Ceramic is a mixture of clay, sand and other natural resources. The main ingredients in the ceramic mixture will be illitic white clay, kaolin white clay, calcite, dolomite, sodium feldspar, perlite, talc, quartz particles and sand granules. The determining factor in the composition of the mixture is where the clay and earthy mixture come from. Different locations will have different compositions.
There are a few main types of ceramic tiles. You will find floor tiles inside homes and businesses and exterior paving tiles around terraces and walkways. Ceramic tiles are often on countertops and ceilings and get use as facing tiles as well. These are on walls in the kitchen, bathroom and showers. Homeowners use exterior facing ceramic tiles around terraces and fountains.
Ceramic tile makers press it out and cut it to size. Then they place the material in a kiln and fire it at temperatures up to 2,820 F, glazing the ceramic tiles either before or after firing. The glazes used not only give the tiles a colored finish, they also act as a coating to help reduce the number of scratches, moisture, bacteria and odors that the tile may encounter.
Ceramic vs. Porcelain
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are both composed of a mixture of clay. Porcelain materials, however, are much harder, denser and fine-grained than the ceramic mixture. Ceramic is fired at a lower kiln temperature setting than porcelain. Ceramic is more porous, more likely to absorb moisture and easier to scratch than porcelain. Porcelain is usually more expensive.
There are two main alternatives to ceramic. Porcelain is very close to ceramic in looks and feel. Glass tiles are the other main alternative.