is a general term that most of us use to
describe a lot of different materials. When
we say 'tile' we sometimes are talking about
ceramic, porcelain, travertine, granite,
marble and others.
Ceramic and Porcelain (man-made) VS Stone
would be ceramic and porcelain and natural
would be our limestone's, such as travertine
and marble, our slates and granites. Our man-mades are made from clay and are fired. Our
naturals are quarried and cut and often
polished to some degree.
more specialized trim pieces
be Unnatural Looking
Options For complex designs
Nature VS Man-made
Ceramic and porcelain are man-made and
therefore have the greater potential to be
more uniform in color and finish. Stones are
natural and each one is unique to some
this when choosing natural materials -
Colors will vary even within a box.
Beware that colors can vary greatly! One
thing is for certain, except in rare cases
if you took one natural tile out of a box
and were counting on it to be representative
of what the finished project would look
like, you will most likely be very
disappointed. You need to take a sampling of
a natural product and lay it out and then
you have an idea of what you are getting.
Cracks, fissures and discolorations are what
to expect in a natural product, they aren't
the exception. A common saying in the stone
business: "If you want consistency and
uniformity, then select porcelain
tile". Now don't get the wrong idea,
because once you embrace the fact that a
natural product won't look man-made then you
can begin to appreciate and embrace the
beauty of natural stones!
Ceramic and porcelain tiles in general are
going to be the least expensive of all
tiles. Now not only is the material a factor
but, natural stone is more expensive to
This cost is primarily due to the overall
difficulty of the installation due to the
irregularities and therefore increased time
involved and the special techniques and
materials required for proper installations.
For example stone may require a grout
release application before installation and
a penetrating sealer after installation.
Ceramic has none of these requirements.
Granites are the hardest of all natural
stones, and there are some stone types that
approach the hardness of granite. All
polished stones scratch and dull, yet some
honed stones may be more difficult to clean
than polished. A natural (through-body)
porcelain tile can be up to 30% harder than
granite. Marble is a very soft stone and you
can damage it very easily.
and Stain Resistance
Granites typically have superior resistance
against staining. However, many common
household products will stain or etch stone,
yet most will have little or no effect on
ceramic tile. For instance, an ice cold
glass of water can etch ring on white
marble. Vinegar, ketchup, mustard, fruit
juice or wine will etch many stones.
Slate is a metamorphic rock that was formed
below the earth's surface from shale which
is a sedimentary rock. Shale consists of
fine particles of quartz and clay. Slate is
created from shale by mountain-forming
movements in the earth's crust which
squeezed these minerals into layers. Slate
has a layered appearance and can flake.
Grays and blacks to rusts and greens, many
slates will be multi-colored.
Natural Cleft, gauged, ungauged, tumbled,
honed and polished.
Shaling - pieces falling off the
face, is common for the first 6 months after
- very durable.
Travertine is limestone formed over a long
period of time, it is porous with many
visible holes when purchased unfilled or
filled when the holes have been filled with
a filler using epoxy and cement. Travertine
is a sedimentary calciferoius stone formed in
hot-springs. It is often quarried near hot
springs. The Coliseum in Rome is made of
Common Colors - Ivory to golden
Common finishes - honed, polished,
tumbled, filled or unfilled.
Hardness - soft to moderately hard.
Look - unfilled gives a rustic
appearance, filled gives a more formal look.
Granite is an igneous rock, which was formed
from magma slowly cooling. Granite is made
up mostly of Feldspar and Quartz making it
the hardest know substance used in
residential tile applications.
Colors - large variety, the salt and
pepper grain make it easily distinguishable.
Common Finishes - honey, polished.
Hardness - very hard
Marble is formed from limestone by heat and
pressure. These forces cause the limestone
to change in texture which makes marble a
metamorphic rock. Marble is made of calcium
carbonate, the purest calcite marble will
make it white in color. The minerals that
are impurities give marble the wide variety
Colors - wide variety, you can
identify marble by it's distinguished
Common finishes - honed, polished,
for Natural Stone
Natural products are not uniform, consistent
products are individually unique, beautiful,
and add personality.
The price of stone is not directly related
to quality, it is related to availability.
Don't confuse quality with a relationship to
voids, fissures or cracks.
Variations - always look at 3-4 pieces to
judge the color range.
A polished stone is not a sealed stone, a
polished surface is only aesthetic.
Green marbles are not recommended for wet
areas because they can warp.
Black marbles are not recommended in wet
areas because of spalling at the veins.
A ceramic tile is made from a mixture of
clays, that are shaped and fired at high
temperatures and then glazed. The use of
ceramic tiles dates back to 18,000 years
Is a ceramic tile that will absorb less than
.5 % of water.
Ceramic & Porcelain Tile Rating Systems
A v rating is an indicator of how much
variation in shade and color a ceramic or
porcelain tile with have. The lower the V
rating the less shade and color variation
the tile will have. A v-rating of V1 will
have no variation and a v-rating of V4 will
have random variation.
Coefficient of Friction
Used to measure the friction or slippage of
a tile. The test is always done on a wet
version and a dry version of the tile and the
two numbers are displayed. The ADA (American
Disability Act) has determined that testing
results of .60 or better meet their