While there are no real differences between ceramic and glazed porcelain tiles to the average homeowner, the term “vitrified” added to the name is something that you need to understand before you buy vitrified porcelain tiles.
Vitrified means that the product is glass like. In reality, all ceramics are vitrified (glass like) to some extent so it isn’t truly an accurate description.
Fully vitrified tiles or porcelain tiles would have a water absorption rate of less than 0.5 percent. That means a very low water absorption and therefore may not necessarily be glazed.
Tiles with higher water absorption rates (greater than six percent) are at times referred to as “vitrified” when in fact they are not . Vitrified porcelain tiles are quite popular, especially during the last ten years or so. They can be polished or textured with beautiful glazed finishes.
Vitrified porcelain tiles – Are Quite Popular
Porcelain tiles are produced by a mixture of kaolin clays, quartz, and feldspar, then fired at 1200-1300 degrees, forming uniform and compact tiles. In the past, porcelain tiles were often used in commercial applications because of their strength, low porosity, and high abrasion resistance. Due to new techniques and lower production costs, porcelain tiles can now be found in homes all over the world.
Unglazed vitrified porcelain tiles are those that do not have a glaze added to the surface. Instead it is the natural state of the clays and additives that make up the colour of the tile. One of the benefits of a vitrified porcelain tile is that if it does get chipped the colour continues through the body of the tile.
Also, because of its strength, a porcelain tile can be machined to produce a polished surface, a matt texture, or even a rough external surface. Vitrified porcelain tiles can be produced with cut edges (rectified) so that every tile is exactly the same size.
Vitrified porcelain tiles are an awesome product and compete well with natural stones like marbles and granites.
Be aware though, mechanically enhancing the surface of natural porcelain to a polished finish, or even a matt finish, opens up tiny micro pores on the surface of the tile. It is for this reason that most tile manufacturers and retailers recommend that porcelain tiles be sealed – a process which seals these tiny pores.
Vitrified tiles may allow for a “full body” tile, which means that the design is not merely on the surface of the tile, but runs throughout the entire body. The advantage of this is that the tiles become incredibly strong and stain resistant.
Tiles can be laid with readily available tile plastic spacers thereby achieving a uniform joint. As most porcelain is 8-10mm thick, most tilers recommend extra deep spacers. You can compare prices or buy porcelain tiles online at the TFO online tile store.