Tile FAQs

Choosing A Tile

  When choosing tile, it's important to understand the difference between porcelain and ceramic. What's the difference? It's simple. Porcelain is a type of ceramic itself. It is formed from finer clay and minerals, creating a denser tile that is fired at higher temperatures, helping make porcelain more water-resistant. Both ceramic and porcelain have many inherent qualities that make them a great flooring choice for busy, active families. Tile from Shaw Ceramics is resistant to stains, odors, bacteria, and scratches. It is also naturally hygienic, easy to clean, and always beautiful.   

  Practically indestructible from normal everyday wear, ceramic and porcelain tiles are truly one of the best flooring materials available. Both these tile types offer the remodeler almost unlimited possibilities in residential and commercial applications. 

  Happy Feet Floors supplies a large selection of custom tile medallions & decorative trim pieces along with our experienced designers and tile installers for walls, counter tops, bathtubs and shower enclosures. Whether your project requires an interior, or exterior tile application, our full-service Showroom is ready to help you.    

Tile Variations

Ceramic Tile: Tile is made from clay and other minerals. The material is shaped and then fired in a kiln. Ceramic tiles will then be further treated as either Glazed or Unglazed.  

Glazed Ceramic Tile: Color is added to the tile and a glass like glaze is bonded to the surface of the tile. Glazing allows brighter colors to be used and adds stain resistance. Glazed Ceramic tiles are often used on walls and countertops because they have a slick glassy surface.   

Unglazed Ceramic Tile: Also called quarry tiles, the pigment or natural color remains part of the tile itself. Unglazed tiles can give a natural earthy look and are more slip resistant than glazed tiles. Unglazed tile needs sealing for stain resistance.   

Porcelain Tile: Porcelain ceramic tile is made from clay and minerals as well, but it also contains a white dust or sand called feldspar. Feldspar is a type of crystal found in rock that acts as a "flux" during the kiln-drying process, melting into a glass-like material and bonding all of the molded ingredients together. Porcelain is much denser than ceramic and is extremely resistant to stains and moisture. It is harder than Granite, frost-proof, and almost completely resistant to wear and tear.     

Ceramic Tile ~ The natural look

  Ceramic tile is created from clay, natural minerals & water. Glazed tile carries a ceramic coating giving the tile its finish and color. Glazed ceramic tiles are naturally an excellent choice for interior floors & walls because they are:  

Durable - professionally installed ceramic tile outperforms and outlasts just about every other floor covering material created for a similar application.  

Easy care - glazed ceramic tiles resist odors, stains & dirt, plus tile can be cleaned easily with a sponge, damp mop, or most ordinary household cleaners like Spic and Span, Mr. Clean, or Top Job.  

Scratch resistant - Grade III & Grade IV ceramic glazed tiles are very resistant to scratches and scuff marks.  

Environmentally friendly - manufactured with natural materials, ceramic tile doesn't retain any allergens, bacteria, or odors.  

Versatile and Beautiful - technology in today's ceramic manufacturing has created an almost unlimited choice of colors, styles, sizes, textures and shapes to add beauty and character to any room's decor.  

Water Resistant - glazed ceramic tiles will not absorb moisture, meaning common liquid spills in the kitchen are of little concern.  

Resistant to Fire - ceramic tile will not burn or give off toxic fumes.  

  Ultimately, ceramic tile is a functional and practical choice for floors, countertops, or walls. Tile offers versatility in application as well as beauty from its design potential.     

Ceramic Tile ~ Definitions

  Ceramic tiles are a mixture of different clays pressed into shapes then fired at very high temperature giving it extreme hardness. Afterwards, the bisque, or the outside body of ceramic tiles can be glazed, or used unglazed dependent upon application. 

Classifications - P.E.I (Porcelain Enamel Institute) Wear Ratings:   

  • Group I - Tiles suitable for residential bathroom installations where the foot traffic is light. Wall tiles are in this category; some can be used on floors. 
  • Group II - Tiles appropriate for use in moderate traffic areas, except on floors having lots of traffic like in foyers, kitchens, a laundry room, etc. 
  • Group III - The category of tile products which are suitable for most all residential installations. 
  • Group IV - Tiles suited for light to medium commercial installations as well as all residential applications. 
  • Group V - Tiles that can be used for heavy traffic areas; they're also recommended for damp areas where safety is necessary such as food service facilities, exterior locations, swimming pools, shopping malls, etc.    

Moisture Absorption & Tile Density

Tile Density - As weight and/or density increases, the tile becomes stronger.

Moisture Absorption - Density reduces the volume of moisture a tile may absorb. As density of tile increases, moisture absorption rates are less. Moisture absorption and tile densities are an important aspect of tile selection for your application.

Non-Vitreous Tiles - these tiles can absorb 7% or more moisture. They're only suited for indoor use.

Semi-Vitreous Tiles - will absorb between 3% to 7% moisture. They too are only suitable for indoor use.  

Vitreous Tiles - the absorption of moisture is less than 3%. Often referred to as being frost resistant tiles, yet can't really be used outside where freeze and thaw conditions might cause tiles to crack. 

Impervious Tiles - the most dense having less than a .5% moisture absorption rating. They are frost proof and may be used in any exterior area, or for outside surfaces and facades of buildings.   

Production Methods

Bicottura - This is Italian for "double fired". Here the clay is first fired on an initial run through the kiln. Next the glaze is applied and the tile is kiln fired for a second time. This process is used mainly to produce decorative tile medallions and wall trim.  

Monocottura - An Italian word that means "single fired". The tile is passed through the kiln firing process a single time at temperatures of 2,200+ degrees. Monocuttura tiles are denser in body and have harder glazing than Bicottura tile.     

Mosaic & Ceramic Tiles

  Mix up your tile with imaginative patterns! Choose a unique tile layout to add interest to your floor. Easy to create and offering endless variety, ceramic patterns create depth and add visual interest.  Choose bold color or a subdued neutral. Try alternative colors for a dramatic, two-toned effect. Mix sizes and shapes to create something completely unique. Repeat patterns or make them random. No matter how you lay our tile, mix it up and it's sure to make a statement.