Please note that the information provided in our FAQs is general purpose only. We ask that that you consult with your qualified tradesperson for further advice and recommendations on any specific installations you have in mind.
Q: What are ceramic tiles made of?
A: The terminology can be confusing as "ceramic tiles" are considered to be part of a larger classification that is broken down into two groups: porcelain tiles and non-porcelain tiles. Non-porcelain tiles are often referred to as ceramic tiles by themselves.
Ceramic (or non-porcelain) tiles are made from a mixture of red or white clay, sand, and other natural materials. The mixture is often then pressed into the shape of a tile and then kiln-fired at high temperatures. Afterwards, they are most often finished with a durable glaze to carry the colour and pattern.
Q: What's the difference between porcelain and ceramic (non-porcelain) tile?
A: As described above, ceramic (non-porcelain) tile is made from a mixture of clay and other materials. They are normally softer and easier to cut than porcelain tiles. Non-porcelain tiles are good for light to moderate traffic only (PEI rating of 3 or below) and are more prone to scratches and wear than porcelain tiles.
Porcelain tile is generally made from porcelain clays and are fire at high temperatures than non-porcelain tiles, making them more dense and impervious. Glazed porcelain tile can be used for high traffic areas (PEI rating of 5 or below) and outdoors due to low water absorption rate of less than 0.5% and frost resistance.
Q: What tiles can be used outdoors?
A: Generally speaking, any high quality porcelain tile can be used outdoors. Be aware of slip-resistance requirements, frost resistance, and water absorption rate (0.5% or less). Small size tiles are better suited for exteriors in extreme climates.