Porcelain tiles are being produced in more colors, sizes and finishes than ever before. With textures such as leather and sizes up to 24 inches, you may wonder if porcelain tiles are right for your home. Porcelain is a durable product with a lot of style and a few installation quirks. Understanding these things can help you make the right decision.
One of the benefits to installing porcelain tiles in your home is the low maintenance. Porcelain tiles can be washed with anything, rarely scratch or chip and are dense and durable. Though polished porcelain tiles need to be sealed before they are grouted, this is only to act as a grout release; no further sealing is required of these nonporous tiles.
Though the density of porcelain tiles makes them durable, it also makes them more difficult to cut and drill through. Tile nippers, score and snap tools and regular drills are no match for a porcelain tile. Heavy duty nippers, diamond blade wet saws and diamond- or carbide-tipped drill bits are all required for cutting or drilling through a porcelain tile. This can make their installation more time-consuming for some do-it-yourself homeowners.
Another benefit of porcelain tile is the ability to butt some types of porcelain up against one another with a narrow grout joint. This is because of the manufacturing process of porcelain, which uses compressed clay dust fired to high temperatures. This produces evenly sized tiles that require a smaller grout joint. But this can also lead to some installation problems, because the tiles do need to be beaten into the mortar bed to ensure they lie perfectly flat with no lipping of corners.