Porcelain

This high-performance surface material meets modern needs for hygiene and functionality with exquisite style.

WHAT IS PORCELAIN TILE?

Porcelain tile is a member of the ceramic tile family that is “impervious” to moisture (defined as a water absorption of 0.5% or less), making it the least absorbent, most stain-resistant and dense type of ceramic tile.

Porcelain tile is fired for long durations at extremely high temperatures, resulting in strength qualities that make porcelain tile ideal for demanding applications such as moisture-rich areas, countertops, spaces that see high foot traffic, and outdoor surfaces.

Porcelain tile is much more than purely functional — porcelain is also a smart choice for making a style impact. Porcelain is available in an endless variety of designs, patterns, shapes, colors, sizes, and textures and can be used anywhere. Choose porcelain tile mosaic for your shower or pool, wood-look porcelain planks for your kitchen, porcelain pavers for your outdoor kitchen, large-format gauged porcelain tile slabs for your solid-surface countertops, or a custom-designed porcelain panel to meet your exact aesthetic requirements. In fact, you can use the same porcelain tile indoors and outdoors to transition your design style seamlessly through your entire living area. 

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How Porcelain Tile Is Made

Porcelain tile undergoes specific manufacturing processes to achieve superior characteristics. The process involves many steps, including these key elements of porcelain tile manufacturing:

  1. Porcelain-grade clays and other naturally occurring materials are typically collected within 500 miles of manufacturing facilities to reduce the energy and emissions that come from long-distance shipping.
  2. Precision milling processes break down and refine the clay particles so that they can be compressed to a high degree, making porcelain tile more dense than other types of ceramic tile and impervious to moisture.
  3. Porcelain tiles are either dry-pressed or extruded into a shape. Unglazed porcelain tile is a through-body composition, meaning that the body of the tile is made of the same materials as the surface and the colors are consistent throughout the tile. While scratches and chips are highly unlikely on extra-strong porcelain tile, through-body composition means that any chips that do occur will be tough to spot.
  4. Porcelain tile is fired at extremely high temperatures (typically in excess of 2100°F) and the result is a surface with a superior breaking strength that is highly resistant to moisture, stains, and scratches.

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Benefits of Porcelain Tile

Health & Hygiene

Easy to clean: Water is all that’s needed to wipe up most messes — no harsh chemicals necessary.

Antibacterial: Porcelain is inhospitable to the growth of bacteria.

Antimicrobial: Options are available with antimicrobial properties that can suppress and even destroy harmful microorganisms, such as mold, fungi, bacteria, and viruses.

Hypoallergenic: Porcelain contains no allergens, and allergens in the environment such as dust, dirt, and pollen can’t penetrate porcelain’s nonporous surface.

No volatile organic compounds (VOCs): VOCs are harmful gases that cause various health concerns and can be emitted by some flooring types, but not ceramic and porcelain, which contain no organic compounds.

No formaldehyde: Some wood products may contain levels of formaldehyde that can irritate asthma and other respiratory disorders, but not porcelain.

No polyvinyl chloride (PVC): Porcelain is free of PVC, a resin found in many vinyl flooring types. PVC contains phthalates and organotins, both regularly a subject of concern among health experts.

No plastic: The health and environmental concerns associated with plastic aren’t an issue for porcelain.

Nontoxic: Porcelain doesn’t emit any toxic fumes when exposed to fire.

Naturally occurring materials: Porcelain is a healthy choice for both you and the environment.

Environmental Sustainability

Lowest carbon footprint of any flooring material in North America: Lowest global warming potential, lowest fossil fuel resource depletion (based on comparison of publicly available flooring environmental product declarations, see Tile the Natural Choice for more information)

Durable: Life span of 75+ years, lowest life cycle cost and environmental impact compared to other flooring materials

Energy-efficient: Inherent thermal mass reduces peak heating and cooling to help lower energy costs, creates the possibility of natural conditioning for more stable and comfortable indoor environments

Recycling: Pre- and post-consumer recycled content available

Salvageable: Can be salvaged in a major renovation and repurposed

Post-life clean fill option: Solid and inert, and reusable as construction filler, free of plastic and does not contribute to growing landfill issues

Low Maintenance

Water resistance: Porcelain tile is impervious to water and when properly installed is part of a waterproof installation system.  

Stain resistance: As with all ceramic tile, porcelain tile is stain-resistant.

Fade resistance: Don’t worry that your outdoor tile will lose its luster, as porcelain tile won’t fade from the sun.

Freeze-thaw resistance: Porcelain tile provides options to withstand the damaging effects of freeze and thaw cycles, making it ideal for indoor freezers, as well as outdoor spaces in every climate.

High breaking strength: Porcelain’s low porosity and high density give it an incredibly high breaking strength.

Scratch resistance: Scratches, dents, and chips are extremely unlikely with porcelain tile. 

Craze resistance: The body and surface of porcelain tile expand and contract at the same rate, preventing “crazing,” or the development of cracks in the tile surface.

Safety

Slip resistance: Porcelain tile comes in many slip-resistant options for flooring in moisture-rich areas, making porcelain ideal for everything from the shower to the kitchen to the pool deck.

Fire resistance: Porcelain tile is nonflammable, meaning that porcelain doesn’t burn, produce smoke, or give off toxic fumes if exposed to fire (and can even reduce flame spread).

Easy Cleaning

Cleaning porcelain tile is as easy as following these simple steps:

Sweep: Sweep (or brush) away dirt and debris.

Wipe with water: Wipe tile down with a cloth and clean water.

When water isn’t enough: 

        Neutral cleaners: Tackle tough messes with a neutral cleaner designed for tile and grout.

        Elbow grease: When necessary, use scrubbers made of plastic or nylon.

Health & Hygiene

Health & Hygiene

Easy to clean: Water is all that’s needed to wipe up most messes — no harsh chemicals necessary.

Antibacterial: Porcelain is inhospitable to the growth of bacteria.

Antimicrobial: Options are available with antimicrobial properties that can suppress and even destroy harmful microorganisms, such as mold, fungi, bacteria, and viruses.

Hypoallergenic: Porcelain contains no allergens, and allergens in the environment such as dust, dirt, and pollen can’t penetrate porcelain’s nonporous surface.

No volatile organic compounds (VOCs): VOCs are harmful gases that cause various health concerns and can be emitted by some flooring types, but not ceramic and porcelain, which contain no organic compounds.

No formaldehyde: Some wood products may contain levels of formaldehyde that can irritate asthma and other respiratory disorders, but not porcelain.

No polyvinyl chloride (PVC): Porcelain is free of PVC, a resin found in many vinyl flooring types. PVC contains phthalates and organotins, both regularly a subject of concern among health experts.

No plastic: The health and environmental concerns associated with plastic aren’t an issue for porcelain.

Nontoxic: Porcelain doesn’t emit any toxic fumes when exposed to fire.

Naturally occurring materials: Porcelain is a healthy choice for both you and the environment.

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental Sustainability

Lowest carbon footprint of any flooring material in North America: Lowest global warming potential, lowest fossil fuel resource depletion (based on comparison of publicly available flooring environmental product declarations, see Tile the Natural Choice for more information)

Durable: Life span of 75+ years, lowest life cycle cost and environmental impact compared to other flooring materials

Energy-efficient: Inherent thermal mass reduces peak heating and cooling to help lower energy costs, creates the possibility of natural conditioning for more stable and comfortable indoor environments

Recycling: Pre- and post-consumer recycled content available

Salvageable: Can be salvaged in a major renovation and repurposed

Post-life clean fill option: Solid and inert, and reusable as construction filler, free of plastic and does not contribute to growing landfill issues

Low Maintenance

Low Maintenance

Water resistance: Porcelain tile is impervious to water and when properly installed is part of a waterproof installation system.  

Stain resistance: As with all ceramic tile, porcelain tile is stain-resistant.

Fade resistance: Don’t worry that your outdoor tile will lose its luster, as porcelain tile won’t fade from the sun.

Freeze-thaw resistance: Porcelain tile provides options to withstand the damaging effects of freeze and thaw cycles, making it ideal for indoor freezers, as well as outdoor spaces in every climate.

High breaking strength: Porcelain’s low porosity and high density give it an incredibly high breaking strength.

Scratch resistance: Scratches, dents, and chips are extremely unlikely with porcelain tile. 

Craze resistance: The body and surface of porcelain tile expand and contract at the same rate, preventing “crazing,” or the development of cracks in the tile surface.

Safety

Safety

Slip resistance: Porcelain tile comes in many slip-resistant options for flooring in moisture-rich areas, making porcelain ideal for everything from the shower to the kitchen to the pool deck.

Fire resistance: Porcelain tile is nonflammable, meaning that porcelain doesn’t burn, produce smoke, or give off toxic fumes if exposed to fire (and can even reduce flame spread).

Easy Cleaning

Easy Cleaning

Cleaning porcelain tile is as easy as following these simple steps:

Sweep: Sweep (or brush) away dirt and debris.

Wipe with water: Wipe tile down with a cloth and clean water.

When water isn’t enough: 

        Neutral cleaners: Tackle tough messes with a neutral cleaner designed for tile and grout.

        Elbow grease: When necessary, use scrubbers made of plastic or nylon.

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