The ceramic tile manufacturing process has remained largely the same for centuries. Today, it is an art form all on its own. Understanding the design and construction of ceramic tile allows you to choose the right product for any room in your home—one that will stand the test of time.
Ceramic tiles are made from natural materials that are then shaped and fired in kilns at extremely high temperatures. There are two main types of ceramic tile: glazed and unglazed. Glazed tile is glossy and non-porous, which makes it easier to clean and resistant to staining. Unglazed tile does not have a glossy surface and is more porous. However, unglazed tile is also more durable.
The process begins with the materials. Ceramic tile is made of a mixture of clay and minerals that is then blended into a semi-fine powder. Water is then added to the powder to create a mud-like substance. This substance is then pumped into a large dryer and pressed into the familiar tile shape.
Tile can also go through a process called extrusion, which involves forcing the clay through a mold rather than pressing it. It is then given a glazing liquid (if it is to be glazed) and will then be fired at temperatures of approximately 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.