You are interested in new Tile, but still have few questions that needs to be answered?
The Material composition of tile.
What type type of Tile is ideal for your home.
The different type of grout and composition.
Knowing the type of tile or stone you are working on can be very important, especially when doing restorative cleaning.
Ceramic is a broad category that can include all tile that is made from clay and other non-metallic minerals. In general use, ceramic tile is used to describe tiles that don't fall into one of the other groups. Most ceramic tile goes through a process called "firing" at high temperatures. A key advantage of ceramic flooring is its durability. Ceramic is resistant to alkaline, acids and solvents used in cleaning. Ceramic's abrasion resistance keeps it from being scratched by gritty soil under foot if the grade of tile matches the situation in which it is used. Ceramic flooring is available in a wide variety of styles, colors and patterns.
Porcelain is a high density ceramic tile made from clays fired at high temperatures making it highly resistant to abrasion. One qualification to be called porcelain is that the tile must absorb less then .5% of its weight in water.
Quarry tile is fired at 2000F or higher. The common dark red color comes from the minerals in the clay body. Other colors can be produced by selection of clay or adding pigments. Normally there is no glazing or pattern added. Brick pavers are another type of clay tile similar to quarry tile. They have a rougher texture and often are cut to size so that the floor looks as if it was paved with bricks.
True Saltillo tile is produced from clay that is found only in Saltillo, Mexico. Similar tile that is produced elsewhere will be called "Mexican" or "Saltillo style" tile. This tile is made with a low degree of automation. As a consequence, the tiles may not be exactly square or flat. There will be variation in color. Some tiles may exhibit chipped or uneven edges, craters on the surface or even animal footprints.
Sedimentary stone is formed of small bits of weathered stone, marine organisms or minerals dissolved in water that form layers and under pressure become sedimentary stone.
Metamorphic stone has been changed from one form into another. The change comes from increased heat and pressure as well as the introduction of new minerals into the mixture. The color may change. The texture may change. Under sufficient pressure the mineral can take on a crystal structure. Diamond is carbon that has taken on a crystalline structure. The presence of other minerals is responsible for variations in color. Formed by molten material deep in the earth known as magma Igneous Stones are classified in one of two groupings.
Extrusive Rock starts as magma that exits from the surface of the earth, comes in contact with cool ground and much cooler air. The stone hardens quickly leaving little time for crystals to form. Extrusive igneous rock exhibits small crystals.
Intrusive Rock is formed when the magma is trapped below the surface of the ground. It cools more slowly and forms larger crystals. Most igneous stone used as flooring material is the intrusive variety.
FLAGSTONE is a general term that can include several types of stone, usually sedimentary varieties. Flagstone has irregular shapes.
SANDSTONE is a sedimentary rock formed by particles of weathered rock and sand
LIMESTONE is a sedimentary rock containing calcium carbonate. It is commonly finished to a smooth but dull surface by honing.
TRAVERTINE is similar to limestone in that it is sedimentary and largely calcium. However, travertine contains voids in the surface that may be filled by plastic resins or grout. Over time such fillers may come out allowing the voids to be filled with soil.
MARBLE is metamorphic stone that contains calcium carbonate. It can often be identified by veins of color running through the stone. Marble will take a high polish resulting in highly reflective shine. Marble may also be finished by honing to a flat dull shine or tumbling to a soft finish with worn and rounded edges.
SERPENTINE is sometimes classed as marble because of the high shine it can take on. However, it is actually an igneous stone and does not contain calcium. Serpentine often has a green or bluish green coloration predominating.
SLATE is a colorful metamorphic stone showing a fine grained structure containing tiny crystals. It is composed of shales and clays rather than calcium carbonate. Slate has a sheet-like or layered appearance known as foliated.
GRANITE is an igneous stone and the hardest, commonly used stone for flooring and is also popular for countertops. A wide variety of colors and patterns is possible. Some patterns have prominent veins of colors while other varieties show little or no veining. Differences in porosity and thus ease of staining also exist.
TYPES OF GROUT
The most common grout used for man-made tiles is SANDED GROUT. This is a blend of Portland cement and sand. The presence of the sand helps identify this type of grout. The width of the grout line also aids in identifying the type of grout. Normally sanded grout is used when grout lines are 3/16" or wider.
UNSANDED GROUT is commonly used with natural stone flooring. There are two reasons for this. First as grout wears, particles of sand could scratch and abrade stone surfaces. Second, the un-sanded grout is better suited to filling narrow grout lines found in stone installations.
EPOXY GROUT although not common, resists staining and soil. It can be identified by a plastic like appearance that is frequently rounded on top. NOTE: Cementitious grout with epoxy added is not the same as epoxy grout.
Grouts may contain additives to provide color, make cleaning easier or extend the life of the grout. Your initial inspection of a job should include examining the grout. Cracks may be present due to movement of the substrate, installation and mixing issues or rarely the quality of the grout itself. Sections of grout that have broken loose due to these cracks can be blasted out by high pressure cleaning and vacuum. Clients should be advised of this possibility.