Porcelain stoneware, as a building material, appeared as a result of an error in the production of ceramic tiles at one of the factories in Italy in the 40s years of the XX century.
The foreman, after placing a batch of molds with ceramic tiles in the furnace, incorrectly set the firing temperature and instead of 900 0 C set the temperature to 400 0 C higher and noticed this only before removing batches for the subsequent technological operation.
I reported this news to the technologist, who, according to the prevailing prejudices, thought that the whole batch was defective and the tiles in the molds cracked and became loose, but looking at the tiles I was surprised, the tiles became more solid, the structure became stronger and its surface became smoother and more uniform.
This fact led him to the idea of creating a new type of ceramic tiles, which he called porcelain stoneware, due to the fact that the properties of the resulting tiles in hardness were close to granite.
The appearance of porcelain stoneware in the construction market
But at that time the equipment did not yet allow creating such conditions for the production of tiles with prolonged and high-temperature firing.
The conditions for industrial production appeared in the mid-50s of the last century, and in view of the increased properties in terms of strength and wear resistance, the first porcelain stoneware was ordered to cover floors at one of the production workshops of a chemical enterprise.
The first slabs of porcelain stoneware were of a nondescript appearance and were much inferior to ceramic tiles in aesthetic qualities, this circumstance made the first porcelain stoneware unclaimed in the market of building materials for residential premises.
The demand for porcelain stoneware for flooring in residential premises appeared only in the 70s, when new chemical compounds appeared that allowed qualitatively improve the structure of tiles and increase the design attractiveness of porcelain stoneware.
Since that time, the rapid development of the production of porcelain stoneware began in connection with the increased demand for it in the market, together with the production, new options and methods of processing of porcelain stoneware were developed, which made it possible to expand the varietal and specific line of porcelain stoneware. And as a result of such turbulent events, porcelain stoneware, mass-colored in thickness, turned out to be a separate type of floor covering and already in inquiries, in stores and in descriptions, porcelain stoneware is allocated a separate place from ceramic tiles.
Varieties of porcelain stoneware
Technology for the production of porcelain stoneware, varying with the composition of the mixture, with additional pigment compositions (compositions responsible for the texture and decoration of the tile), temperatures and holding times during firing, allowed to organize a whole line of porcelain stoneware products that differ from each other and in order to navigate in this variety of products, the division of porcelain stoneware was developed according to:
- size range of porcelain stoneware tiles on the floor;
- texture surface design the face of the tiles;
- the ability to withstand operational loads;
- imitate other floor coverings.
Manufacturers try to make the ruler in terms of dimensions of porcelain stoneware floor slabs varied in combination of length and width, as well as in shape (square. Rectangle, octahedron, etc.). In the modern construction market, standard sizes of porcelain stoneware tiles vary from 50 mm.
up to 1800 mm. This variety allows you to make a unique combination of floor surface design solutions.
According to its texture design
The front surface of porcelain stoneware differs in its texture design and it can be:
polished texture - Porcelain stoneware manufacturers have made great strides in the matte finish of tiles using abrasive polishing , which made it possible to create a perfectly smooth glossy surface (like a mirror), but at the same time to slightly reduce the performance characteristics.
matte texture - this texture is obtained by the tile in its original form after firing in the oven and is the most reliable in terms of performance, but at the same time for indoor use demonstrate a homely atmosphere and reduce the level of injury. this is the preferred texture option.
- semi-polished (lapped) texture is a combination of processed and untreated sections of the tile surface in various orders, this method of surface decoration allows you to create an originality of the composition, such tiles are better than polished in terms of performance, but there are few options Such tiles for the floor and for everyday use in a residential area have significant disadvantages associated with cleaning and the appearance of the contaminated surface.
- glossy (satin) texture - this texture is obtained by adding salts to the front surface of the tile before firing, which manifests itself in the appearance of visible effects of velvet and softness on the surface. Such a texture will be interesting for a living space, because in combination with color solutions, a feeling of warmth and the presence of a home is created. the performance characteristics are slightly reduced in relation to tiles with a matte structure.The disadvantage of glazed porcelain tiles is that they are more expensive than previous textured types.
- structured texture - this texture assumes the creation of relief on the face of the tile. The relief on the porcelain stoneware surface expands the possibilities for imitating various floor coverings and materials. In addition, the structuring of the tile surface allows you to enhance the 3D effect of the floor surface, which is assumed by the interior design solution.
- smoked ( glazed ) texture - this texture is analogous to the glaze used in the production of ceramic tiles. The effects of such a texture are similar to the effects that are obtained when using ceramic tiles and allow glazed porcelain stoneware to be used instead of ceramic tiles, for example, according to the criteria of the dimensions of the tiles, the size range of ceramic tiles is much smaller than that of porcelain stoneware.
- mosaic texture - such a texture is obtained not for a single tile, but for the whole floor surface due to the use of small tiles in various combinations, which has a positive effect not only in the possibilities of aesthetic floor design, but also in increasing the strength of the flooring.
- rectified texture - this texture assumes trimming ready-made porcelain stoneware tiles with perfect contours. Edged porcelain stoneware allows you to cover the floor with an almost seamless canvas.
- combined texture - this texture is obtained using combinations of the above structures and is the most common in the line of design solutions for porcelain stoneware. If you take and look at modern porcelain stoneware, especially with pretentious patterns, then in its texture you can see several variants, for example, a semi-polished surface covered with smalt or a relief surface in a matte finish, etc.
PЕI indicator value
All buyers of tiles and project designers in most cases are interested in the performance characteristics that are created by the flooring, and the most important characteristic that is responsible for the durability of the coating is the ability of the coating to abrasion.
For porcelain stoneware, the same wear resistance scale is adopted as for ceramic tiles using the PЕI index:
indicator PEI 1 - implies the use of porcelain stoneware in little-visited rooms, including a bathroom, bedroom, bathroom, boiler room, etc.;
- indicator PEI 2 - implies the use of porcelain stoneware in rooms with low intensity of use (living rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, etc., except for the kitchen, corridors, hallways);
- indicator PEI 3 - implies the use of porcelain stoneware in rooms with an average indicator of the intensity of use (kitchens, hallways, corridors . loggias, etc.
- indicator PEI 4 - implies the use of porcelain stoneware in rooms with a high degree of flooring, (offices, entrances, receptions, etc.);
- indicator PEI 5 - implies the use of porcelain stoneware in premises with a very high degree of flooring exploitation (shops, cafes, theaters and other public places).
PEI can be used in combination with Roman numerals and, accordingly, 1-I, 2-II, 3-III, 4-IV, 5-V.
For design decisions, it is very important to understand which floor surface needs to be imitated in order to create a harmonious and comfortable interior in a room or room. For this purpose, porcelain stoneware on the floor has a whole line of imitation abilities:
wood effect - the combination of the use of tiles in flooring allows you to create a complete feeling of a wooden surface, and with the right selection, it practically does not differ from the imitated one, except for the absence of disadvantages of a wooden floor
- under a natural stone - such an imitation of the floor surface will allow you to feel your presence in various picturesque regions of our planet, and with the use of soft, beige (light brown) tones, it will bring peace and tranquility to your state of mind and create conditions for relaxation after a busy day at work.
- under a pebble or sandy coating is a very interesting effect of a porcelain stoneware coating that can be used in rooms for entrance groups of country houses (veranda, terrace, porch, etc.). In everyday life, such an effect will create the feeling of going out to a pebble or sandy beach, and in combination with a pool, bath or shower, this effect will increase significantly and awaken nostalgic memories of a vacation in a good resort.
- for parquet / parquet board - for such imitation, an ornament is made on the front surface in the form of wooden planks that make up a parquet surface on the floor using surface structuring, ceramic tiles are given the effect of wood properties, which increases realism imitation. When choosing such a floor covering, a person immerses himself in the atmosphere of the middle of the twentieth century, when such a floor covering was very popular, the only difference is that it does not need to be rubbed with mastic.
- for brick - such an imitation effect can also be in demand in interior design solutions. The brick surface was very often used in castle buildings and is a kind of retro solution. which will allow the owner to imagine himself in the fireplace room and there is a desire to take an interesting book, settle down more comfortably in an armchair and do a pleasant occupation.
- under the laminate - such an imitation is useful for a designer to create a uniform style of flooring in the entire complex of apartment premises, regardless of their purpose, and this effect will surely not go unnoticed by guests and visitors.
- for a concrete surface - at first glance, such a solution has no prospects, which is interesting in a gray concrete look, but if you take this look, shade it with color effects, give a lapped effect and slightly structure the surface, it appears very an interesting effect that saturates the surface with certain accents, which make it possible to highlight attractive solutions in the interior and at the same time create the effect of brutality of the environment, including for seemingly nondescript items of equipment in the room.
The list of imitating effects is not limited to this, the possibilities of modern production of porcelain stoneware, allows you to realize any flight of imagination in the design solution of the interior of the room.
Interior design solutions using porcelain stoneware
In the previous section, we examined the possibilities of porcelain stoneware in interior design solutions using the existing line of porcelain stoneware tiles by imitating properties. In continuation of this topic, we will consider possible combinations that can make certain accents on the details of the porcelain stoneware floor covering and give the designer additional tools in shaping the interior.
The method of laying tiles on the floor
One of the tools is the method of laying tiles on the floor, there are many such methods, but they are most often used.
- abstraction - this design uses different the texture of the front part of the ceramic granite tiles, sometimes even at first glance incomparable, but in the skillful hands of the designer and with the good taste of the owner of the room, you can create a very organic effect of a "patchwork quilt" on the floor, which will paint the interior with multi-colored paints, create the effect of a holiday and, for sure, for one step will cheer up.
This method is close to mosaic, but in the mosaic there is a clearly presented ornament, in abstractions there is no such ornament, but a drawing on a certain topic can be drawn up in the style of abstraction.
- geometric surface formatting - such a design of the floor covering implies the laying of porcelain stoneware tiles of the same type of imitation in a certain order or sequence. Craftsmen distinguish between several basic and popular methods of laying tiles:
- deck style (sprawling) - this method is determined by laying tiles so that the seams (usually of the short side) in adjacent rows of laying are not coincided and best of all if visually the seam between the tiles in the row was in the middle of the tiles of the previous row. The deck style can be applied both along the walls of the room and along the diagonal of the floor.
- herringbone style - this method provides for the formation of rows with two rectangular tiles, which are laid perpendicular to each other, with a corresponding offset along the width of the tiles and a kind of "herringbone" is formed on the floor.
- Vietnamese style - is formed by collecting tiles in separate squares and in order to focus on them, the neighboring square is laid perpendicular to the previous one.
- wicker style - created by using tiles with different shades and patterns on the front side and, depending on the need to combine the tiles with each other, laying is done. This style does not provide for the formation of rows; the main guideline when decorating the floor in this style is the compatibility of adjacent tiles. When creating such a floor, a preliminary sketch is made and the texture and location of the tiles are selected according to its outlines.
- arched style - provides for the laying of porcelain stoneware in arcs from the center of the room or with the center in one of the corners.
This style will form the shape of the flower. which looks elegant in the interior of any room.
- combined style - is formed by the use of tiles of various configurations or sizes in rows with a combination of different designs of the front side of the tiles, this order allows you to form a certain ornament, which will definitely attract attention and emphasize "efficiency "interior.
- combination - a method of floor design, which involves the use of various methods or styles in the design of the floor in its parts or zones.
The use of various materials in the installation
Very interesting flooring design results when using various materials in the installation, the border of use of which will perform a kind of zoning of the room.
for example, with a large kitchen area, it is advisable to zone the working part and part of the dining room (for eating), this can be done using, for example, a parquet board and porcelain stoneware under a parquet board.
In the working area, you can work peacefully without fear of liquid spills, and in the dining area under your feet you will feel the natural surface of a tree.
- checkerboard - this uses tiles of the same type, but different shades. This way of decorating the floor can be formed both in two shades of porcelain stoneware tiles, and in a larger number of shades, from which the originality of the coating benefits.
If you use tiles with two different shades in a checkerboard pattern, but you can create an effect with images of geometric shapes on the front side 3D flooring and greater contrast in shades of porcelain stoneware tiles will only enhance the 3D effect.
I repeat, this is not the final list of methods, styles and designer tools, this section discusses the most important thing, the possibilities of forming a design solution using porcelain stoneware, and they are almost limitless.
Features of choosing porcelain stoneware for your renovation
The surface of the floor, decorated with porcelain stoneware, has advantages and disadvantages, like ceramic tiles. In this section, I will not describe the procedures for choosing porcelain stoneware, they are quite standard, but I want to draw your attention to what symbols on the packaging of porcelain stoneware on the floor will allow you to orient yourself correctly when buying:
At the end of the article, I would like to give you some practical advice. which will allow you to correctly choose and protect the surface of porcelain stoneware tiles.
Where to buy porcelain stoneware for an apartment and a house?
For your reference!
All batches of porcelain stoneware tiles are different in tile size and therefore when hiking you need to take a ruler with you to the store or ask the seller. This is due to the shrinkage of the clay during firing and the manufacturer cannot guarantee a 100% result in terms of the size of the finished tile, the manufacturer combines tiles of the same type in boxes.
Therefore, be sure to select boxes with tiles of the same size, otherwise the seams of your floor will not match and the picture on the floor will be unsightly.
When calculating porcelain stoneware, increase the calculated purchase volume of tiles by 1.3 - 1.7 times depending on the floor area to buy tiles the same batch and the same size. Then the tiles will be very difficult to pick up in shades and sizes.
When covering steps, use tiles with a special anti-slip coating (dusting) to avoid injury.
For hallways, walk-through corridors, verandas, porches, porcelain stoneware tiles covered with glaze are not suitable due to increased slipperiness when their surface is wet, and also the glaze is weakly resistant to mechanical stress and scratching.
Porcelain stoneware tiles used in the premises of entrance groups (entrance hall, veranda, porch, etc.) must be constantly cleaned and must be covered a special coating that would allow sand fractions from the shoes of visitors to the room to remain on the additional coating and not come into contact with the surface of porcelain stoneware. due to the fact that the hardness of grains of sand (quartz) is quite high and not all front surfaces of porcelain stoneware tiles can resist scratching by grains of sand.
To determine the quality of the tile and its counterfeitness, pay attention to its back side and find neat blind square holes, the side of which should be no more than 2 cm, height no more than 3 mm, if the pits are large with uneven edges, then there are violations in the production technology of this tile.
I hope it was useful to you. Thank you for reading the article to the end.