The Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile
Innovation is a term we hear often these days. Technological and non-technological innovations are interconnected and are even seen in the area of tile flooring. Tile has been produced for hundreds of years and was typically only seen on important buildings or the homes of the wealthy. However, today’s tile has been revolutionized by many innovations in the tile industry. Digital in-jet technology is used to achieve the beautiful designs and authentic stone appearance we have now.
We all know that the variation in color and pattern is almost limitless in naturally occurring stone. Mother Nature does an amazing job in this department. So with so many options available, how do you narrow down your options? Even if you’ve made the decision to go with tile, you still have a lot to consider. Before you land on a choice for design or appearance, you must first determine whether you prefer porcelain or ceramic tile.
So let’s start with the basics.
This category of ceramic tile was originally named for the color. It was used to describe a gleaming tile that resembled the white cowrie shell. The kaolin clay used was white or very light in color. Today, though, color is no longer the distinction between porcelain and ceramic tile. In fact, porcelain tile can be any color, and that color is present throughout the entire tile, whereas ceramic is only tinted or printed on the upper layer.
But that’s aesthetics. What about durability? When it comes to sheer strength, porcelain wins hands down. Which makes it a very desirable commodity among manufacturers—so desirable, in fact, that some manufacturers may use this term for marketing purposes. Meaning, they say it’s porcelain but it’s not the Real Deal™. If porcelain is your passion, you want to make sure the porcelain you go with is certified.
So what’s the difference between certified and not? Certified porcelain tile must meet certain requirements, such as those by the American Nation Standards Institute (ANSI). These standards grade porousness, which are used to determine the best application for the tile.
Remember what we said about imitators? If ever you’re in doubt, refer to The Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCE). This agency is the authority on what is or isn’t porcelain. Being durable and water resistant isn’t enough to make the cut. To be declared authentic porcelain, the tile is graded on a scale of 0-5 with 5 being the hardest, and must receive a grade of 4 or 5. This density rating is significant insomuch as it tells us that the tile will be more stain and water resistant and most suitable for radiant in-floor heating. The best uses for certified porcelain tile are high traffic areas and outdoors, due to its durability and strength.
That said, we advise against tackling a porcelain installation project yourself, as the titles can break easily. Porcelain’s innate density makes it harder to cut, and therefore harder to break.
In addition to the strength, porcelain tile offers the widest range of color and designs. These tiles mimic natural stone so well that you’ll find that your guests mistake it for the real thing after it has been installed. And even if you’re not big on the natural look, you have leather, fabric and even animal prints to choose from. You can totally custom design your floor in ways you never imagined.
Ceramic tile is incredibly versatile. While it is less refined, it’s also easier to cut for DIY projects in addition to being more affordable. Unlike porcelain, the color in a ceramic tile is only baked into the top layer rather than present throughout the entire tile. While ceramic is more susceptible to chipping and cracking, the material can be replaced without going to too much expense.
While both types of tiles can be glazed, glazing ceramic tile will add a protective layer, which makes it impervious to water and staining and therefore an affordable choice for kitchens and bathrooms. If you like the unglazed look, you will need to seal the floor in order to keep it looking its best. Even though ceramic tile cracks easier than porcelain, it is still extremely tough and a quality installation should last decades if well maintained. And even then, cracked tiles are relatively simple to replace.
Knowing cost, durability, as well as water, wear, stain resistance and other facts about your tile options helps make the decision making process easier. There are truly countless factors to consider, which is why we recommend you contact the experts at Stoneridge Flooring Design. We’re here to answer all your questions and help you choose the perfect tile, color, and pattern for your home—one that can be enjoyed for years to come.
How to Prevent Sun Damage (on your Floors and Furniture)
We all love the sun. We vacation in the sun. We have sunroofs in our car. We build houses with an abundant windows, even on our roof tops. Our bodies even need sun to produce vitamin D as do our brains to ward off seasonal affect disorder. As wonderful is the sun is, there is a downside for your home—specifically for your floors and furniture.
While antique rugs go through a natural fading process that can enhance their beauty, you likely don’t want your newly installed hardwood floors, or couch and loveseat to fade and look old before their time.
Now before you all go out and refinish your floors and cover your furniture with sunblock, there are ways to protect them if you are seeing the effects of the sun. When done correctly, these steps can work to protect your furniture, carpet, and rugs and prevent further damage.
- Close your drapes and blinds throughout the brightest part of the day. This is the easiest, most cost-efficient way to minimize damage. The largest aging offenders are UVA and UVB rays, which can be effectively blocked with thick blinds and curtains. While something is better than nothing, sheer curtains will not work as effectively.
Granted, your curtains may fade as well, but when it comes to deciding between replacing curtains or replacing the floor, one of these things is definitely easier and less expensive than the other.
- Invest in window film. That’s right, window film isn’t just for your cars! The same process can be applied to your home’s windows to reduce UV ray exposure to your floor and furniture. In addition, window film reduces glare and can even help save on energy costs. Solar window film can reduce 50-87% of the sun’s rays. The best news? With window film, you can still enjoy the perks of natural light!
- UV blocking windows. You might actually have these already, even if you’re not aware of it, as many replacement windows today have some degree of UV block. These windows come with virtually microscopic invisible metal coating and metallic oxide film. In the winter, this works to both allow light inside and keep heat trapped inside, which also helps reduce heating and cooling costs. The same is true in the summer when light comes in; outside heat is reflected and stays out, keeping your home cool. If your energy bills always seem reasonable, your windows may be the cause.
If you think there may be sun damage, move your furniture around and look at your flooring. If you see a noticeable difference, then chances are, you have some damage. If the color difference is minimal, you may be able to get away with rearranging your furniture and rugs. This will give those areas, and your furniture, exposure in the areas previously covered and will even out the fading or darkening. Keep this arrangement for about the same length of time is was in the previous location and check every 6 months. Thankfully, most sun damage is gradual and you can even out the effects so it won’t be noticeable. Most hardwood floors have finishes with UV inhibitors. These finishes won’t totally block the UV rays, but they will reduce them and minimize effects such as lightening or darkening of the wood. How your hardwood reacts depends on the type of hardwood you have installed. All woods are photo-reactive, so no wood is safe from the effects of sunlight.
If you determine the sun damage will not be easily remedied, then it’s best to have them refinished or in the case of furniture, recover or replace them.
If you have questions on how to protect your floors from the damaging effects of UV rays or need to replace flooring due to sun damage, contact the experts at Stoneridge Flooring Design, and enjoy your flooring for years to come.
Mohawk Names Stoneridge Flooring Design Floorscapes Regional Retailer of the Year
Melissa Stocks 678-499-8881
MOHAWK NAMES STONERIDGE FLOORING DESIGN
FLOORSCAPES REGIONAL RETAILER OF THE YEAR
CALHOUN, Ga. March 27, 2017—Stoneridge Flooring Design in Nixa, Mo. has won Mohawk’s 2016 Floorscapes Regional Retailer of the Year Award, which recognizes the top-performing retailers in the company’s Floorscapes Aligned Retailer program.
Mike Vaughn and Dave Beebe, owners of Stoneridge Flooring Design, were recognized at Mohawk’s 2017 Solutions Convention in Dallas, Tx.
“Stoneridge Flooring Design was founded in 2008, and in just a short time, Mike and Dave have built a best-in-class retail flooring business,” said Karen Mendelsohn, senior vice president of marketing at Mohawk. “Stoneridge Flooring Design is committed to offering quality flooring with superior customer service. It is the diligent mission of this company to recognize, define and fulfill the needs of its customers and to combine those needs with the vision to create a floor covering experience that goes beyond the scope of customer experience.”
At the end of the day, people buy from people, regardless of how they research, Mendelsohn said. “Stoneridge Flooring Design ‘gets it’—from the way it invests in staff, to how it lays out its showroom to its commitment to an enhanced digital presence. While in a small community where ‘word of mouth’ is critical, Stoneridge Flooring Design also understands that in today’s world, word of mouth also happens online.”
Stoneridge Flooring Design is expanding its online reach and relevance through aligned program tools such as web services, Facebook and Yelp to attract younger consumers in the market for their first significant flooring purchase.
Stoneridge Flooring Design showrooms are designed to display the industry’s leading products first, products like SmartStrand® Silk and now Smartstrand® Silk Reserve and SolidTech®. “Mike and Dave along with Eric Metz, the general manager, utilize our merchandising extensively and always lead with Mohawk’s differentiated features and benefits,” said Mendelsohn. “They recognize the value of Mohawk as their partner and leverage that relationship against their competition to close sales.”
Mohawk uses various criteria to identify its Regional Retailers of the Year. Primarily, the company looks for retail stores that are true ambassadors of the Floorscapes program and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to training, store standards, brand building, merchandising, installation ideas and community involvement.
Stoneridge Flooring Design is a proud member of the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield. The HBA is a professional trade association whose members are committed to ethical business practices, the highest construction standards, the education of our members and the community, and serve as the political voice of the industry.
“We are honored to recognize Stoneridge Flooring Design as a 2016 Floorscapes Regional Retailer of the Year. Stoneridge Floor Design’s commitment to the Floorscapes program and to its local community is inspiring and worthy of recognition,” Mendelsohn said.
Mohawk Industries is a leading global flooring manufacturer that creates products to enhance residential and commercial spaces around the world. Mohawk’s vertically integrated manufacturing and distribution processes provide competitive advantages in the production of carpet, rugs, ceramic tile, laminate, hardwood, stone and vinyl flooring. Our industry-leading innovation has yielded products and technologies that differentiate our brands in the marketplace and satisfy all remodeling and new construction requirements. Our brands are among the most recognized in the industry and include Mohawk, American Olean, Daltile, Durkan, Karastan, Marazzi, Pergo, Unilin and Quick-Step. During the past decade, Mohawk has transformed its business from an American carpet manufacturer into the world’s largest flooring company with operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia and the United States.
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Choosing the Right Tile Pattern
If you think about it, you might notice that your floor is the most-used product in your home. With this in mind, you see how important it is to take the appropriate amount of time when deciding how to floor a new home or how to re-floor an existing one. Whether you choose to go with wood, tile, stone, or linoleum, you’ll want to mull over the amount of options you have at your disposal.
Let’s look at tile. There are a variety of different tile layouts available, so taking the time to see which layout reflects both you and your home’s personality will be extremely beneficial down the road. Here are some examples of different patterns of tile available.
The first type of layout is probably the most recognizable to the average homeowner—the grid. Although the size of each square doesn’t particularly matter, a grid design is distinguished by the even spacing between each square of tile. The grid layout is very popular for homeowners who want a very cost-effective approach to tile. It’s extremely easy to measure and extra waste is almost never a concern. Traditionally, grid tile isn’t designed to stand-out, but by using different, contrasting colors, a homeowner can very easily make this layout of tile the centerpiece to any room.
A slight variation of the grid layout is the offset layout. While the offset layout is also not as difficult to lay as other layouts (we’ll get there in a minute), the offsetting of tile squares or rectangles can easily increase the “wow” factor of your room. Offset layout is achieved by centering a piece of tile above and below the connecting “line” of two adjacent tiles. The effects, as you can see, can be staggering and breath-taking.
Our next layout, the harlequin, is a fun twist on the simple grid pattern. Just take the grid, then turn the whole pattern 45˚ diagonally to the wall. The harlequin layout is an excellent way to accentuate the beauty of your home, all the way from the ceilings to the floor. In a way, the harlequin layout could be translated to art. This pattern even creates an illusion that the room is bigger than it actually is. Consider using this layout in a main foyer or kitchen/dining room.
The herringbone layout is slowly gaining traction in homes nowadays, and you can probably see why. This beautiful pattern is constructed by lining up adjacent tiles 45˚ to a wall, similar to how the harlequin is set. This pattern, if chosen, can almost add a whole new dimension to a room—a 3-D effect, if you will.
All of these patterns can add a personal touch to your floor and personality to your home. Other patterns are available, including chevron, basket weave, and many more! If these pictures have inspired you, navigate over to our online catalog to get the creative juices flowing! If you’re thinking about tiling (or re-tiling) a floor in your home, we’d love to hear about your ideas. Contact us today and set up a consultation visit.
2017 Flooring Trends
When it comes to home design, each choice seems crucial – each a factor in setting the tone for your home. If you’re purchasing a new home or planning to renovate – start with the floor up (get it?) – and consider some upcoming flooring trends for 2017.
We know you like to pave your own path – and have a look that’s all your own. Getting an idea of upcoming styles can give you an excellent starting point for a direction you may like to take.
Carpet: It makes a room cozy and inviting. It comes in many different styles and textures - with additional features as well (such as being stain-resistant, water-repellent, antimicrobial, and more). Carpet also helps with insulation and noise absorption. For 2017, look for carpet with plenty of visible and tangible texture (largely cut and loop style). Select a luxurious look and feel - with the added functionality of easy maintenance. Don’t forget to select the texture best suited to each room of use. View our guide here.
Hardwood: When it comes to rich color and character, no other flooring compares to hardwood. It’s also difficult for any other flooring type to match hardwood’s life expectancy. In 2017, the expected trend in hardwood leans toward gray or white-washed woods, wide planks, and/or warm colors. If your goal is to make a cozy room look more spacious – definitely go with the lighter options and wide planks – while the opposite direction will create a warmer, more traditional setting in a larger space. More and more discerning buyers are also seeking out hardwood made in the U.S. and are opting for a more natural wood look.
Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tile used to be a fairly limited option, but that’s no longer the case. Stoneridge provides tile in all colors, shapes, sizes and textures, including glazed ceramic, porcelain, glass, quarry, and natural stone. Imported tile is also available. What’s new for tile? 2017 trends toward larger (up to around four feet by four feet), thin tiles that mimic the look of hardwood, brick, fabric, or even marble, with unique styles like metallic emerging.
Laminate: It’s highly durable, low-maintenance, and beautifully imitates the look of wood and stone. Even better? Laminate typically costs less than other flooring options and lasts longer. If you’re considering laminate, look for highly authentic replications of hardwood that have that lavish feel.
Need even more inspiration? View our room-by-room image gallery.