Facts About the Glaze:

The glaze is a liquid glass that has been sprayed or poured onto the surface of the tile. It is then fused and hardened by means of tremendous heat. The colors of the glaze are made from a mixture of minerals such as gold, silver, zinc, copper, mercury, cobalt and many others. The strength and wear resistance of the glaze is determined by its hardness. The following factors may effect this hardness:

·           Temperature  - The higher the temperature of the kilns (ovens) the harder the glaze.

·           Colors  -  Dark color glazes such as blacks and blues are usually softer than light colored ones.

·           Gloss Levels – Shiny glazes are usually softer than matte or satin finished glazes.

Difference between glazed and unglazed tiles:

Glazed Tiles – are made the same as unglazed except that a glass wear-layer, called a glaze, is fused to its surface by means of tremendous heat.

Unglazed Tiles - are true inlaid. They are simply baked pieces of clay whose colors run throughout the body.

Characteristics of glazed and unglazed tiles:

Glazed Tiles:

·        Most glazed tiles are not suited for heavy commercial installations. They are generally suited for light residential to medium commercial use.

·        Technology for glazes has improved dramatically over the past few years. There are new glazes on the market that are hard and durable enough to use in heavy commercial applications.

Gloss Levels:

·        Glazed ceramic tile varies in gloss levels depending on the look the manufacturer wants to achieve. Levels can range from matte, satin, or high gloss.

·        Generally speaking, the higher the gloss, the softer the glaze. Areas of the home that don’t receive heavy wear, such as bathrooms, use a higher gloss level than heavy traffic areas such as kitchens.

Advantages:

·        The glaze offers the manufacturers the ability to produce an unlimited array of beautiful colors and designs.

·        The non-porous glaze creates a smooth surface that is practically stain proof.

Unglazed Tiles:

·        Unglazed tiles are the workhorses of the industry. They are generally thicker and denser than glazed tiles. Some common types are quarry tiles and porcelains.

·        The tough inlaid qualities of most unglazed tiles makes them ideally suited for, but not limited to, extra heavy commercial installations.

·        Many customers appreciate the natural qualities and beauty of unglazed tiles and choose them for residential areas.

·        Generally, the color range of unglazed tiles is limited to the natural colors of clay…ranging from a light sand to a red brick, but there are exceptions.

·        Some manufacturers achieve a wide range of beautiful colors by mixing color pigments in the clay.

Advantage of unglazed tiles:

·        Superior strength for heavy commercial use as well as residential.

·        The rugged surface texture and matte finish of the unglazed tile give them superior “slip resistant” qualities for use in wet areas.