Ceramic tiles. What they are and how to choose them according to the space we decorate.

Ceramic tiles are a mixture of clays and other natural materials such as sand, quartz, and water. They are mainly used in homes, restaurants, offices, shops, and so on, in bathrooms and kitchens. The advantage of using them is that they are easy to install, clean, maintain, and available at reasonable prices.

The global demand for ceramic tiles was estimated at around $72 billion in 2014 and reached about $120 billion in 2020. In terms of volume, the global ceramic tile market recorded 13 billion square meters in 2014. Ceramic tiles are widely used in various industries, such as in the renovation of residential and commercial buildings, or in the construction of new buildings.

Ceramic tiles are most commonly used in the renovation of existing homes, representing in recent years more than 45% of the total volume consumed. The demand for ceramic tiles used for home renovation has increased because they are successfully used as a substitute for paints and other products. The Asia-Pacific region is the largest market, with a share of over 50% in total consumption volume. Europe is the second largest market, followed by Latin America, the Middle East Asia, Africa, and North America.

Porcelain or non-porcelain tiles?

Porcelain tiles are fired in an oven at temperatures of approximately 1200°C. The tiles are either left in their natural state or transformed to imitate different materials such as stone, wood, concrete, mosaic, hexagon, 3D, terrazzo travertine, marble, granite, or other materials. Non-porcelain tiles are not as durable as porcelain tiles, and owners must quickly remove leaks, mold, infiltrations, due to their relatively high absorption rate. It is best to avoid using non-porcelain ceramic tiles in areas exposed to moisture, such as the shower and terrace. Also, due to its tendency to absorb moisture, non-porcelain ceramic tiles require weekly cleaning, unlike porcelain ones, which should be treated monthly.

Tile resistance

Indoor floor tiles for heavy traffic

One of the most important features of tiles is their wear resistance. Since each space in the house has its own characteristics, it is important to choose a material that suits the room’s needs. Thus, according to the Porcelain Enamel Institute evaluations, there are five wear classes:

Class I: No pedestrian traffic. Suitable for wall applications only.

Class II: Light traffic or interior walls. Suitable in areas where traffic is made with soft shoes, without dirt. For example, bathrooms and bedrooms without exterior access.

Class III: Light to moderate traffic, as well as countertops and walls. Suitable for spaces with normal traffic and few sources of scratches. Fits in all rooms of the house, except kitchens, entrances, and other areas with heavy traffic.

Class IV: Moderate to intense traffic. Can be installed in all areas of the house, including kitchens, hallways, entrances. These are the best floor tiles to use, as they combine beauty and function perfectly.

Class V: Very intense traffic, as well as exposure to scratches. Works well in any room of the house, as well as in commercial spaces.

Large ceramic tiles

The advantage of large ceramic tiles is primarily that they are much more resistant. This is because a larger surface leads to a more uniform distribution of weight. Another advantage of using large ceramic tiles is that they are easier to install, as they can be placed horizontally or diagonally, depending on the pattern you want to achieve. Using large ceramic tiles also helps you in terms of design, as you will have fewer joints.

Advantages and disadvantages of non-porcelain ceramic tiles outdoors


– They are less expensive than porcelain tiles;

– They are lighter and easier to cut and install than porcelain tiles;

– They offer a wider range of colors and styles.


– They are more prone to cracking than porcelain tiles;

– They are less wear-resistant than porcelain tiles, making them vulnerable to heavy traffic in an outdoor setting where sand, gravel, and dirt could damage them;

– They are more porous, making them more vulnerable to water infiltration and staining.

Bathroom ceramic tiles

When it comes to bathrooms, flooring makes a significant difference in the overall aesthetics. Bathrooms are wet spaces, where surfaces tend to get wet regularly. For this reason, water-resistant flooring is the way to go. Although there are several materials on the market that repel moisture, natural flooring is the first choice of specialists.

Ceramic tiles are naturally cool, which makes them desirable in warm areas and not as popular in colder regions. They come in almost any color or design. Non-porcelain ceramic tiles have a higher water absorption rate than porcelain tiles. That being said, ceramic tiles are generally a more affordable choice financially.