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Different Types of Ceramics and Their Features

Last modified: 2018/10/05 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Whether choosing to renovate the kitchen or bathroom, ceramics are an excellent choice as they allow you to conceive designs as diverse as they are original. Available in a large variety of styles, ceramics make it easy to create custom pieces as they offer an infinite range of possibilities.

Ceramics encompass a wide range of products, so for the novice, it may be difficult to distinguish specific advantages and characteristics. To make an informed choice about the different options on the market, we’ve put together this article to help you choose the right ceramic for your renovation project!

The different types of ceramics and their features

Sandstone

Terracotta flooring

Photo: Pixabay

Sandstone is classified as porcelain stoneware, a type of ceramic composed of a mixture of quartz, clay and feldspar. Quite versatile and resistant, it is suitable for both the kitchen and the bathroom. This is because it’s available with a non-slip finish, and thus safe to use in a bathroom. When it comes to ceramics, sandstone has the widest range of available colours and designs on the market. Another major benefit of this material is that it’s resistant to staining as well as water absorption.

Stretched sandstone is one of the popular options on the market. However, it’s important to note that this material has a more rustic finish. In this sense, the contours in the surface are irregular and therefore, the tiles do not come in uniform sizes. As with regular sandstone, stretched sandstone is a non-porous material and therefore very resistant to water and stains.

It also has a repertoire of designs and colours as vast and diverse as porcelain tiles and stoneware. Further, it has great resistance to wear and tear, making stretched sandstone ideal for surfaces that are treading on frequently. This type of ceramic is commonly found in tile form.

In both regards, sandstone is relatively easy to install, and in most cases, this will limit the need to hire a professional. When working in both the bathroom and the kitchen, this material is appropriate for installation as wall tiling or can be used as traditional floor tiling.

Terracotta

Terracotta is a special type of ceramic that is crafted from brown and red clays. Due to the large amount of iron deposit found in this material, it’s generally available in warm colours and tones such as reds and oranges. In most cases, installing a terracotta ceramic will involve a thin layer of limestone.

However, terracotta is an extremely porous material in its natural state. Therefore, it will be necessary to apply a water-repellent as well as an oil-repellent treatment in order to avoid water and greasy or oily products from penetrating the surface. This material is susceptible to stains, as well as mould growth. Although beautiful, to maintain its longevity, the process of caring for it is exceptionally important.

Earthenware is one type of terracotta that is a mixture of clay, limestone and sand with a particularly glossy finish. Offering a refined and classic appearance, its finish is waterproof. Therefore, this is one type of terracotta that is versatile for both the kitchen and the bathroom, as it doesn’t require any additional treatments following the installation. Further, this makes ongoing maintenance easy to carry out.

Machine cut terracotta tiles are another popular option. Constructed in a factory, these ceramic tiles are made into geometric patterns or uniform pieces. Due to their uniform shape and size, the installation process for a machine cut terracotta tile is much simpler than that of natural terracotta. If consistency is an issue for you, we’d suggest choosing this specific style.

Nevertheless, terracotta has a reduced strength when compared to other ceramics. It’s therefore not always advised to use this type of material on a floor. If you’re really in love with terracotta, we’d suggest creating a backsplash is ideal whether in a kitchen or a bathroom. It’s also possible to use this type of tiling to cover a small kitchen cabinet. Another option when it comes to the large family of terracotta are enamels with a glossy coating. Given their shine and their striking brilliance, this makes it the material of choice for the creation of a mosaic shower or bathroom tile.

Since the process of laying terracotta tiles is complex, we are strongly recommending that if you do choose this material, you work with a certified contractor for the installation itself. This project requires a sense of dexterity and need to take into account certain parameters that only a professional will really understand.

Porcelain

porcelain tile_renoquotes.com

source: unsplash

We must admit that there is widespread confusion regarding the difference between porcelain and ceramic, but it can be helpful to think about these materials as cousins. They look alike but have significantly different characteristics and production methods. On one hand, porcelain is made with an argyle mix that is more refined than the one predominantly used in the production of ceramic.

The heating technique is also different, as porcelain is cooked at a much higher temperature. Consequently, tiles made of porcelain are often more sturdy and solid. Porcelain is significantly resistant to moisture and frost. Therefore, this is a great option if you’re working on an outdoor project, such as installing a backyard kitchen or poolside shower. 

Price for a Ceramic Floor

On average, ceramic tiles can cost between $2 and $4 per square foot for tiles or $5 to $8 for tiles that pre-fabricated or cut.  If you want to benefit from the services of a professional in ceramic laying, consider an extra cost of between $1.50 and $4 extra per square foot. Do note that these prices are an approximation for informational purposes.

Cover Photo: Pixabay

Author: Karine Dutemple

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