Like any and every ceramic material e.g. tableware, sanitary ware or building materials, Ceramic Tiles are made from mixture of clay, sand and other natural substances. As shown in the diagram below these pastes are prepared and are then molded into the required shapes. They are then fired at high temperatures between 1000 @ and 1250 @ C, depending on the type of tile.
Uses of ceramic tile
Ceramic tiles are used for floors and walls. Tiles are building materials that add the finishing touches and serve two important purposes: As a design function As a technical function Tiles are building materials that will make a building able to withstand, without cracking or deteriorating, the various types of stress to which it is subjected by its environment.
Two important points to be considered while choosing tiles
The design depends on taste and the delight given by the various decorative arrangements.
The technical criterion is based on the knowledge of materials and their physical properties.
Types of Tiles
There is a vast range of wall and floor tiles to choose from, the variety is perhaps as great as that for clothes and fabrics.
Glazed or Unglazed
Glazed Tiles are those that have a surface that is covered by a colored layer of glaze. This provides them important design characteristics such as shine, color, shade etc and technical characteristics like hardness, impermeability, etc. On the other hand, Unglazed tiles are perfectly uniform both in thickness and in surface. They normally don’t even have any decorations or patterns. Compact or Porous Body The body may be compact/ impervious or it may have "pores" which are linked to each other in various ways. You would require an extremely powerful microscope see this characteristic in the body tiles. To measure porosity, water absorption is measured. This implies: the higher the water absorption, the more porous the body.
Pressed or extruded
Ceramic tiles can be created either by pressing or extrusion. Pressed tiles are those which are made from a clay paste that is compacted by a high pressure press. Extruded tiles are created by passing the raw materials in form of a paste through a special tube.
Red or clear (or white) Paste
The body of the tiles can be colored to any color shade from yellow to reddish brown depending on the raw materials used. Otherwise they could be whitish (sometimes white). The color of the body is pretty much insignificant when it comes to Glazed Tiles. For specific unglazed tiles, different colors can be incurred by adding coloring pigments.
Different shapes and dimensions
Tiles can be cut into various shapes and sizes, the most common shapes are square and rectangular. However there are other shapes with varying complexity like octagonal, hexagonal, Moorish, etc. The proportion range for mosaic tiles varies from 2.5" of length to of 24" of side length and more. The thickness varies from 1/3" to over 2/3".