For several years, porcelain stoneware has been prominent on the market as a versatile material for indoor and outdoor finishes. Today, thanks to rectified stoneware, the application potential has further expanded. But how did this rectified product come about?
During the kiln process for the tiles, due to processing their form underwent a dimensional reduction as much as 8%.
In fact, once the material comes out of the kiln, its dimensions may not always be maintained, and the edges may become irregular. In previous years, to supply clients with batches conforming to the same dimensions, the tiles would be grouped according to size (or the actual dimension of fabrication). These, defined as non-rectified, are then positioned using grout lines of 3-4 millimetres to mask the irregular border.
Today, the majority of large ceramic production companies have resolved the size issue by using the rectification method. This method consists of the processing of the sides (explained in detail in the next section) that enables the achievement of a perfectly squared product with regular edges.
The rectification process
Rectification is carried out by using abrasive millstones that, thanks to a highly precise system, bring the product to a predefined size and make the edges regular. The process is assisted only by the use of water, which allows the waste to be transported away in a wet clay-like substance that is then recycled.
Today, Florim has made this processing even more eco-sustainable, by developing an innovative “dry” rectification method that allows the by-product to be returned to the production cycle without further processing.
Watch this video about the beginnings of Florim porcelain stoneware
Advantages of a rectified product
The reasons to use a rectified product are countless: easier application, a more uniform and aesthetically pleasing product, and a more consistent, continuous surface that is easier to clean.
Why should you not use a natural product to create a flush connection?
The flush connection, or butt-joint, will show up any instances where a piece, or indeed the covered surface itself, might not be flat. Furthermore, due to structural movement and thermal expansion, it could lead to some problems, for example, cracks and chips.
The use of a rectified ceramic product can resolve all these problems as soon as they become evident. A minimum gap of 2mm is all that is needed to deal with any possible lack of uniformity, thus eliminating the need for expensive surface polishing that is necessary for natural products such as marble or wood. The rectified stoneware reduces installation and maintenance costs and keeps dust residues to a minimum.
Large rectified tiles
The evolution of ceramic into large formats brought companies to a position in which they could respond to the needs of the market, to offer products that would guarantee optimal application, while eliminating the problems of dimensional inconsistency, and irregular squaring or edges.
Florim, for example, was one of the first Italian companies to offer large-format rectified ceramics. They still maintain their leadership in large slabs thanks to the high quality of their product, further guaranteed by the internalisation of rectification lines and process certification ISO 9001.
Not all slab producers will guarantee internal rectification due to less stringent quality control. There are international regulations and certifications to follow in this processing (for example, ISO 13006).
Case History: Hesperia Hotel & Residence
In Hesperia Hotel & Residence, rectified stoneware was expertly used on the project by architects Giovanni Ligorio and Luiza Paste. For the rooms of this hotel, situated at Lido di Jesolo, a flooring with veining and the typical structure of oak was chosen, made in large format and with different nuances. The rooms thus transformed into warm, welcoming environments, shedding the hotel industry feel to become intimate and private spaces. The eye only perceives the warmth and depth of the material without noticing the difference between the natural element and the ceramic rendering.
Rectified porcelain stoneware is also used in other spaces within this establishment: the product with marble effect is applied in the hall and the restrooms. Thanks to the innovative application method, the veining follows naturally from one slab to another, giving a continuous effect that creates depth in spaces. A choice determined not only by the aesthetic advantages but also by the characteristics that make the rectified product perfect for places where hygiene is a top priority, such as nursing homes, schools, hospitals, etc.
In conclusion, rectified porcelain stoneware is a product that creates new possibilities in design and planning, both in terms of its aesthetic value and its practical, technological and hygiene benefits.