Every Type of Tile Surface, Explained!
You might have known that tiles come in all sorts of sizes and colours, but do you know how many surfaces they come in?
While most ceramic and porcelain tiles are fired from clay, differences in the manufacturing process can yield different results, leading to different finishes and surfaces.
You might be surprised to find out that there are at least 7 types of distinctively different tile surfaces out in the market today. Whether you’re actively shopping for suitable tiles or just looking to expand your knowledge, here is an explanation of each type of tiles:
Also check out our predictions for 2022’s trends.
When asked to imagine a typical tile, most would imagine a polished tile, which is uniformly flat with a slightly reflective surface. At the end of the manufacturing process, the fired tiles are run under a polishing wheel to give them their distinctive look. Polished tiles are among the most commonly used tiles in both residential and commercial areas due to their ubiquity, and they have been a constant favourite among consumers.
While very similar to polished surface tiles, glossy surface tiles get their reflective surface from a glazed finishing instead. While visually similar, glossy tiles tend to have an even smoother surface due to the distribution of the glazing material, although the difference to the end user is typically minimal. That said, glossy surface tiles tend to be more resistant to staining and are easier to clean, as any spills are prevented from seeping into the tile’s pores by the glaze layer.
When manufactured tiles skip the polishing or glazing processes, their surfaces tend to be less reflective and have a slight texture, hence they are called matt surface tiles. The added friction on matt surfaces tiles is helpful for spaces prone to moisture or spills, such as outdoor areas, the kitchen, or the bathroom. For areas that receive plenty of light, the less reflective surface of matt surface tiles also helps to prevent painful glares.
Also check out our article on How to Care for Your Matt Surface Tiles.
Lappato surface tiles are simply the middle point between polished surface tiles and matt surface tiles – by toning down the overall polishing, lappato surface tiles can exhibit a matt surface that has some texture while also being slightly reflective. Lappato surface tiles are also sometimes known as semi-matt tiles, and on the whole, they tend to be less glossy or slippery when wet when compared with polished surface and glossy surface tiles.
What if you want the smooth surface of glossy tiles but don’t want the reflection? Enter matt-satin surface tiles (sometimes just called satin surface tiles), which boast a surface that is smoother than matt surface but not as reflective as polished surface or glossy surface tiles, which is great for kitchens as their smooth surface makes them easy to clean, while the less reflective finish helps to prevent distracting glares from reflections. Depending on the degree of polish, certain matt-satin surface tiles can also overlap with honed surface tiles, but for consumers, the benefits would typically be the same.
While matt surface tiles derive their surface texture naturally during the firing process, structured surface tiles get a texture or pattern imprinted onto the surface of the clay before they are fired, leading to a very pleasing surface texture on the finished tile. This texture also imparts greater friction, leading to added safety in wet and slippery conditions.
Interested to know more? Here are 7 Reasons to Love Structured Surface Tiles.
Using a revolutionary new technology, Niro Granite has been able to produce Slip-Stop surface tiles that are smooth when dry, yet increase in friction in wet conditions. Slip-Stop tiles tend to be perfect for spaces where you would need the added safety without the constant friction, such as pool and kitchen areas. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor application, you can consider Slip-Stop surface tiles as your anti-slip tile of choice.