materials - tile


There are different tiles which have different properties.

They can be used for different situations.

We will explore different ways of laying them.

They can be cleaned in different ways.


are made with clay, but are not fired at an extreme high temperature, and have a high water content prior to firing - they are usually porous. They are often glazed to make them more resistant.

There are a lot of patterns, colours, shapes and finishes available. The clay base is usually beige or red/brown.

Advantages: They are relatively inexpensive, durable, easy maintenance, easy to cut.

Disadvantages: cold, noisy, glazed are slippery, needs to be correctly grouted and sealed. Hard. Colour only on the top layer (show chips in glaze easily), cant be used outdoors- especially in colder climates as the water freezing in them will crack them.

Examples are:

Ceramic tiles - clay layer is baked then it can be sealed, decorated and glazed, with further baking. Was all hand done, then fired at each stage in a kiln. Today there are manufacturing techniques. Also called a glazed tile.

Quarry tile - made from fine clay and crushed shale. The most common is Terracotta from Italy. Used also for roof tiles, and pottery. The natural red colour being popular for "Tuscan” designs. It can be glazed, or waxed but is usually left in its natural state. Also called a paver.


are made with special clay and fine sand, then placed under pressure to remove excess water, then fired at a high temperature. They can also be called Stoneware, or Porcelain tiles.

The material is throughout the tile and doesn't show chips, but is more expensive than a glazed tile.

Usually non-porous (therefore doesn't require sealing)

The finishes are smooth matt, glass-like polish, textured

It is good in high traffic areas, inside and outside.

Porcelain is stronger than ceramic because of the higher feldspar content, less moisture (under pressure) and higher and longer baking times.

Porcelain is also traditionally used for toilet bowls and basins.


Concrete is a mixture of Portland cement, gravel, and crushed rock mixed with water.

It is poured into a cast – often insitu (at the site) or made into concrete tiles. These can be square, or in a shape.

Traditionally used for pathways, and subflooring, but recently used as counter tops and flooring when sealed and polished.

It is naturally light grey, but can be dyed.

You can also have natural stone tiles see STONE in materials.