Ceramic tile was invented and has had longevity in the East, where it was used for decorating ancient pyramids and cities. The use of ceramic tile has been dated to as far back as 4,000 years when man first started building living spaces. Ceramic tiles have been found in some of the oldest Babylonian and Greek cities, used for decorating and as a sign of affluence. When the Persian Empire reached its peak tile decoration was perfected. In the middle of the 12th century the use of ceramic materials were used as general materials to decorate and to build prominent landmarks.
The technique for creating ceramic was a very guarded and secretive process that was passed on only from fathers to sons and teachers to students. However, they didn’t have a much of a design aspect. During these times all tiles were handmade and hand-painted.
How it’s Made
The main material ceramic tiles are mad from is clay. This type of tile is made using fire and the process is called: monoporasa “single firing technology” or bioporosa “double firing technology”. Clay gets compressed, flattened and cut into their shapes and baked in a kiln at 1060C temperature. Unglazed tiles get baked once and glazed tiles twice. During the first firing process the tiles are formed and shaped. For glazed tiles after the glaze gets applied they are fired a second time at about 1200C temperature to allow for the glaze to melt. In the 1840s the tile industry revitalized the tile making process by using the Dust-Press method, which consists of compressing clay between two metal plates. In modern times the tile making industry has now become a fully mechanical process.
Types of Ceramic Tiles
- Tube Lining
- Transfer Painting
The glaze for these types of tiles is made from flint, China stone, clay and white lead. These materials are grounded to create a clear glaze. Then color gets added to create a range of different colors and patterns. Early times popular colors were: green and turquoise.
These tiles are limited to the color of the clay used to make them from light sand to red brick colors.
Mosaic tiles are cut and carved into small pieces depending on the shape. These tiles come in a large array of colors from yellow to black.
Tube lining tiles are were first used for Nouveau Art. The process for these tiles is: slips are placed into the surfaces to make raised lines separating the different colors. Then the glaze gets applied.
Scraffito tiles are covered with coats of slip that is scratched off to produce the desired design.
An engraved copper plate is used to design the tile. Color is applied the excess color then is removed t leaving only the color on the engraved copper plates. The color gets transferred to the tiles and it’s a less expensive method than hand-painting each tile.
Where to Use Ceramic Tile and Pricing
Ceramic tiles are recommended for indoor projects only due to the damage frost can cause. These types of tiles are great for flooring, walls “bathroom, showers, backsplashes”, kitchen counters, and more.
Ceramic are among the most affordable type of tile compared to marble or porcelain tile. Marble tile on the average can range from $12 to $30 per square foot. Porcelain tile ranges from $5 to $10 per square foot. Ceramic tile can be found for as little as $1 per square foot depending on the style and the design. But it’s just as easy to maintain and keep clean.
Clearly tile flooring is much easier to keep clean compared to carpet. Spills simply need to be mopped up but carpet needs to be dried properly to ensure the liquids don’t penetrate into the padding, which can lead to mold or musty smells in the future.
Ceramic tile can be found for sale from online tile shops to the traditional brick and mortar stores. Before you purchase your tile do your research to get the best possible price and save money.