures. With unlimited design potential, you can opt for anything that your heart desires. These tiles can also mimic other styles like marble, wood, granite, limestone, fabric or even leather. According to the experts atThe Design Center Washington DC, the industry has tweaked digital imaging technology to create any pattern, texture or color that you want. If you would like a hardwood floor, but do not want to put in the time or effort to look after it, these tiles have your back!
Benefits offered by Porcelain Flooring
Porcelain flooring has been able to remain one of the most preferred flooring options due to the many advantages it offers. Read on to understand some of the benefits:
Since these tiles have very low absorption rates, you do not need to worry about the tiles absorbing any spills that can lead to bacteria, allergens or even weird odors in your home. In fact, many homeowners with pets prefer to have porcelain tiles so that unexpected accidents do not cause the entire house to stink. Since these floor tiles are highly water-resistant you can keep them clean by mopping it with warm, clean water.
These tiles are fired at high temperatures, making them fire-resistant as well. This is one of the reasons why it is a critical part of the thermal protection system in space shuttles.
Easy To Repair
Although the tiles do not get damaged easily, it is a lot easier to repair, when compared to other flooring options. All you have to do is remove the damaged tile and replace it with a new one.
Increase Real Estate Value
According to the experts in the real estate industry, homes with aesthetic ceramic tiles help increase the resale value tremendously.
Installing Porcelain Tile Flooring
Although laying tiles might look like an easy job, it is not exactly a DIY friendly project. It is better to leave the job to the professionals. Some homeowners make the mistake of using the wrong type of adhesive, which does not work for porcelain tiles. This will cause the tiles to come loose, leading to chaos and disarray over time. The porcelain tiles are heavier than ceramic tiles and thereby require a special mix of setting compounds and cement. If the installation is not done correctly, the flaws will become apparent once the mortar begins to dry. Another reason why it is a good idea to leave flooring installation to the experts is that you may need to cut the tiles. Most tiles are cut according to the shape of the room or to allow space for other fixtures. This requires special tools and saws to ensure that the cuts are seamless and do not stand out after the installation is complete.
Maintaining Porcelain Flooring
After the flooring installation is complete, it requires low maintenance. You can keep it clean and smooth with occasional vacuuming and regular sweeping. Since the surfaces of the tiles are smooth, it is easy to keep it dust free and clean. While mopping a hardwood floor is a difficult process, it can be easily done on a ceramic tile floor. As long as you avoid abrasive cleaners you are in the clear. Mopping the tiles regularly keeps them clean and shiny. You can thank your lucky stars that new manufacturing methods have made these tiles a lot more affordable and easy to maintain. It has never been this easy to pick out a tile of your choice of color, pattern, and texture.
Porcelain Flooring: Yay Or Nay?
Although porcelain flooring offers several benefits, many homeowners still ponder over the choice. If you are one of those, check out the following questions:
Do you have kids at home?
Are you a pet owner?
Does anyone in your family have allergies?
Do you like making sure that your home is clean?
Would you like to have an easy maintenance flooring option?
Are you looking for affordable flooring options?
Are you interested in a flooring option that is durable and strong?
Are you finding it difficult to find an easy to maintain flooring option that resembles hardwood?
If you answered yes to four or more of the above questions, this type of flooring is the right choice. These tiles can withstand heavy traffic. So if you have young toddlers who can’t stay still for a minute or teenage kids who enjoy roughhousing through your home, this flooring is the best way to go. After all, nobody wants to go through the ordeal of redoing their flooring every couple of years.
Installing these durable tiles can give you that additional edge if you are particular about the resale value of your property. Apart from doing that, it can also turn your home like one of those you see in interior designing magazines.