Porcelain Tiles: All your Questions Answered

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Why porcelain tile flooring?

Porcelain tiles are usually thicker than their ceramic counterparts, making them strong and durable, perfect for withstanding the increased amount of wear that floor tiles receive. Porcelain tiles are also resistant to moisture,  staining and scratching making them an excellent flooring option for any area of the home. 

Where is porcelain tile made?

Porcelain tiles are now made in all parts of the world with Italian, Spanish and Australian made tiles leading the way. 

Where to buy porcelain tile?

Our Richmond Tile Showroom houses an impressive and ever-growing display of high quality porcelain tiles to suit every style and budget, from ornately decorative pieces to concrete, marble, terrazzo and even timber-look options to choose from. Whether you’re shopping in-store or in our online tile shop, our Design Team will be able to assist and guide you through the process of creating the perfect colour palette. 

Which porcelain tile is best?

Italian made porcelain tiles are world renowned for their quality workmanship and offer a strong and durable product.

What is porcelain tile adhesive?

Tile adhesive is usually made of a cement based mixture and is used to attach your tiles to the wall or floor prior to grouting. There are many different types of tile adhesives available, each with specific instructions and intended applications or suitability to specific types of tiles. 

What porcelain tile adhesive is best to use?

There are many different porcelain tile adhesives available, each with its own specific methods of use as well as intended applications. We use and recommend Mapei Australia Adhesives. Their friendly representatives are only a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

Which is the best porcelain tile cleaner?

A simple regular mop or wipe down of your porcelain tiles using water and a mild soap will ensure any surface dust, dirt or moisture is kept at bay. Perini Tiles recommends the use of Lithofin KF Active-Clean which can be used on a regular basis on porcelain products to ensure their cleanliness and longevity, removing any built-up calcium, dirt deposits, soap scum or greasy residue on your tiles or grout. For an occasional deep clean of your porcelain tiles, we recommend Lithofin KF Intensive Cleaner; this product can be diluted in a 1:10 solution of cold or lukewarm water that is then scrubbed or brushed across your tiles, allowing it to sit for 10 -20 minutes (we recommend an occasional brush during this time so the product does not dry up) before cleaning off with a damp cloth, mop or wet and dry vacuum cleaner followed by a thorough rinse. This process is especially recommended for high traffic areas such as entry ways for example, where built up dirt and grime tends to gather. For more information on how to best clean and maintain your tiles, read our cleaning guide here. 

Can porcelain tile be used outside?

Yes! Many porcelain tile collections include options that are perfectly suited to the outdoors, including pool surround solutions, allowing you the freedom of choice when it comes to selecting the perfect outdoor colour scheme. 

Can porcelain tile be sealed?

Most porcelain tiles will not require sealing at all offering a low maintenance option for your design.

Do porcelain tiles chip?

Porcelain tiles will generally not chip as they are very strong and durable however if your tiles experience unexpected force they may chip. Be aware of metal underneath stools, work boots that may have small stones attached underneath and even some stiletto shoes that have metal bottoms.

Can porcelain tile be polished (Cleaning)?

No porcelain tiles cannot be polished.  If you have polished porcelain tiles with a glossy surface they can be rejuvenated with a simple clean. Using a mild soap diluted in water, mop or wipe down your tiles as usual, cleaning any residue, dirt or dust from the surface.

Can porcelain tile be polished (Buffed)?

No, unfortunately it is not possible for porcelain tiles to be polished or buffed.

Can porcelain tile be polished (Edges)?

No, unfortunately it is not possible for porcelain tile edges to be polished or buffed.

Can porcelain tile get wet?

Yes, porcelain tiles offer the perfect solution for wet areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. If using porcelain tiles in wet areas or even outdoors please ensure you select tiles that have the correct anti-slip or external surface finish.

Can porcelain tile be scratched?

Porcelain tiles should not scratch with proper use and wear however, the surface can be marked with excessive force.

Can porcelain tile be stained?

Porcelain tiles are stain resistant, providing a durable and easy to maintain surface finish for every area of the home. Acidic substances (vinegar, lemon juice, etc.) as well as soap suds in the bathroom for example, should not be left to sit on the surface of your porcelain products however as they can sometimes cause discolouration or damage to the product’s finish.

Are porcelain tile slippery?

Porcelain tiles are available in many different finishes, from high gloss selections to textured and semi-gloss options. Each collection of tiles undergoes vigorous testing prior to its release where the product is assigned a Slip Rating, detailing just how much of a grip the surface of your selected tile has. Your Design Consultant will discuss your options with you, offering the best options where Slip Resistance is crucial to your needs. In general, any floor finish, including porcelain floor tiles, can become slippery when moisture is a factor. We do always advise that a mat be placed in high-moisture areas such as in the bathroom as you would exist the shower or bathtub, as well as in front of any doorways that allow entrance from the outdoors. 

Are porcelain tile porous?

Although not completely non-porous, porcelain tiles are incredibly dense. It recommended however, that any spills (especially acidic products, calcium build-up in showers and soap scum) be cleaned off the surface as soon as possible to avoid any potential discolouration of the tiles’ surface finish. 

Are porcelain tile waterproof?

Porcelain tiles are waterproof and will not absorb liquids.

Is porcelain tile durable?

Porcelain tiles are extremely durable for both floors and walls. Not only do they offer immense flexibility in your choice of colours and finishes, but their durability means that they are an extremely low maintenance option that will normally only require a simple rinse and wipe down to keep tidy. 

Is porcelain tile heat resistant?

Yes, porcelain tiles are extremely heat resistant, providing the perfect solution where high temperatures are of concern. For example, kitchen splashback tiles that sit within 200mm of a gas cooktop burner must be made of a non-combustible material in accordance with Australian Standards. Porcelain provides a non-combustible material that is perfectly suited for this application, with the added benefit of allowing for many different styles and patterns to be achieved to create the perfect complement to your kitchen design. 

What is porcelain tile PEI rating?

PEI stands for Porcelain Enamel Institute. A PEI rating is assigned to tiles with consideration to the product’s glaze hardness using a standardised test with the outcome offering a clear understanding of the tile’s most suitable intended use (i.e. suited for floor or wall application, outdoor or strictly indoor use).

Will porcelain tile scratch?

With normal use, porcelain tiles should not scratch as they are incredibly dense and durable. Scratches can occur however with misuse of the product.

Will porcelain tile stain?

Porcelain tiles are inherently stain resistant, making them an excellent choice for bathrooms, kitchens and other high traffic areas where care and maintenance is a factor of concern. Acidic substances should not be allowed to sit for too long on the surface of the tiles however, as this can cause some discolouration or corrosion in the glaze to occur. Make sure to thoroughly wipe away any liquids or residue from the surface of your tiles to ensure their longevity and aesthetic appeal. 

Will porcelain tile crack in heat?

Porcelain tiles are temperature resistant making them an ideal choice for applications where heat is a factor.

Will porcelain tile crack in cold?

Cold temperatures will not cause porcelain tiles to crack as they are resistant to temperature fluctuations. Adhesives used need to comply with climatic conditions.

Will porcelain tile crack?

With proper use and installation, porcelain tiles will not crack. When substrate is properly prepared and correct adhesives are used the tile should not crack.  If there is any movement in the substrate tiles may crack.

Will porcelain tile crack outside?

Porcelain tiles should not crack when used outdoors provided that they have been installed correctly with proper preparation of the surface prior to laying. 

Will porcelain tile fade in the sun?

Porcelain tiles are generally resistant to fading however brightly coloured glazed tiles may fade if in direct sunlight over time.

will vinegar damage porcelain tile?

Vinegar is included in many homemade cleaning solutions so it is important to use this powerful cleaning solution correctly to ensure no damage is caused to your porcelain tiles. Being an acidic substance, vinegar must always be heavily diluted with water if used to clean your porcelain tiled surfaces and should not sit on the surface for longer than a few minutes as this can potentially lead to some discoloration or corrosion to occur on your tiles and grout. If using vinegar as part of your cleaning routine, ensure there is no residue left behind by wiping with a damp cloth or mop after use. 

How is porcelain tile made?

Porcelain tiles are made using a combination of dense natural clay, sand and water. The tiles are baked in a kiln at extreme temperatures in order to remove any excess moisture, making them incredibly water resistant, dense and durable. One of the key differences between a ceramic and porcelain tile is that ceramic tiles are baked at a lower temperature and for a shorter period of time, leading to a softer, more porous product that is often better suited for vertical applications.

Can porcelain tile be used outside?

There are many collections of outdoor porcelain tiles available that are suitable for outdoor spaces, including alfresco areas, outdoor kitchens and even pool surrounds. 

Can porcelain tile be used in a shower?

Porcelain tiles provide an excellent choice for the shower as they are extremely hard wearing and simple to maintain. It is recommended that any residual soap scup be rinsed away after using the shower to ensure ease of cleaning.

Can porcelain tile be used for kitchen countertops?

Yes, porcelain tiles can be used for kitchen countertops. Aside from traditional porcelain tiles, there are also many porcelain benchtop options available.

Can porcelain tile be used for showers?

An excellent option for the shower, porcelain tiles can be used on the floors and the walls of your shower enclosure, providing a highly water resistant surface finish that is simple to clean and maintain. It is important to rinse off the surface of your porcelain tiles in the shower to prevent the build-up of calcium deposits, grime and soap scum.

Verona collectionAn Italian made porcelain tile, our Verona collection displays replicates the natural essence of limestone, offering a soft, classic style. The floor tiles have been carried through into the shower enclosure for a seamless floor finish.

Porcelain tile for bathroom

Using porcelain tiles in the bathroom ensures several key benefits as these products are incredibly water resistant, maintaining a near non-porous finish in the high moisture environment of the bathroom. This also ensures their ease of maintenance over time as they do not require sealing and simply require a quick wipe down to keep them clean. Porcelain tiles will not absorb liquids, meaning that they are highly resistant to stains, once again making them ideal for the bathroom. 

Colori collectionThe Colori collection is made of quality Italian porcelain and uses a stunning array of bold colours and geometric patterns to achieve a perfect representation of encaustic look tiles without the need for sealing and extra care.

Porcelain tile for kitchen 

Providing an almost completely non-porous surface finish, porcelain kitchen tiles will not absorb liquids, making them incredibly resistant to stains. Porcelain tiles are also known for their exceptional temperature resistant qualities, making them a perfect choice as a kitchen splashback and even as a kitchen benchtop option. Porcelain tiles will not crack or discolour with excessive temperature fluctuations or when installed in direct sunlight, offering greater flexibility in your design choices for your new kitchen design. 

AArcade porcelain collectionOur Arcade collection creates an especially dynamic design choice, perfect for use as statement kitchen splashback. Available in in array of patterns, the Arcade collection is suitable for floor and wall use. 

Porcelain tile for outdoors 

Many porcelain tile collections include an outdoor option, enabling the creation of seamless adjoining spaces that emphasise both indoor and outdoor living for the ultimate in luxury. Outdoor porcelain tiles usually feature a slightly textured surface with a matte or near-matte finish in order to increase the surface’s grip in an outdoor environment, making it the perfect option for alfresco dining areas, outdoor kitchens, patios and even as a pool surround. Please ensure you check the slip rating of tile to ensure suitability for outdoors.

Porcelain tile for kitchen floor 

A tiled kitchen floor provides a highly durable and almost non-porous surface that ensures the space is easy to clean and maintain. Porcelain floor tiles are especially preferable in the kitchen as they are stain, water and even fire resistant making them an excellent choice in the home. The kitchen is much easier to mop clean with the use of floor tiles and a warm, soft floor mat can be used in front of the sink or stove top for example to provide a comfortable surface underfoot where users are standing for longer periods of time. 

Porcelain tile versus ceramic

Although very similar, there are several key differences between porcelain and ceramic tiles. Being a much denser option, porcelain tiles normally have a slightly higher price point than ceramic tiles while they also provide the additional benefit of serving multiple purposes, from their use as both a floor and wall tile, as well as outdoor applications in some cases. Ceramic tiles on the other hand, are softer but still suited to wall applications and some are also suited for domestic low traffic floors. As such, you will find many more decorative solutions available in ceramic tile collections, including ornately etched tiles, rustic handmade varieties as well as 3D effect tiles. Given their additional weight and thickness, porcelain tiles will also attract a higher cost to lay, sometimes requiring a more labour intensive procedure. These same qualities however, ensure the product’s renowned strength, durability and longevity in any project. You’ll find more details of the differences between these two tiling options in our blog post: Porcelain Tile versus Ceramic Tile.

Porcelain tile and ceramic tile difference

Porcelain and ceramic tiles each offer their range of unique benefits to any project with certain distinct differences that are important to keep in mind when making your design selections. Ceramic tiles for example, are much softer than porcelain products, making them better suited to vertical applications. As a result, you will find many more decorative options available in ceramic tile collections, with highly stylised and patterned pieces to roughly textured, handmade tiles and even 3-Dimensional tactile surface options. Porcelain tiles on the other hand, are a much denser and thicker product, making them perfectly suited to higher wear applications such as indoor and outdoor flooring. 

Porcelain tile kitchen splashback

Porcelain products have long been favoured in the kitchen, both as a durable and hard wearing flooring solution as well as a kitchen splashback. Being a non-combustible material, porcelain tiles meet Australian Standards in terms of installation beside a gas cooktop where the nearest gas burner sits at or below 200mm away from the nearest vertical surface. Being fire, moisture, stain and scratch resistant, porcelain tiles create the ultimate kitchen splashback choice in the home kitchen.