When you visit a tile showroom you may be overwhelmed by the countless options available for your bathroom floor. Such terms as porcelain, ceramic and natural stone will be thrown around but what exactly are they? Here we explain these terms and how they wear on a bathroom floor.
If you’re after a product for your floor that is outstanding in durability and quality and will last a lifetime, porcelain is your ‘go to’ tile. Porcelain tiles have been fired up to extreme temperatures making them extremely strong, impervious to moisture and resistant to extreme heat or cold. You will never have to seal a glazed porcelain tile and it can be cleaned with most household products. One of the most exciting features about porcelain tile of recent years is how far digital inkjet technology has advanced allowing porcelain to perfectly simulate natural products such as timber, marble, terrazzo, concrete and slate with ease. The resemblance is as impressive as it is authentic and in most cases, you’d be hard pressed telling the difference between the man-made product and the real thing.
The main difference between ceramic and porcelain is that ceramic is fired at a lower temperature. This can make the product less durable and more prone to scratching and cracking if care is not taken. For this reason it is not recommended for floors in high traffic areas such as public spaces but is suitable in an average family bathroom where every day ‘wear and tear’ is not excessive.
NATURAL STONE TILE
There’s something very special about the characteristic patterns and tonal variation of natural stone. Marble, terrazzo, concrete and slate tiles exude an opulent look and feel that is hard to beat. But before you fall in love with this product there are some important maintenance facts you should know. All natural stone is porous meaning it has microscopic holes on its surface. When installing natural stone on floors and especially in ‘wet’ areas, these pores need to be treated with a stone sealer to help prevent staining, etching and wearing. The sealing process is not a one off thing, instead it is a job that needs to be done regularly depending on how much traffic the stone has received. The effort of sealing may well be worth the joy and beauty you receive from these impressive tiles on an everyday basis, however some people may find man made tiles to be a more practical long term solution.
Handmade tiles offer a style that is quite different to any other tile available. Imperfect edges, glaze variation, interesting patterns and colours that contrast from tile to tile are handmade trademarks that highlight their uniqueness and ultimate sense of beauty. This simply cannot be achieved with a man made product. Like natural stone, if your handmade product does not have a glaze on its surface it will need to be sealed for your bathroom floor.
As you can see the benefits of a porcelain tile outweigh most other tile products and is a popular choice for floors but with so many other beautiful options available, the decision will ultimately come down to choosing a product that perfectly suits your sense of style, design and personality.
Article By Julie Patterson of David Scott Tile, Bath & Stone
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