Ceramic Tiles: How they’re Made

Ceramic tiles are known for their strength and resistance to everyday wear and tear and whether it’s pasta stains, water marks or stomping boots we have to contend with, many of choose them for a stylish and long lasting finish. The main reasons behind its strength are the material and processes used to make ceramic tiles what they are. Like many products, ceramic tiles start their life off as a piece of clay in the ground but it’s what is added and that that clay goes through that gives us the end product that we’ve come to love on our walls and floors.

Ceramic Tiles: How they’re MadeClay from the earth is ground down and mixed with other natural substances such as sand and feldspar before being put into a machine and milled. Many manufacturers mix a certain percentage of water into the concoction to help all the elements blend together - however this is later removed from the mix once all of the ingredients have had time to bind. The water is removed through a heating process and the end product is usually a fine dust that is ready to be turned into tiles!

The mixture for the ceramic times goes into a giant press which pushes this mixture into the right shape, size and thickness. The mechanics used to do this have to be incredibly powerful to ensure that the fine particles set correctly. Once the mixture has been set and shaped, it is again dried out to remove any trace of moisture from the mixture - moisture is both the tiles friend and enemy.

Once the sturdy block has undergone pressing and drying, it then needs to be glazed. Tile glazing is what gives us the shine and colouring that we see when we buy our ceramic tiles from the shops.  From subtle matte to high shine gloss there are a range of finishes a tile can have - with some manufactures keeping their own secret ‘recipe’ to make their tiles special.

Next, the tile is baked in the kiln. Baking enhances the tiles colouring so that they go from pale to vibrant in no time at all. Nowadays, manufacturers use rolling kilns to ‘cook’ their tiles, which work by placing the tiles on a conveyor that is continuously moving. These incredibly hot kilns allow for ceramic tiles to be ready remarkably quickly – giving the consumer plenty of styles, colours and shapes to choose from for their home.

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