Tile, porcelain stoneware, terracotta – what are the differences?

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Some people who have never done a renovation have trouble distinguishing between certain finishing materials. What are the differences between tiles, stoneware and terracotta? What are the characteristics of these products?

What is a tile? Advantages and disadvantages of tiles

Tile is a finishing material produced from impure kaolin, protected by glaze, which makes it almost 100% resistant to water absorption. This type of tile is brittle, susceptible to mechanical damage and quite lightweight.

The advantages of glazed tiles include strength to load, high resistance to fungi, mold and chemicals, so it is easy to remove any dirt. The advantage of this product is also highly decorative, a wide selection of colors, textures and sizes. It is worth mentioning that glazed tiles can be used in rooms with floor heating.

What is stoneware? Advantages and disadvantages of stoneware tiles

Stoneware tiles are made from a noble variety of stoneware (they can be natural – in which case they require impregnation – or glazed), which is first pressed and then fired at 1300 degrees Celsius. Unlike glazed tiles, they are resistant to changing weather conditions (frost resistant), thanks to which they can be used not only at home, but also, for example, on terraces and balconies.

Tiles made of porcelain stoneware are also very hard (they do not crack when hit), durable and easy to maintain (they are not susceptible to staining). Their advantage is low water absorption (below 0,5%). Very popular are wood-like stoneware and stoneware imitating concrete or stone. This type of material is also free of lime efflorescence typical for e.g. natural concrete or cobblestones and does not require any care. It is a durable and aesthetic solution for years.

What is terracotta? Advantages and disadvantages of stoneware tiles

Terracotta tiles are made of fine-grained, purified clay. It is a hard and durable finishing material (though not as durable as stoneware) that has been used in construction for thousands of years. Terracotta is also more resistant to mechanical damage than glazed tiles. Its absorbability is 3%

It is most often used for finishing floors, although it can also be applied on walls. Terracotta can be used in rooms with increased humidity – it works well both in the kitchen and in the bathroom.

What to look for when buying tiles?

Now that we know the differences between the basic types of tiles available on the market, it’s worth mentioning what parameters you should pay attention to, so you won’t regret your investment. The key issues, which you should analyze during your visit to the store, are:

  • abrasion class (defined by the abbreviation PEI),
  • anti-slip properties,
  • water absorption (should not exceed 3%),
  • size (the most popular sizes are 60×60, 90×60, 45×45),
  • price (don’t buy the cheapest available tiles),
  • thickness,
  • rectification (thanks to it, we can use a minimum amount of grout),
  • chemical properties,
  • bending strength.

As you can see, both gres tiles, glazed tiles and terracotta are products with advantages and disadvantages. We hope that thanks to our article you will make an informed choice of finishing material.

Main photo: freepik.com

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