A guide to choosing a high quality porcelain tile

Porcelain is an exceptional material. A high quality porcelain tile will not only stand the test of time, taking the spills and thrills of everyday life in its stride, it will also deliver on design and beauty. And at a price that shouldn't break the bank. Value for money wise, porcelain is very good.

Porcelain then, ticks all the boxes. High wear and tear, scratch and fade resistance, easy clean etc. So what do you get with a high quality porcelain tile?

Like anything, some manufacturers are continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible with their product - investing in technology and with porcelain it is no different - larger sizes, thinner formats, innovative anti-slip surfaces, more realistic designs and a wealth of patterns per tiles are just a few of the ways manufacturers are setting themselves and their high quality porcelain tile collections apart.

What is porcelain?

A porcelain tile is made from a mix of materials including natural clay and minerals. These minerals include things like feldspar, kaolin, water, minerals and colour pigments. Once mixed together, the tile is pressed into moulds and baked at high temperatures. This not only eradicates any water it also ensures the mixture fuses together.

One of the most striking things about porcelain is its compactness - the result of top level mechanical pressing and firing technology. It's this mix of materials and process that deliver a product that is highly durable, has water absorption levels near to 0% and makes the product particularly resistant to wear, scratching and staining.

That in turn makes porcelain one of the best possible materials for any environment indoors or outdoors.

Patterns per tile

As tile technology develops one of the advantages of choosing a high quality porcelain tile is the number of patterns per tile. Gone are the days when there were one or two patterns per tile so to create a realistic area was tricky. Yes you could turn tiles and try and mix it up but there are still only 2 or 3 patterns to do this with.

Now, patterns are so developed that collections can house 20 or 30 different patterns per tile. Of course, this is not so important with a fairly uniform tile such as a concrete, but it is important with a veined marble, stone effect or a porcelain tile that looks like wood.

Our Season porcelain tiles have 39 individual plank designs - that means whatever colour you choose you will have a random mix of 39 different designs. That creates ultra realism.

Definition of design

As tile technology improves, another key benefit of high quality porcelain tiles is their ability to mimic other materials so brilliantly. This is not just about the number of patterns, this is also about advances in production where pattern and surface texture align to give ultra realism to a tile.

Imagine the veins in a leathered marble - where you can feel the pits and veins of the material. Or the knots and gnarls of a wood plank. Porcelains are echoing these natural materials like never before and with such incredible precision it can be tricky to tell the difference between. We call it our Contour finish because it follows the contours of these natural imperfections.

And of course, with porcelain there is no concern about wear and tear - unlike real marble your porcelain will not wear or stain and unlike real wood your porcelain planks won't bend or warp in the shower area.

Take our new Alpine collection of quartz stone effect tiles. The surface echos real stone brilliantly with a slightly uneven riven surface.

Tile format and thickness

It takes some serious production to create larger format tiles in 6mm or 8mm thicknesses. These are huge format porcelain sheets that open up a world of design opportunities.

Define terrazzo porcelain effect tile silver lounge

Innovative surface finishes

Surface texture can change a tile completely and change where and how you might use a tile. We've already talked about our Contour surface finish where surface texture and design align. In addition, antislip treatments are improving and delivering tiles that can be used in wet rooms for example that are still easy clean.

Our Antislip Soft tiles - take our wonderful Docklands collection as an example These tiles are great for wet rooms - where a slightly more antislip texture is key but you still want easy clean. Pick a tile that is too rough and you find it a nightmare to clean when installed inside. Instead our Antislip Soft texture is designed for easy clean and with an R11 A+B+C slip rating.

That also makes this kind of tile great for busy kitchens or areas where water may be more prevalent.

If you love what you see in our high quality porcelain tile collections. Get in touch - or browse our website, we'd love to help!

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