When remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, one of the most important considerations is choosing tile. Whether for a backsplash or floor, the tile you select will help define the character of your remodeled space. Tile comes in three basic types: ceramic, porcelain and glass. Often, natural stone, such as travertine, is cut into tile-size pieces, but it is technically not tile as it is not manufactured.

Ceramic vs. Porcelain

The terms ceramic and porcelain are often used interchangeably, and even though they are similar in structure, they are composed differently and have slightly different properties. Porcelain tile has a water absorption rate of 0.5 percent or lower as defined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). First, the fired tile is weighed, and then it is boiled for five hours and left to sit in water for 24 hours. Next, it is weighed again. If the tile weighs less than half of one percent more following this process, it is considered porcelain.

Often extruded, porcelain has fewer impurities than ceramic. It also is often rectified and contains more kaolin than ceramic. Both porcelain and ceramic are composed of quartz, clay and feldspar fired at temperatures from 1,200 to 1,400 degrees C. They are fire proof, do not emit toxic fumes and are ideal for people who have allergies as the do not support allergens, harbor bacteria or absorb odors.

Ceramic, porcelain and glass tiles are available in an endless variety of colors. Glass tiles are most often used for decorative purposes and a very popular for kitchen backsplashes and other small bursts of color, however, they are not suitable for overall use on floors.

Tile Hardness Ratings

All three types of tiles are appropriate for walls, although not all ceramic or porcelain wall tiles are suitable for flooring. When choosing tile for your home, a porcelain or a glazed ceramic tile with a wear rating of 4 or 5 will provide a hard, scratch and wear-resistant floor that is long-lasting and requires little maintenance. Hardness ratings range from 0 to 5. Those with lower numbers are primarily designed for aesthetics, using color, high gloss finishes and vibrant designs.

  • Class 0, best for use on walls
  • Class 1, very low foot traffic, may be used in master baths walking with bare or stocking feet
  • Class 2, light foot traffic, slippers or soft soled shoes
  • Class 3, light to moderate foot traffic, appropriate for general residential use, except main entrances and in kitchens, which are subject to heavy use and regular exposure to dirt
  • Class 4, moderate to heavy foot traffic, ideal for residential entry, kitchen floor and countertops
  • Class 5, resists abrasion and withstands heavy foot traffic

Rosseland Remodeling will work with you every step of the way to ensure that you select the correct type of tile for your kitchen, bathroom or entryway. Contact Chris at 847-791-5886 for more information.