Once reserved almost exclusively for commercial use, porcelain tile is rapidly overtaking ceramic as the most popular flooring material for the home and Gulf Tile distributes styles from leading manufacturers. Do-it-yourself friendly porcelain is more dense and durable than ceramic; multiple high-heat firings equal a multitude of glazing effects; and modern manufacturing techniques have made porcelain increasingly affordable.
Porcelain tiles are generally manufactured in one of two ways:
Through-body tiles continue the color, finish or pattern throughout the entire tile. Unlike ceramics that break away to show the white base material beneath the glazing, through-body tiles maintain their appearance even when chipped, eliminating the need for costly and labor-intensive replacement. If through-body tiles ever lose their luster, they are easily refinished back to their original shine.
Glazed porcelain tiles are made using generic tile blanks as a background for a variety of finishes, colors and glazing techniques Although not as wear-and-tear resistant as through-body tiles, glazed tiles are usually less expensive than through-body tiles and are available in a wider variety of looks.
Porcelain tile is a whole-house material that works equally well in any room. Non-porous and water-resistant, porcelain stands up to heavy use both indoors and out, including shower interiors and patios or pool decking. In addition to traditional tiling effects, digital printing techniques make it possible for porcelain tiles to accurately mimic the look of expensive natural stones like granite, marble and travertine. Porcelain wood planks are available in a variety of light and dark finishes. Less expensive than stone and more longwearing than wood, porcelain tile is a smart choice for today’s savvy homeowner.
Tile can feel warm underfoot without increasing interior temperatures and resists bacteria, mold and mildew, especially important in hot, humid regions like Florida. Modular porcelain tiles are resilient enough to move from room to room within the house, creating continuity of design and tying the rooms together, and because they are stronger than natural stone or wood, porcelain tiles stand up to rough treatment from children and pets.
Porcelain’s unique resistance to moisture makes it especially well suited for use in rooms where water is often present, including the kitchen, bath and laundry room. Porcelain tiles create one-of-a-kind countertops, backsplashes and wall treatments and can be accented with borders of glass, ceramic or stone mosaic. Tiles printed to resemble marble, limestone, granite or travertine achieve high-end looks without the delicate treatment or routine maintenance those materials sometimes require. Porcelain wood planks deliver charming, old-fashioned interiors with no need for resealing and no fear of water damage.