To the naked eye, tile may just seem like something you buy based off of personal preference. But there's more to tile than many realize. There are different sizes, textures and colors. Tile is durable and easy to take care of, so people love it because it withstands a lot. Before you go buying ceramic tile, though, you should know the logistics of the flooring.
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What is Ceramic?
Ceramic is made from clay and other minerals, and it's fired in a kiln and treated with a glazed color. Using a glazed color allows the tile to have a brighter and almost glasslike look. That means you're getting the look of glass, without the liability of glass flooring. It's kiln-fired at a lower temperature compared to porcelain tiles, and it's much more dense, softer and porous. If you live in a warmer climate, you may prefer ceramic over porcelain because of its natural coolness.
The Thickness of Ceramic Tile
When it comes to size, the thickness of ceramic tile varies. Floor tile is usually 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick and can be manufactured in 4 by 4 inches up to 24 by 24 inches. Most ceramic tiles are 12 by 12 inches, but small tiles such as mosaic on mesh can be as thin as 1/8 inch and go up to 3/8 inch. Ceramic can be applied on the floor, shower and wall so you don't have to worry about the wall tile thickness allowance and where you can use it compared to other tiles.
You can also get other shapes such as rectangular, subway tile, octagonal and hexagonal. If you're using ceramic for the wall, it's going to be thinner and comes in squares from 3 by 3 inches up to 6 by 6 inches. Mosaic tile is two inches smaller and can be installed piece by piece. Some people prefer mosaic tile because it's premounted on mesh sheets, so it's easier to install for the average DIYer.
Tile Thickness With Thinset
Thinset cement, thinset mortar, dry-set mortar and drybound mortar are synonymous with one another. This type of cement adheres well in a thin layer. Tile thickness with thinset varies. Typically, thinset isn't laid more than 3/16 of an inch thick.
Ceramic Tile Pros and Cons
Ceramic is a more versatile and affordable option if you need a large amount of tile. It also costs way less than porcelain and is a lot easier to install. Ceramic has a softer surface, so homeowners can just cut the tile with a simple tile cutter. This is a lot easier because porcelain has a more extensive cutting process. If you're a fan of ceramic's glazed look, you'll be happy to hear that the durable glazed finish can be customized in a variety of colors and patterns. It also has an appealing clean-lined appearance.
One con about ceramic compared to porcelain is that porcelain is a bit more durable. If you spill something, you need to clean it up swiftly because ceramic has a high absorption rate. If you live in a humid or moisture-ridden area, stay away from adding ceramic to a shower or patio. Since ceramic absorbs moisture, you'll need to do more frequent deep cleans. Another con is that the coolness that you get from the tile in the hotter months may be brutal in the colder months.
Also, the glaze can be appealing to some, but if you're accident-prone, tile can crack or chip. The cracked or chipped clay material can show underneath, so you have to be careful with ceramic flooring. To ensure that the tile remains in tip-top condition, apply it in areas that have low to moderate foot traffic. Also, if you have younger children, maybe consider laying down ceramic when they're older.