Ceramic remains a popular choice for flooring material, as well as offering an attractive appearance, it is relatively cheap and hardwearing. There are many different varieties of ceramic, but tiles are generally made from combinations of natural elements including sand and clay. This mixture is then hardened by being fired in a kiln. Ceramic floor tiles are generally finished in a glaze. Although this glaze is not compulsory, it provides a level of protection which makes maintenance cleaning easier and helps prevent staining. Ceramic tiles differ from porcelain tiles in that they are less dense and more porous. Porcelain tiles are made using finer sand, and are fired at a higher temperature.
One of the reasons ceramic floors are so common is that tiles can be cut into a huge variety of different shapes and sizes, limited only by the dimensions of the kiln in which they have been fired and the means by which they will be transported.
Types of ceramic tile
There are some specific types of ceramic tile floor which generally take their names from the designs which appear on their surface, rather than their constituency. Victorian Minton is a popular style associated with the Minton tile manufacturer of the victorian era, these are also known as Edwardian tiles.
Installation of ceramic tiles
Installing ceramic tile flooring remains relatively straight forward as they can be laid on a range of surfaces. In some cases there may be concrete or sand under a ceramic tiled floor, but they can even be laid on top of existing tiles. They are fully compatible with underfloor heating systems too, so if you’re considering underfloor heating they’re a great option! They’re generally held in place with adhesive and, if installed properly, are unlikely to come unseated during their lifetime. Whilst it’s important to clean ceramic tiles fairly regularly to avoid staining, the grout between the tiles tends to be the area most susceptible to showing dirt.
Ceramic tiles are often found on kitchen floors, but can also be used on kitchen walls, bathroom floors, bathroom walls and even to build entire wet rooms. Whilst we specialise in floor cleaning and repair, our equipment and expertise can also be applied to bathrooms and wet rooms.
There are some common issues with ceramic floors which are worth checking for if you suspect your ceramic may need a bit of maintenance. We’d generally recommend glazed tiles since ceramic is porous. The glaze will prevent spillages from penetrating and possibly staining the tile. Nevertheless, even with glaze correctly applied, over time and with repeated footfall it can wear thin and gradually allow stains or dust to get through. Over time this can scratch and mark the surface of the tile. If the wrong cleaning chemicals are used this will get worse since some liquids can erode the glaze further and even the ceramic tile itself. If you’ve noticed the surface of your ceramic floor becoming dull, it may need a polish, buff and a reseal.
Repairs & replacement of ceramic tile floors
Whilst ceramic floors are strong, they’re not invincible. With big impacts such as dropped kitchen equipment, tiles can crack or loosen. Replacing or reseating individual tiles is a common and inexpensive fix in these situations. It’s also worth keeping an eye on the grout between tiles. Since it’s a softer surface it can absorb water and distort over time, this can be particularly noticeable if a light colour has been used. We’d advise cleaning up any spillages on ceramic floors or grouting as soon as possible to get the maximum lifespan out of your floor.
If you think your ceramic floor might need a bit of attention then why not get in touch? At Tile & Stone Medic we have extensive experience working with ceramic tiling of all shapes and sizes and can generally get it looking good as new. Get in touch today for a chat about how we can help.