There are two basic types of modern ceramic tiles: classic wall ceramic tiles and Porcelain tiles or gres. They differ in the materials from which the tiles are made & in the technology or production process. Ceramic tiles are a natural material made from clay that has been used and improved for millennium. When we talk about classic ceramic tiles, we have in mind glazed ceramic tiles, which are intended for indoor use. These tiles have a porous ceramic body and are protected with a waterproof glaze. These tiles are an ideal choice for interior wall cladding, as they are relatively light and extremely easy to maintain and clean. They are ideal for humid places such as bathroom or kitchen. Modern technology combined with advances in science and the availability of materials from around the world allows for ever-improving properties of ceramic tiles, lower production costs and unlimited decoration options. Although there are wall and floor ceramic tiles, nowadays only wall tiles are increasingly used, and porcelain tiles are replacing ceramic floor tiles due to better technical as well as visual properties.
Porcelain or frost-resistant tiles are a special type of ceramic tiles, the main feature of which is that they practically do not absorb water. The tile can be classified as porcelain or frost-resistant if they have a water absorption of less than 0.5%, in accordance with the national and European standard SIST EN 14411. A special type of clay is used to produce porcelain tiles, which contain most of the mineral kaolin and has a different ratio of basic elements. Kiln firing takes place at higher temperatures than with classic ceramic tiles, which triggers specific chemical reactions. The essence of porcelain is that in the process of kiln firing there is vitrification or partial fusion of clay. This means that new chemical bonds are formed in the material, making it denser, firmer and less porous.
As they practically do not absorb water, porcelain tiles are suitable for outdoor spaces even in cold climates, as they are resistant to frost. Porcelain tiles are stronger, heavier and more resistant than classic ceramic tiles, so they are used as a floor covering even for heavily loaded floor surfaces. They are also an ideal choice for balconies, terraces, yards, or as a facade cladding. Because porcelain is inherently non-porous, it does not need a thick layer of glaze to protect against water absorption. Porcelain tiles are glazed with a thinner layer of glaze, which gives them a rougher, genuinely natural look and texture, making them ideal for modern design projects that strive to bring the artificial environment as close as possible to natural, as nature is the fundamental inspiration of modern aesthetics in elegance.
Due to their superior properties and unlimited design possibilities, porcelain tiles are increasingly replacing other natural materials, especially wood and stone, which are more expensive and more difficult to maintain. Porcelain tiles are an ideal covering for underfloor heating, as they have better thermal conductivity than parquet or laminate and even accumulate heat, thus reducing heating costs. Porcelain tiles represent the majority of modern ceramics production, and are used both outdoors and indoors. In a modern home, porcelain tiles cover all floor surfaces, and porcelain or wall ceramic tiles or a combination of both are used for the walls in the bathroom and kitchen.