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How to choose a ceramic tile: Theory and Practice

You have decided to make tiling and come instore to choose a suitable option? Do not rush to make a purchase based solely on a beautiful picture or texture. The aesthetic component is certainly important, but more important than its technical specifications, which are responsible for the fact that the tiles in a short time has not lost its appearance, if not fallen into disrepair.
In this article we will discuss in detail the most important characteristics of ceramic tiles, as well as a practical example will show how it should be selected for a specific room.

Specifications tiles

Standards and specifications tilesregulated in all countries of the world. The most popular and authoritative to date - UNI EN. Although these standards do not have the force of law (sold ceramic products that do not meet their requirements), but the quality of such tiles are always in doubt. So, if possible, better to take the product with the sign of quality UNI.

wear resistance

Main technical characteristics of ceramictiles certainly its durability, in other words or wearability. Durability is determined by how tile resists change their appearance or, in other words, how quickly it wears.

Special value of this parameter is for outdoortile, which should as long as possible to keep the original look. Operation tiles Term definitely depends on where it will be used. Therefore, for the flooring in different rooms to use appropriate tile wear resistance groups, depending on the traffic and destination.

The tiles can be divided into 5 groups according to the wear resistance index:

• PEI I - The most "soft" group, it is recommended to use only in places with little traffic, where walking in soft footwear;
• PEI II - suitable for bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, where too go, basically, slippers;
the third group of PEI III can be installed in all residential premises and in the sector of small offices that have no direct entrance from the street;
• PEI IV group is suitable for use in anyfacilities residential sector as well as public areas where low traffic volume, for example, private hotels, small restaurants, shops;
• tiles in PEI V characteristics are the highest, it is used in places where a large crowd of people possible - in supermarkets, great restaurants, airports.

Compliance with PEI group and the type of room importantterms of longevity tiles. If you lay on the floor material with lower performance than required, then after a time on the cover of any scratches, the surface turns into a matte glaze disappears and tread clay base.

Frost resistance and water absorption

These characteristics are interrelated,directly dependent on the degree of porosity of the tile. That is, the water absorption is determined by the ratio of water mass that absorbs the sample until complete saturation to the dry weight of the product. This figure is for glazed ceramic floor tiles can not exceed 3%, from the tiles to the walls of the water absorption of not more than 10%.

Frost resistance - the ability of ceramicProduct endure repeated freezing and then thawing without breaking. Especially important is the figure if the tile is placed in the street or in unheated premises where the temperature can drop below 0 ° C. If the tile is placed in a heated room, frost can disregard.

Chemical resistance

Chemical resistance describes the resistance to substances that may come into contact with the surface of the tiles, such as household chemicals, salts, acids.

According to the norms, the tile must be assigned a class resistance to aggressive environments, based on the degree of damage:

• AA class - there are no changes in appearance;
• Class A - very minor changes in appearance;
• Class B - change in the appearance of moderate;
• Class C - partially lost appearance.
• class D - completely lost the original appearance.

Mechanical properties

The mechanical characteristics are determinedindicators of resistance to bending and tensile strength. There are loads in mind that the product is able to withstand without damage. Especially important is the figure for the tile floor. Note that the lower the water absorption of the material, the greater the resistance to bending. For example, granite is a fairly high rate, and porous tiles - low.

The hardness of the glaze

This indicator reflects the strength of the surfaceceramic layer, it shows the extent to which surface can resist mechanical stress, when it is scratched by any solid material or press down a certain tool shapes. The test results are evaluated by the Mohs scale that consists of ten minerals. They are arranged in order of increasing hardness: starting with talc (1), and ending with a diamond (10).

friction coefficient

The coefficient of friction surface of ceramic tiles reflects the degree of slip. Regulations stipulated four categories:

• 0 to 0.19 - dangerous;
• from 0.2 to 0.39 - on the brink of danger;
• from 0.4 to 0.74 - satisfactory;
• above 0.75 - excellent.

The tone and caliber

Tone - the tone color of the tile. The slight difference from the color claimed. Color is indicated on the packaging in the form of numbers or letters.

Caliber - this is the actual size of tiles, whichmay vary slightly from the nominal. The tiles are sorted by the parties of the caliber (size) with a certain tolerance of difference that set standards. Gauge usually indicate on the packaging along with the nominal size. When you buy a tile, always make sure to have the entire party was the same caliber and tone.

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The choice of ceramic tiles

Before you purchase a tile, no harm willlearn to read the symbols on the packaging. For example, the floor tiles in the form of a brand mark of the foot on a black background. Bright and shaded background and a black sole - means the tiles increased durability. An icon in the shape of a hand - wall tiles, a product on the floor will last for long. Snowflake mark frost and flame image with the number "1" or "2" - the number of firings. If the same mark is applied several times - it confirms the high level of the relevant index.

The symbol "AA" refers to tiles that are notafraid of contact with chemicals. Tiles with the stigma of "A" less resistant to chemicals. The lowest resistance are different products with the symbol "O", the average resistance - "B" and "C". This information is sufficient to navigate - whether to place suitable material that you are going to draw.

If you are going to lay the tile in the bathroom,keep in mind that the walls and floor here will be in contact with chemicals. It needs non-porous tiles, acid-resistant. At the same time for bathroom and kitchen wear resistance degree it is not a big deal, especially when laying on the walls. On the kitchen floor tile is laid chemically stable, as a rule, III-class durability. For the lobby, hallway and corridor need more proof - IV and V class of resistance to abrasion.

Do not confuse the terms "quality" and "technicalcharacteristics ", otherwise you may have wasted. It makes no sense to flooring in the toilet and bathroom tiles put increased cold hardiness and high wear resistance. Such products are intended for public premises - exhibition and trade halls, etc. For the home environment enough tiles to abrasion index -.. III.

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How to determine the quality of the tile itself

Do not buy the tiles with uneven edges. To check this point - attach one to the other. There should not be visible to the naked eye defects. The presence of cracks and chips on the enamel, grain pattern, streaks suggest low quality tiles. Which, by the way, is defined by three varieties of tiles. However, manufacturers rarely indicate the grade on the tile, but it is not difficult to determine. Adopted by all the markings on the tiles of first grade do red, the second grade - blue, and the third - green.

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