Ceramic Tile: Frequently Asked Questions

What, exactly, is ceramic tile made from?

Ceramic tiles are made of clay! Yes, ceramic is formed when clay ? or a clay mixture ? is fired in a special oven called a kiln, then glaze-finished. The glaze is usually where the tile pattern is contained.?

What?s the difference between porcelain & ceramic tile?

It?s easy to get the two confused, but simply put: the difference between porcelain and ceramic is the method of pressing. A porcelain tile is dust-pressed, while a ceramic tile is hard-pressed. Porcelain is much more resistant to water than ceramic, but porcelain is also more fragile.

Should I seal my ceramic tile?

This really depends. If the ceramic tile is unglazed (and, sometimes, this happens) it?s important to put a sealer on the tile. However, most ceramic tiles already come sealed, so an additional sealer isn?t necessary.

I keep seeing a PEI rating on my ceramic tiles. What does this mean?

A PEI rating, or a Porcelain Enamel Institute rating, isn?t a hard-and-fast scale of rating. Instead, it?s simply a recommendation as to where you should be putting the tile in question. PEI ratings go from 0 (no foot traffic, for walls only) to 5 (heavy foot traffic, good for commercial or industrial use).?

Can I install ceramic tile outdoors?

Yes?if they?re unglazed. You can install ceramic tiles around pools, on lanais, and even on patios. The most important thing to remember, however, is that the tile must be slip resistant. The only way this is going to happen is if the tile is unglazed; a glazed tile gets very slippery when wet, and can cause serious injury!

Won?t ceramic tile make my house cold?

Not necessarily. Granted, if you live in a cold climate, your house is more likely to be cold than not?but a ceramic tile keeps things cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Should you want to warm up the room, of course, it?s easy to throw an area rug down!