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Aug 17, 2018

Union Tiles: All You Need To Know About Porcelain

Porcelain… Sounds simple enough, but is it? Everyone will tell you that as long as the water absorption is 0.5% or less you have porcelain! Yes, you have porcelain but, what type of porcelain do you have?  There are different types… so we asked our friends from Union Tiles to give us the low down on porcelain.

Let us start with ‘Full Body’ porcelain…

Made with a limited number of selected materials, blended, pressed and fired at higher temperatures than you would fire ceramics, veins and grains go all the way through the tile, so aesthetically what you see on top will be through the tile.

The advantage of this – amazing technical performance. You can use this tile in shopping centres or even railway stations etc. There is no glaze on these tiles. (You can check to see if a tile is ‘Full Body’ by looking at the edge of the tile – does the colour run all the way through or is it just on the top. In recent years, ink jet technology has resulted in far more decorative full body porcelain tiles being made available to the industry.

Another incredible factor is that you will not experience fading of the colour due to outside weather conditions. Even the designs, being all the way through the tile, would not be affected by fading as a result of the weather.

Because porcelain tiles have a lower water absorption they are in most cases frost resistant. Lower absorption also means increased density. The increased density makes it more durable and better suited for usage in heavy duty areas.


When you require a tough, hard and durable application, ‘Full Body’ porcelain is a great option but this also comes in various textured surfaces, including:

  • STRUCTURED: Typically a rough surface finish so ideal for application around a swimming pool, ponds, old age homes, especially ramps and verandahs. (The technical specification of the product will advise you whether the surface is an R10 or R11 or R13.  The R13 you can virtually exfoliate your feet on.)
  • POLISHED: Polished porcelain creates a ‘wow’ factor. The high polish helps to reflect light and from a design perspective, can be incorporated between the matt texture porcelain as borders or feature areas. The polished texture can, however, scratch as all highly polished textures tend to do.
  • MATTE: The most popular of all textures, matte porcelain is often used throughout hospitals, schools, banks, municipalities, shopping centres and virtually all your public domain areas. The tile is easy to clean and if a small chip should occur it is hardly visible as the colour of the tile extends throughout.

Modern bathroom with wooden floor in stylish apartment

The reality remains, however, that no matter how durable or technically advanced the product is, bad labour can still destroy good tiles.

Cutting porcelain tiles is a challenge and these are much denser and harder than a ceramic tile. The correct blades must be used and definitely a quick set adhesive.

The colours, textures and shades available in this wonderful product are extensive. Recently there has been a big shift to the larger format on the porcelain product and Union Tiles are so very proud to have imported the latest in Italian technology regarding this. They have sizes ranging from 30×30 – 1,6 x 80cm – 1.2m x 60cm and then……………..the latest, most beautiful porcelain in sizes of up to 3,2m. Yes, you had better believe it.

Minimalist dining room with black floor, white wall and windows

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