Tile surface and finish

Specifying the appropriate tile for both residential and commercial developments is often a balance between form and function. Aesthetics are essential, but equally important are slip resistance, maintenance requirements and durability.

Porcelain tiles are available in five surface finishes, with each surface possessing its own particular aesthetic and practical qualities. During manufacturing, the tile surface is subjected to a number of finishing processes, and it is where the finishing process ends that determines the surface. Below you will find an explanation of the surface finishes that are offered within our porcelain tile collection.

Polished Surface

During the finishing process each porcelain slab passes through a series of graded polishing wheels. These pads first grind and then buff the surface of the tile which gradually acquires a glossy, highly reflective appearance.

Because the design of a porcelain tile is created within its structure (rather than applied on top), this polishing process enhances the characteristics of that design the more it is polished. A marble design for example, will appear stronger and more obvious with the darker and lighter tones becoming bolder in appearance than they would be on the surface of a Natural version of the same tile. You can view our collection of polished tiles here.

Stone and concrete effect tiles are also available with a Polished finish. Here the stone or concrete effect surface is buffed to a high gloss, which brings added colour and vibrancy to the tile and a high degree of reflection.

As the finish is part of the structure of the tile, rather than merely a coating, this surface is permanent. Therefore it will not fade or show signs of wear making it suitable for high-traffic areas such as office corridors and hotel lobbies. Polished tiles are also easier to keep clean and enjoy the same level of scratch, etch and stain resistance as all other porcelain surface finishes. Polished porcelain tiles do not require sealing or periodic re-sealing. Please note that due to their higher slip potential when wet, polished tiles are generally reserved for indoor areas, wall and surface coverings.

Honed Surface

During the finishing process for Honed tiles, the manufacturers will stop polishing before the surface becomes shiny. This leaves a flat, satin-like feel that is smooth and velvety to the touch. Within our stone collection a Honed tile will appear smother than stone with a slight reflection.

The colour of a honed tile may appear slightly richer than the same tile in a Natural surface. Unlike quarried stone, the surface of a honed porcelain tile remains non-porous and therefore will not be damaged by water. This means that maintenance is low, sealants are unnecessary, and chip and scratch resistance remains high. You can view our collection of honed surfaced porcelain tiles here.

Natural Surface

The surface of a Natural finished tile typically replicates the finish of the material on which it is based. For a stone and concrete effect tile, the surface will be very similar to the look and feel of the natural material, with its own unique markings, patterns and textures.

Within our marble collection, the difference with Natural is that the polished, high-reflected surface, typical of polished marble, is not present, leaving a less-reflective, softer finish.

Our Natural finish wood-effect tiles display the authentic graining and knotting of real wood planks. The texture can be felt under light touch, and follows the grain design perfectly.

A Natural finish tile does not feature a single pattern or texture across all tiles, but one that follows the type of design and tile-effect that has been specified. Like all porcelain tiles our Natural tiles do not require sealing. You can view our natural surfaced tiles here.

Grip Surface

For use in wet areas such bathrooms, pool surrounds and shower areas, Grip finish tiles offer a highly slip-resistant surface. Featuring a superfine ‘sandpaper-like’ texture they have been designed specifically for wet surface conditions where an anti-slip resistance is required. Please note that while it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of slipping, our Grip surface tiles are particularly suitable for public use facilities, and far exceed the benchmarks for friction in flooring applications. Please note that all our 20 mm thickness tiles are available in Grip finish. You can view our collection of grip surfaced tiles here.

Many of our tile designs are available in both Natural and Grip finishes. This makes them ideal for projects that span both internal and external spaces. Please note that if you are using two different finishes within one project, the appearance of these tiles may differ even though both have the same design.

Structured Surface

Structured finish means that the face of the tile is changed during the forming process from a flat to a textured surface. This texture can take many forms, ranging from a rough random texture to protruding geometric shapes. These structured tiles provide a degree of slip resistance, especially in the dry, although they do not have the anti-slip properties of Grip.

The Structure finish of some of our ranges takes on a unique quality and can be used creatively to add interest through texture to a monochrome colour palette. You can view our structured finish tiles here.

Rectified Tiles

All our porcelain tiles exceed industry standard tests and are precisely rectified. Rectified means that each tile is identical in size. A normal (non-rectified) ceramic tile is formed and baked. This baking process causes the tile to shrink (with each tile shrinking at a differing amount), leading to tiles that are not identically sized.

Porcelain tiles are baked, and only then are they cut to size. All the shrinking will take place during the baking process so after they are cut, they remain that size. This makes it much easier, quicker and cleaner to work with and allows for designs requiring extremely thin grout lines.

Further Information

Our professional consultants and in-house architects think and speak the language of design. If you require any further information regarding the surfaces we offer please do not hesitate to contact our specification team on 020 8731 6787 or email on enquiry@porcelaintiles.co.uk.

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