Vitrified Tiles are similar to, but better than Ceramic tiles. Vitrified tile is a tile which has undergone a process called vitrification that gives it extremely low porosity, and thus, very low water absorption. It is hard and strong, as well as stain resistant. A high quality vitrified tile has a lot of benefits over natural Marble or Granite tiles and hence is very popular in residences nowadays.
Vitrified tiles have both advantages and disadvantages. It is useful to know the characteristics of Vitrified tiles, its usability and suitability as a flooring option. As an Architect, I have described Vitrified tiles along with it’s features under the following headings so that you can decide whether it is suited for your requirement and your space:
What are the characteristics of Vitrified tiles?
What are the advantages of Vitrified tiles flooring?
What are the disadvantages of Vitrified tiles flooring?
Where is Vitrified tiles flooring best suited?
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF VITRIFIED TILES?
- Composition: Vitrified tiles are made by fusing silica and clay. The mixture is then heated to high – fiery temperatures, which results in a non – porous tile with glass – like texture. Unlike Ceramic tiles, the vitrified tile doesn’t need additional glaze to be added on to it.
- Physical properties: Vitrified tiles possess much better mechanical strength and scratch-resistance compared to Marble or natural Granite.
- Thickness: Vitrified tiles are generally 10 to 12 mm thick, half the thickness of natural stones like Marble or natural Granite.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF VITRIFIED TILES?
- Very durable: in comparison to Ceramic, Marble and Granite.
- Consistency: Being machine-made products, Vitrified tiles are consistent in sizes, shades and thickness unlike the variable sizes and shades of natural materials.
- Quality: Vitrified tiles are man-made, so their quality can be guaranteed – tiles that do not meet standards are simply not packaged and sold. On the other hand, the quality of Marble and Granite is a matter of chance.
- Laying and Setting time: Vitrified tiles are easier to install and need practically no setting time or polishing after laying. Therefore they can be used within 48 hours after they are laid.
- Thickness: Vitrified tiles are half the thickness of Marble, Granite and other natural materials.
- Bright: A glossy and sparkling floor with vitrified tiles reflects much more brightness; at the same time, matt finished tiles or less reflective tiles underplay excess light.
- Colour permanence: Direct exposure to sunlight will neither alter the colour of the tiles nor cause them to fade.
- Non-porous: Vitrified tiles have very less water absorption index and are stain resistant.
- Hygiene: Being moisture resistant, Vitrified tiles prevent bacteria and fungi from growing.
- Easy to Clean: One of the biggest benefits of Vitrified tiles is that they are very easy to clean and maintain.
- Cost Effective: Vitrified tiles are cheaper than many other types of flooring.
- Wide range and choice: Vitrified tiles are available in many colours, patterns, designs, sizes.
WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF VITRIFIED TILES?
- Installation: Tiles need to be installed by an expert tile layer to ensure thin, even and neat joints between the tiles.
- Repair:The tile with the defect must be cut away along the grout lines and surrounding material could be damaged in the process. Moreover, it is quite unlikely that you will find the same tile after some years.
- Slippery: Vitrified tiles are slippery when wet.
- Grout Maintenance: Every year or two, the grout must be resealed or it will begin to look dirty. Worse still, the sealant will create a hazy finish on the tiles if allowed to dry.
- Not a green option: Vitrified tiles are not environment friendly as the process of making them causes a significant expenditure of energy and carbon dioxide.
WHERE ARE VITRIFIED TILES BEST SUITED?
Because they are cost effective, easy to clean, water-resistant and very durable, vitrified tiles are suitable in a number of places – as flooring, wall covering, back-splash, bench tops and showers. However vitrified tiles look artificial. In comparison other man-made options like concrete which has a more earthy feel and terrazzo which looks elegant are available. But if economics is your driving concern, you should consider resilient flooring.
For information on other flooring options, go to:
- Flooring | Natural Material Options
- Flooring | Man-made Material Options
- Flooring | Resilient Material Options
In order to get a rough idea of the suitability of a particular flooring for your requirement and to make a fair comparison of the different types of flooring, refer to an Architect’s rating of the various kinds of flooring on my blog: House construction in India
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