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Old 06-29-2013, 11:54 AM   #1
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Choosing a porcelain tile....question


Ok.....so Ive gathered up oodles of samples from every floor supplier in my city. I can narrow it down to a dozen.
My question....when it comes to porcelain tile, do you get what you pay for? I love one tile, but its $10.05/sq ft. If I take that tile out of the equasion, theres one I like for $2.99/sq ft. (Funny...hubby loves that one!)
Are cheaper tiles exactly that....cheap?
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:03 PM   #2
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Good question..... I've often wondered the same thing.... I'm going to be watching some tile men pro's jump in.

I've never encountered performance/quality problems between the different costs of porceline tiles.

First, as to quality, you're already in porceline (ceramic is softer).

I always thought cost was mostly a function of production cost (colors/ dyes/ relief/ transportatiion (china or mexico) and DEMAND... some tiles are more popular and can fetch a higher price.

Just my guess
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:10 PM   #3
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Well, I figured the expensive tile was due to 'large variation patterns' (it looks a lot like travertine/stone and doesn't just have 4 or 6 tiles before they repeat. But this cheaper one....it is a large variation tile too. Plus I put the samples on the floor, grabbed a heavy wrench and started wacking them. I'll be darned if I can cause a chip. After many attempts, I don't see any marks.
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Old 06-30-2013, 09:53 AM   #4
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Porcelain is harder and denser than ceramic. So it is the better material. Once you get into porcelain you have a few different types. You have glazed, which has all the color and pattern on the surface of the tile. This is the least expensive type of porcelain. Then you have colorbody, which has the pattern on the surface but the color all the way through the tile. This makes chips less noticeable. It also jumps in price a fair bit. Then you have throughbody, where the color and pattern go all the way through the tile. These are generally some the most expensive types and aren't that common anymore. You also have rectified tile, which can affect price. Most tile is cut or formed and then fired in the ovens to harden it. Rectified tile is fired in one big sheet and then cut to size. This gives you a more uniform size. It also costs more to do it this way. The next thing that can affect the price is country of origin. There are plenty of Chinese tiles out there now, which come at a lower cost. The stuff from places like Italy or even the US tends to cost more. Then you have the classic branding issue. Sometime you pay more just for the name on the box.
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppameth View Post
Porcelain is harder and denser than ceramic. So it is the better material. Once you get into porcelain you have a few different types. You have glazed, which has all the color and pattern on the surface of the tile. This is the least expensive type of porcelain. Then you have colorbody, which has the pattern on the surface but the color all the way through the tile. This makes chips less noticeable. It also jumps in price a fair bit. Then you have throughbody, where the color and pattern go all the way through the tile. These are generally some the most expensive types and aren't that common anymore. You also have rectified tile, which can affect price. Most tile is cut or formed and then fired in the ovens to harden it. Rectified tile is fired in one big sheet and then cut to size. This gives you a more uniform size. It also costs more to do it this way. The next thing that can affect the price is country of origin. There are plenty of Chinese tiles out there now, which come at a lower cost. The stuff from places like Italy or even the US tends to cost more. Then you have the classic branding issue. Sometime you pay more just for the name on the box.
Excellent explanation Poppa..... Thank Ya
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Old 06-30-2013, 02:06 PM   #6
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The term "ceramic" is quite generic, and refers to a vast array of materials. For example, the free online dictionary defines ceramic as follows:

"Any of various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant materials made by shaping and then firing a nonmetallic mineral, such as clay, at a high temperature."

When discussing commonly available tile, these are typically all ceramic, and are clay based products. The length and heat of firing determines the type of ceramic product you end up with. The term "porcelain" is actually not well defined, see for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porcelain for a lengthy discussion about the various definitions of the term porcelain.

Generally speaking, clay tile is fired for a short period at low temperature, or may be air dried. If you fire hotter and longer, you get to stoneware (again not a well defined term), which is typically used for plates and bowls. If you fire longer and hotter yet, typically 1200 - 1400 degrees celsius, you convert part of the clay into various types of glass and a mineral called mullite, and the product is then termed porcelain. The water content of the clay goes down the longer and hotter you fire, so typically porcelain tile has very low water content, perhaps 2 percent or so, and the water in porcelain is all chemically bound to the minerals.

So to your question, why are some tiles more expensive than others, poppameth has explained it very nicely.
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