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WHAT’S MY STYLE?

Expected Variations in Porcelain Tiles: A little bit of advice from Bob Beaumont

Porcelain is a fantastic, tough, and very durable product that makes an ideal floor surface. It is easy to live with, easy to clean and maintain, and will look brilliant for many, many years. Plus, of course, porcelain also has many other benefits like all ceramic tiles.

  • It is a natural heat bank
  • Child friendly
  • Asthma friendly
  • Does not give off CFCs
  • Fireproof
  • Will last for years

When a floor is tiled with polished porcelain, especially in lighter tones, it adds a new dimension to any area home or commercial building. Polished tiles reflect light and make an area brighter, more inviting, and create an illusion of space. I have had porcelain tiles in houses I have lived in over 20 years and I have not had one problem with them. I would recommend them to anyone!

How do they make them so shiny?

Porcelain tiles are a very high quality variety of ceramic which is so dense it can be polished by special polishing stones to a very high finish. Beaumont Tiles sells three main types of porcelain tiles:

  • Normal
  • Glazed
  • Polished

Normal porcelain tiles are a matt finish and are used in very high traffic areas, or areas where anti-skip properties are important. They can be made in matt or textured.

Glazed porcelain tiles are the most popular type of porcelain tiles and are made by using a decorative and super hard wearing glaze (which can be matt or gloss) over the porcelain base.

Polished porcelain is simply normal porcelain which has been polished.

Will they be perfectly shiny like a mirror?

No. Mirrors are made in a very different way and can be near perfect. Polished tiles (whether they are stone or porcelain) are made by polishing the surface of the tile with very hard grinding stones. As the polishing process opens up microscopic pores on the surface of the tiles. These pores reflect light differently and therefore you may see a variation in shininess appearing in certain light conditions. In the same way, slightly varying thicknesses of sealer may be perceived as variations in shininess. These are normal characteristics of polished porcelain and should be expected.

Sealing and Cleaning

Virtually all polished porcelain tiles sold by Beaumont Tiles are pre-sealed with a very special penetrative sealer to make them more resistant to staining. It is still important, however, to promptly clean off any substance which is likely to cause a stain, as polishing and sealing a tile does not make it as resistant to staining as a glazed tile.

If the tile you choose is not pre-sealed, your consultant will let you know. It is then important to seal the tiles when they are laid and before they are grouted to avoid problems with stains.

Most of the polished porcelains also come from the factory with a layer of protective wax on the surface of the tiles. This wax is normally water soluble and not very hard to remove. In fact, most will be removed by the grouting process. Some wax may still remain on the tiles, however, and therefore will need to be removed by you, your tiler, or a professional cleaner.

Cleaning

As with any surface, the rule is to quickly wipe off anything which is likely to stain the surface.

The initial clean of the tiles needs to be done really well to get off any invisible building residue such as grout haze. If this is not done, the tiles can look dull and dirt can actually stick to this fine coating. You can buy excellent products for this from any Beaumont Tiles outlet. This can be repeated if the tiles get really dirty, but for week to week maintenance, a lot of people use hot water with a bit of methylated spirits in it.

Laying Your Tiles

The bigger the tile, the more obvious any variations in flatness will be. A tile can be well within the Australian and International standards and still have variations in flatness. This isn't normally a problem, but when laying 500x500mm tiles or larger it can show up in one corner of a tile being slightly higher than the adjacent tile. This is called lipping. This is especially obvious when the tiles are of the 'rectified' type which means they have a square edge rather than a rounded or cushion edge. These are four pieces of advice Bob Beaumont has to minimise lipping.

First and most importantly, don't lay large tiles in 'staggered' or 'brickbond' patterns. If the tiles are prone to lipping, this will show it up immediately.

Second, the tiler needs to take special care when laying very large tiles to match each tile to the next.

Third, there are special little devices to clamp the edges of each tile at the same level while the adhesive sets (the tiler must use plenty of adhesive when using these). It is worth asking the tiler to use these.

Fourth, use 'non-slump' adhesive such as Ardex X10. Sometimes the tiler does a perfect job of laying, only to find the heavy tile has sunk a little into the adhesive while it is setting. A non-slump adhesive stops this happening.

Tiles from China

Some people say Chinese tiles are not as good as others. Bobs answer is that it doesn't depend on the country, it depends on the factory and Beaumont Tiles is very careful who we choose to make our tiles. All our tiles are guaranteed to comply with Australian and International Standards.

Australian and International Standards

All tiles sold by Beaumont Tiles are guaranteed to comply with the relevant Australian and International Standards. This includes surface quality and dimensional attributes.

So all our tiles are guaranteed for

  • Surface
  • Size variation
  • Flatness

Finally

We are always happy to stand behind our products. In fact, they have a 15 year guarantee. Because laying tiles is very expensive, we do, however, ask that you inspect your tiles before they are laid to ensure you are happy with them.