Take a closer look at porce­lain tiles

Porce­lain works well on a kitchen floor where de­mands for per­for­mance are high

House Beautiful (UK) - - Contents -

LAST­ING PAT­TERN

The beauty of porce­lain tiles lies in the many colours, pat­terns and styles avail­able – all made pos­si­ble be­cause of high-def­i­ni­tion dig­i­tal ink print­ing. Colours don’t fade, and dis­tinct pat­tern de­tails and de­signs mean they of­ten look like real wood or stone.

SHOW OF STRENGTH

Porce­lain tiles are made from a more re­fined and pu­ri­fied clay than ce­ramic tiles, and are fired at higher tem­per­a­tures to pro­duce a denser, harder tile that’s lon­glast­ing and less por­ous. As they ab­sorb very lit­tle water, they’re ideal for kitchens and bath­rooms. The non-por­ous sur­face is also stain re­sis­tant and can with­stand freez­ing tem­per­a­tures, so tiles can be used out­side – per­fect for achiev­ing a seam­less in­door-out­door flow. As the sur­face is so durable, it’s less likely to scratch or chip so suits house­holds with chil­dren and pets, as well as high-traffic ar­eas, such as hall­ways.

DE­SIGN CRE­DEN­TIALS

The top sur­face of glazed porce­lain tiles is coated with a de­sign or colour with a gloss, matt or tex­tured fin­ish that’s im­per­vi­ous to stain­ing and water. When unglazed, the colour and pat­tern pen­e­trates the en­tire tile.

This is a good op­tion where there’s heavy foot­fall, as scuffs or a chip are less no­tice­able. It can also be left nat­u­ral, tex­tured for slip-re­sis­tance, or pol­ished with abra­sive heads for a shiny fin­ish.

NEAT FIT

Make sure the tiles are ap­pro­pri­ate for their use. The Porce­lain Enamel In­sti­tute (PEI) rat­ing iden­ti­fies tile suit­abil­ity in the home, rang­ing from PEI 0 for wall tiles to PEI 5 for heavy traffic. Walls need to be sound enough to carry the load; if not, a tile-backer board should be fit­ted. Porce­lain can be tiled di­rectly onto screed or tim­ber floors that have been braced with ply­wood. They’re good heat con­duc­tors, but an­tifrac­ture mat­ting should be put down be­fore tiling is laid over un­der­floor heat­ing.

BEST PRO­TEC­TION

Some porce­lain tiles come pre-sealed. If not, ap­ply­ing a sealer when the tiles have been laid, be­fore and af­ter grout­ing, will give best pro­tec­tion. Use the cor­rect sealant for the tile fin­ish and re-seal ev­ery five years. Clean with warm water and a pH-neu­tral cleaner. Acidic spills like juice can break down the sealer so reap­ply af­ter clean­ing.

Turn to p174 for ad­vice on lay­ing floor tiles

THE DE­TAILS

Walls and Floors On­line com­pany with more than 1,600 porce­lain tiles in over 200 dif­fer­ent ranges and of­ten dis­counted. 01536 314730; wall­sand­floors.co.uk

Porce­lain Su­per­store Lots of op­tions for porce­lain tiles that mimic nat­u­ral stone or wood.

porce­lain­su­per­store.co.uk

Stone & Ce­ramic

Ware­house Of­fers a good choice of large for­mat porce­lain tiles and slabs.

020 8993 5545; sacw.co.uk

Floors of Stone Clas­sic porce­lain floor tiles mainly in a matt fin­ish and in sub­tle neu­tral tones. 01509 234000; floor­sof­s­tone.com

Luna Grey chevron porce­lain floor tiles (9.5 x 54cm), £90 a sq me­tre, Stone & Ce­ramic Ware­house

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