Ceramic tiles revolutionized interior décor a few millennia ago, and continue to mesmerise with their ability to add unique interface to the building surfaces to date. Modern ceramic manufacturing technologies have allowed us to recreate designs and patterns that almost perfectly mimic the famed natural materials.
Some of the most popular natural material imitations you can find within ceramic tile portfolios are various types of hardwood, marble, onyx, granite, sandstone, slate stone, basalt, etc. Beginning from the humble terracotta, ceramic tiles have come a long way to fascinate us with glazed vitrified designs.
So, now you have a choice of using the traditional ceramic tiles or more sturdy and stone-like vitrified tiles. And, yes they are different in almost every aspect:
Ceramic vs Vitrified Tiles
Ceramic and vitrified tiles have fundamental differences which arise out of their composition and manufacturing process. Here’s a list of key differences between ceramic and vitrified tiles which make these tiles suitable for different applications:
|Ceramic Tiles||Vitrified Tiles|
|Material||Made from clay and other natural minerals fired at about 800 deg. Cel., with a glaze applied on top for colour and design.||Composed of a mixture of clay, silica, and feldspar, and processed through a vitrification process (fired at 1200 deg. Cel.), making them more durable and less porous.|
|Porosity||Generally more porous than vitrified tiles (water absorption 3-7%), making them suitable for indoor areas with low to moderate foot traffic.||Vitrified tiles have a lower water absorption rate (less than 0.5%), making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor spaces with high foot traffic.|
|Finish||Available in various finishes, including matte, glossy, and textured.||Often available in polished or glossy finishes, lending a luxurious and elegant look.|
|Application||Ideal for indoor spaces like living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchen walls.||Suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas, including living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor patios.|
|Cost||Generally more budget-friendly compared to vitrified tiles.||Generally slightly more expensive compared to ceramic tiles due to their enhanced durability.|
Now that you understand the two types of tiles available for the interior décor of your house, let’s check the conditions which define our choices. The best ceramic tile or vitrified tile for your house should conform to the following conditions:
Tile Type and Application
Decide on wall or floor tiles based on the room’s purpose and traffic. Different areas may require different tile types.
Area in the House & Types of Tiles
Choosing floor tiles for different areas in a house requires considering the specific needs and functions of each space. Here are some tips for selecting the right floor tiles:
Living Room and Bedrooms
Opt for comfortable and visually appealing ceramic and porcelain tiles that complement your interior decor. Porcelain tiles are glazed vitrified tiles featuring natural or rich and colourful patterns.
Consider larger tiles to create a sense of spaciousness. You can install high-gloss and polished porcelain floor tiles in these spaces. Consider ceramic wall tiles for wall décor or building accent walls.
3D elevation tiles are also a popular choice for living room and bedroom accent walls.
Choose durable and easy-to-clean tiles, like porcelain or ceramic floor tiles, that can withstand spills and heavy foot traffic.
Consider textured or matte tiles to reduce slipperiness. However, ceramic wall tiles in the kitchen should have a glossy finish to allow a stain-free surface.
Select tiles with low water absorption, such as porcelain, to prevent water damage.
Opt for smaller tiles or mosaics for better grip and drainage in wet areas.
You should try full-wall cladding for your bathroom. However, if the budget does not allow for full cladding consider at least 7 feet of cladding for the entire bathroom, or 5 feet for dry areas and full cladding for shower walls.
Entryway and Hallways
Go for tiles that are resistant to abrasion and wear, like porcelain or natural stone, as these areas receive heavy foot traffic.
You can use 3D elevation vitrified or ceramic wall tiles in these areas. Vitrified tiles are a better choice for exposed areas.
Choose frost-resistant and slip-resistant tiles, like porcelain or natural stone, for patios and outdoor walkways.
Consider textured tiles to prevent slipping when wet. Leading tile manufacturers like H&R Johnson offer purpose-made vitrified tiles for outdoor spaces like Johnson Endura Meteor. These 15 cm thick tiles only need a flat surface or raised support for installation.
Children’s Room or Playroom
Opt for softer and shock-absorbent tiles, like rubber or foam tiles, to provide a safe and comfortable play surface.
You can also consider scratch and stain-free ceramic or porcelain tiles for the walls in the children’s room.
Home Office or Study
Consider wood-look ceramic or vitrified tiles for a warm and inviting atmosphere. You can select one of the large format tiles with an art print for wall décor in this room.
Utility Areas or Store Room
Choose durable and easy-to-clean tiles, like porcelain, that can withstand moisture and heavy use. Glazed vitrified tiles like Johnson EDC (Endura Designer Collection) can provide a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing floor surface for storage areas.
Deciding The Tile Size and Shape
Consider tile dimensions and patterns to match your aesthetic and room size. Larger tiles can make a room feel more spacious. However, installing large tiles in a small area could pose challenges.
Consult with a tile installation expert or the manufacturers for expert guidance on the correct tile size for your room. Square or rectangular tiles are more common and easy to install than other shapes.
Material and Finish
Choose between glazed ceramic and vitrified tiles, and matte or glossy finishes, based on your style and maintenance preferences. Ceramic tiles are lighter and easier to instal on the walls, and hard glossy glaze allows for easy maintenance.
Whereas vitrified tiles offer a more sturdy option for floor applications and are available with several surface finish types.
Durability and Wear Resistance
Look for tiles with high PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) ratings for areas with heavy foot traffic or potential impact. The PEI rating ranges from 0 to 5, with each level representing the tile’s ability to withstand wear and abrasion. Here’s how the PEI rating corresponds to foot traffic:
- PEI 0: Suitable for wall applications only, with minimal foot traffic, such as in bathrooms or as decorative accents.
- PEI 1: Suitable for very light traffic areas, like residential bathrooms or bedrooms with little foot traffic.
- PEI 2: Suitable for light traffic areas, including residential interiors with moderate foot traffic.
- PEI 3: Suitable for medium to heavy foot traffic areas, such as kitchens, living rooms, and entryways.
- PEI 4: Suitable for heavy foot traffic areas, including commercial and institutional spaces.
Wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens should feature low-water absorption tiles to prevent water damage and stains. Special care may be required for sealing the space between the tiles as the top glazed surface offers similar water resistance in both ceramic and vitrified tiles.
Colour and Design
Select colours and patterns that complement your overall decor and evoke the desired ambience. While natural patterns like wood and marble have been popular, you also have the options for:
- High-definition digital printed tiles
- Coordinated tiles
- Mosaic and Moroccan tile designs
- Hexagon and Heritage tiles (small square or subway tiles)
- Special Décor tiles with popup colours
- Terrazzo Tile Designs
- Geometric Patterns
Maintenance and Cleaning
Consider the ease of cleaning and maintenance requirements of the tiles. The kitchen backsplash and counter should use high-gloss stain-free tiles. However, outdoor areas can use 3D elevation wall tiles.
Cost and Budget
Set a budget and explore ceramic tiles that align with your financial constraints. If your budget does not allow for complete tiling, focus on tiling the floor in the most important areas, i.e., kitchen, bathroom, and living room.
Choose a grout colour that complements or contrasts or matches the tile colours to achieve your desired look. Also, use the right type of grout to avoid cracking and early maintenance. Epoxy and polymer grouts are best for outdoor and wet areas.
Few tile manufacturers like H&R Johnson offer tile recycling and have opted for greener manufacturing processes. Buying your tiles from such manufacturers promotes environmentally friendly tiles made from recycled materials.
Factor in installation costs and time required for professional installation if necessary. Two factors affect the tile installation cost after the material – tile size and required cutting and shaping of tiles.
This is why selecting the correct tile size could save money on tiling your home.
Where to Buy Ceramic & Vitrified Tiles?
Selecting the right ceramic tile for your home involves a thoughtful assessment of various factors. The tile type, size, surface finish, durability, water resistance, and maintenance requirements, each factor plays a crucial role in tile performance and experience.
You can confidently choose appropriate ceramic and vitrified tiles that align with your lifestyle, enhance your home’s ambience, and withstand the test of time. You should visit the Experience Centres and dealerships of leading tile manufacturers like H&R Johnson to experience the tile designs before purchasing.
You can also connect with tiling experts and hire installation experts from these places, ensuring a beautiful and enduring flooring solution for your sanctuary.