Types of Tile Materials:
Ceramic is made mostly of red or white clay mixed with various minerals and water and fired in a kiln to solidify. Ceramic is porous and more likely to absorb water. The top surface of the tile is usually sealed with glaze creating a design layer that determines the tile's finished colour, design and texture. Ceramic tiles are best suited for indoor walls and floors with light to moderate traffic. They are a little more susceptible to wear, chipping and cracking.
Made mostly of finely ground sand and highly refined and purified clays. These are processed at a temperature much higher than that of ceramic. The finished product is a glass-like tile that is denser and more durable than ceramic. Porcelain has a water absorption rate of 0.5% and is less porous. Porcelain tiles are sometimes glazed for extra durability through glazing is not always necessary. Porcelain tiles are suitable for areas with light to heavy traffic due to its higher density and durability.
Types of Tile Finishes:
Tiles with a gloss finish have a shiny and reflective surface coating, perfect for modern spaces. They are great to use indoors in a bathroom or kitchen, either on the floor, walls or splashback. Gloss tiles are not recommended for Outdoor use. They are also easy to clean and incredibly stain resistant.
Tiles with a matt finish have a hard granular surface that absorbs rather than reflects light.
The matt finish is suited to all spaces, but often used for a more rustic/timeless style.
Matt tiles are frequently used in indoor living areas, hallways, entryways, and outdoors due to its slip resistance.
Tiles with a lappato finish (sometimes known as semi-polished/honed) is a perfect cross between matt and polished tiles, the effect is a soft matt finish with areas of sheen. The lappato finish is achieved by reducing the time the surface is polished, producing a softer finish and often using glaze/unglazed porcelain tiles. Reflection isn't as prominent as that of a polished tile, but still provides an attractive gleam and is popular for use on both floors and walls.
Tiles with a polished finish are usually stone/porcelain. The tile is repeatedly passed under a polishing wheel to achieve the smooth and shiny finish. The high sheen gives polished tiles an elegant and luxurious feel, and can have a higher slip risk compared to non-polished tiles.
A glazed tile is a standard ceramic or porcelain tile that is coated with a liquid glass which is then baked into the surface of the clay. The glaze serves multiple functions; it bonds to the tile material creating a waterproof barrier and strong protective shell, and it can be used to add colours and patterns for a decorative effect. The glaze also acts to smooth microscopic pores making the tile smooth, stain-resistant, and easy to clean.