TYPES OF PORCELAIN

Porcelain tiles can come in many variety of finishes. Choosing the finishes will depend on the intended application as it will provide the function in addition to the look and the feel. We will look into major categories of finishes for porcelain tiles and their pros and cons.

 

UNPOLISHED (MATTE)

This finish is commonly used for full bodied and double/multiple loaded porcelain. Rarely used with soluble salts as the metal oxides are not very visible if not polished.
The production technique is very simple. After the pressing and drying, the tiles are fired and then packed.

Pros

  • Slip-resistant in dry and wet environments.
  • High resistance to scratches.
  • Inexpensive
  • Matte rough look.

Cons

  • Requires more maintenance since rougher.
  • Flat look, little depth.
  • Some ‘glazed versions’ can be shiny and glaze can wear off with high traffic.

 

FULL LAPPATO (POLISHED)

Glazed porcelain rarely offered in polished version since it will require a very thick layer of glaze. To obtain polished surface, the tiles go through a polishing (brushing the rough part of the tile off the surface) and rectifying (squaring/beveling the edges) process.

Pros

  • Very easy to maintain since dirt has nothing to grip on.
  • Rich and high-end appearance.
  • Generally stronger than marbles or granites which require constant sealing & maintenance.

Cons

  • Can be slippery in wet conditions.
  • Can be more expensive.
  • Shiny look might not be accepted.
  • Might have higher porosity.
  • Require sealing to avoid staining.

 

SEMI POLISHED

Also know as lappato finish, this version is mainly offered in glazed porcelain material. Since in most of the cases the layer of glaze is very thin, we cannot apply a full polishing process.
The light polishing is carried out the same way as polished version, but the brushing is very light or just on the peaks of the tile surface to create the shiny-rough look.

Pros

  • Exclusive look.
  • Not as slippery as the full polished when wet.
  • Affordable price.

Cons

  • “Heavy” and “busy” look, sometimes used as accent.

 

SATIN

The production process is like the polished one but skipping the last polishing pads, which means avoiding the shiny mirror effect. The result is smooth silky finish without the glossy look.

Pros

  • Smooth surface without the shiny look.
  • Velvety look.
  • More slip resistant than the polished.

Cons

  • Grinding marks might be visible (not using the last pads is like not finishing the polishing job properly).
  • High maintenance.