When considering tile, there is usually a choice between ceramic, plastic and stone. If you choose ceramic tile, you may narrow the choice down to either original ceramic or porcelain, depending on your preference. However, there is another type of ceramic tile available, commonly called vitrified or glass tile. These tiles are similar to traditional ceramic versions, but are much less porous and are suitable for a wider range of projects.
Ceramic tiles are made from natural clay that is mixed with water and molded. Creators apply a glaze to the tile to help protect it from water and scratches, then fire the clay in a kiln to harden it. Ceramic tiles can come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, but they must always be glazed for protection.
Vitrified tiles are very similar to ceramic tiles, but are made with slightly different elements. The clay is mixed with quartz and feldspar before it is heated in the kiln. These extra ingredients melt, creating a glass element inside the tile. This glass component makes the vitrified files very hard and resistant to any type of absorption.
Inside, homeowners can use ceramic tiles and vitrified tiles for the same applications, such as floors and countertops. Outside, however, water becomes a very important factor in cold climates, since only a small amount of moisture can freeze in winter months and crack the tile. Vitrified tile has an absorption rate of 0.50 percent, which is nearly-frost proof, while ceramic tile ranges from 7 to 3 percent, making it unsuitable for outdoor applications.
Ceramic tile prices range considerably, depending on custom work and size. They tend to cost between $8 and $20 dollars per square foot. Vitrified tiles cost a couple of dollars more per square foot because of their extra qualities. Vitrified tiles also need a stronger adhesive than ceramic tiles, which can cost more in installation.
Vitrified tiles, unlike ceramic tiles, are rarely glazed. Instead, a dye is mixed in with the clay before it is fired. This dye makes the clay a uniform color, so even if the vitrified tile is scratched, the color will stay the same. Instead of being glazed, vitrified tiles are either polished or unpolished. Polished tiles have a bright sheen, while unpolished versions are rougher and have a more natural look.