Ceramics are an ancient craft that date back some 4,000 years, originating in Ancient Egypt around 4,700 BCE. The origin of the word “ceramic” comes from the Greek word “keramos,” or pottery. The word “tile” originates from the Latin “tegula” and its French derivative, “tuile.” The art of tiling spread west from the Middle East, becoming popular in Europe during the 11th century, when mosaic floorings and panels became prevalent.
Tiles are made from clay, which once shaped and dried, are fired in a kiln at very hot temperatures. This process hardens the tiles, creating “bisque,” which can then be glazed and fired a second time. Tiles can also be used unglazed, although the color range is limited to the natural shades of the clay. Ceramic tiles have been a popular material for interior and exterior decoration for thousands of years. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and glazes and can be used plain, decorated or as part of a mosaic.
Ceramic tiles are a popular choice of flooring due to their aesthetic appeal, as well as their durability and easy care. A properly installed ceramic tile floor will outperform and outlast nearly any other floor covering product created for the same application. Glazed ceramic tile resists stains, odors and dirt and can be cleaned with a damp mop or common household cleaners. Grade III and Grade IV glazed ceramic tiles are extremely scratch resistant. You never have to worry about a cut or tear like you do with other floor coverings.
Modern technologies have added to the range of shades, finishes and shapes available. In addition, there has been a resurgence of more traditional looks with terracotta and other natural unglazed finishes. Additional benefits of ceramic tile include:
- Cleanliness: Environmentally friendly, ceramic tile is manufactured using natural materials and does not retain odors, allergens or bacteria.
- Versatility: Modern ceramic manufacturing technology has created a virtually limitless number of colors, sizes, styles, shapes and textures that can add rich beauty and character to any room in your home.
- Fire Resistance: Ceramic tile doesn’t burn or emit toxic fumes. Even hot kitchen pans or skillets can’t scorch or melt the surface of glazed ceramic tile!
- Water Resistance: Most glazed ceramic tile has a dense body that permits little or no moisture accumulation.
In short, ceramic tile is a timeless, luxurious and durable flooring choice that offers a unique opportunity for self-expression because of its detail, flexibility and sheer beauty. From simple terra cotta tiles to highly decorated individual tiles that create intricate mosaics, ceramic tile offers a level of versatility that makes the possibilities truly endless.
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