Porcelain, ceramic, slate and travertine are all different types of floor and wall coverings used in the tile and natural stone industry. Products such as travertine and slate have been in use for thousands of years, while man-made products such porcelain and ceramic tiles are more modern. Each type of tile can be used in both indoor and outdoor installations, depending on personal preference and budget.
A type of ceramic, porcelain is a hard, brittle material made by combining clay and kaolinite, a mineral used in industrial capacities because of its durability. Porcelain is one of the primary industrial types of man-made tiles in use, because it is harder than traditional ceramic.
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Ceramic tile can be used in commercial or residential applications, ranging from floors to walls, backsplashes, countertops, and outdoor patios. The most basic type of ceramic tile is unglazed and is nothing more than clay fired in a kiln. Glazed ceramics and reinforced ceramics can combine clay with a variety of particulates to create varying degrees of hardness and facades.
A sedimentary stone that is completely natural in its formation, slate is a common material used in installations for a rustic, outdoor look. Multilayered and containing a blend of earthy colors that vary depending on where the stone was quarried, slate can be used in fireplaces, entryways, floors, outdoor patios, bathrooms, and virtually anywhere in the home or office. Slate is a varied material with impurities that only add to its natural beauty.
A type of limestone formed in mineral springs, travertine is one of the oldest types of natural stone used in construction around the world. Travertine can be hewn into squares and sold tumbled, honed, or polished, depending on how natural, rugged, clean, or smooth your personal preference dictates. Extremely durable, travertine is one of the most expensive natural stones sold today.