Porcelain Tile: Technical Characteristics, Sizes and Thicknesses

Ceramic is an ancient yet extremely modern material. Especially in the Mediterranean countries, its use is the fruit of a tradition that consists of materials, art, and colour. The origins of its use date back to the prehistoric era when the potential applications of the clayey material, made malleable by water and then dried, were first recognisedFrom terracotta vases to the bricks of the Roman era, from Islamic mosaics to liberty tiles, until arriving at its modern applications, the evolution of ceramic’s uses has caused it to be elevated to a high quality material, often as the cultural expression of a region.

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An evolution that shows no sign of stopping, beginning in the fifties when the porcelain stoneware was born: a continuously evolving material, widely appreciated and used today in any architectural context for its high technical performance and aesthetic qualities.

 

Stone-effect porcelain stoneware floor tiles

Stone-effect porcelain stoneware floor tiles from the Matières de Rex collection
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Composition and production techniques of porcelain tile

Porcelain stoneware is a natural and eco-friendly material obtained from pressing a selected mix of clay, kaolin, sand, feldspar and coloured pigments, finely ground, pressed with a power of over 400 kg/cm2 and then fired at very high temperatures, resulting in vitrification. Unlike normal glazed tile, porcelain tile is a type of ceramic made from a single pressing and firing. The use of pressing and new formatting technologies enables the creation of tiles of various sizes, from the traditional ones to the large format tiles of over 3 metres in length, with a thickness of a few millimetres while maintaining the technical characteristics of porcelain stoneware unaltered.

 

the firing process

The production process: the firing process

 

Porcelain Tile - Characteristics and Advantages

Porcelain stoneware is a ceramic material characterised by its high degree of compactness and it is from precisely this factor that its most important quality is derived: its composition results in its high resistance to impacts and stresses, and therefore wear, which makes it particularly suitable as a material for cladding facades and as flooring in high-traffic areas.

 

Example of application of porcelain stoneware on a façade

Example of application of porcelain stoneware on a façade

 

Related to its resistance is its durability, substantially reducing its maintenance costs; porcelain stoneware, additionally, is characterised by its very low porosity, which is almost nil. Therefore, it is impermeable to water, acids and dirt, making it suitable for busy areas as it is easy to clean. It is also a hygienic material: its impermeability restricts the proliferation of bacteria.

 

Porcelain stoneware can be applied both indoors and outdoors

Because of its resistance and impermeability, porcelain stoneware can be applied both indoors and outdoors. (La Roche di Rex collection)
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Porcelain tile is insensitive to solar light and to changes in temperature: constant exposure to solar rays does not alter its colour, it is frost-proof and fireproof, it is a safe material, with a very low probability of cracking and in the event of fire does not produce gas or toxic fumes. Porcelain tile presents consistent chromatism between its base and its surface which, as well as a simple and elegant aesthetic, provides it with the capacity of being able to reinterpret varying aesthetic influences thanks to the use of digital decoration.

Porcelain stoneware’s versatility is particularly valued by architects and designers who have the possibility of taking advantage of the various types available on the market capable of suggesting sometimes innovative and surprising uses.

 

Total-look cement-effect in the kitchen

Total-look cement-effect with the Industrial collection, also applicable in the kitchen as a coating for doors, countertops and splashbacks.
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Uses in Architecture

Due to the above mentioned characteristics, porcelain tile applications are numerous in environments intended for both public and private use. As well as a cladding for floors, walls and facades, porcelain stoneware is much used for furniture elements which require the use of particularly good looking materials, such as kitchen countertops, tables, bars, basins and again, pools and spas. In the variety and richness of their potential uses, porcelain tilea offer the possibility of establishing an open dialogue between the materiality of the earth and the most highly-developed technologies with the aim of offering high aesthetic standards without compromising design quality.

 

Statuario marble-effect porcelain stoneware

Savart Restaurant: Statuario marble-effect porcelain stoneware was used as a decorative furnishing element in the upholstery of tables, for example.
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Porcelain tile in interior design project