Ceramic Tiles


Historyof ceramic tiles

Accordingto Mei-Horand&nbspDechangmanufacturing of tiles is an art that dates back in the 2600B.C. inEgypt and were in a major way used to decorate the palace, thepyramids and the wealthy persons’ homes (par 12). The art of makingceramic tiles was later adopted by the Romans, Asians and the Arabsbefore the trend spread towards the western countries and later foundits way in Africa during the colonial era. The decorative art ofusing ceramic tile was widely adopted across America around the fireplace, the bathing rooms and the kitchen of the wealthy people in the1800s. This was mainly because they were considered a reserve for therich and powerful. They add that by the beginning of the 19thcentury, tiles were being manufactured in large scale in America andEurope in large scale using machines, after the invention of firingkilns, to achieve desired decorative designs, texture and color (par14).

Today,tiles consist of both the interior used types which are thin, glazedand used for purely decorative purposes on the floors and walls.Secondly, there are the thick paver tiles which are not glazed andare used for exterior decorations, mainly along the pavements andhome compound. These different tiles are made in a wide variety ofshapes and designs. Today, the demand for glacial ceramic tiles isincreasing and is projected to remain high now that the market targetdoes not cut across the rich only, but almost becoming a basicnecessity in modern house construction.


Themain raw material used in glacial ceramic tiles making is the naturalnature as mined from the earth’s crust. According to Mei-Horand&nbspDechangother correlative materials such as feldspar are used in regulatingthe temperatures during firing process and regulating the chemicalsadded during the shaping stage (par 16). At the mines, the clay isgrouped according to the size of the particles. The large lumps arecrushed using primary crushers before being grouped and transportedto the ceramic factories. Water is also an important component in asfar as making the ceramic tiles is concerned.

HowCeramic tile are manufactured


(Mei-Horand&nbspDechangpar18) Theend products of most of the ceramic materials are directly influencedby the physical and chemical composition of the raw materials used.The raw materials also dictate the color of end product. The clay caneither be red or white in color depending on the iron composition inthe specific type of the clay soil used. This proves that the correctmixture of the raw materials to be used can dictate a favorableoutcome. This process involves balancing the correct weight of allthe raw materials used before they are mixed together. This is donein relation to achieving a balance between the chemical and thephysical composition of the materials used.

Mixingand grinding

Afterthe batching process, Poowancumobserves that the weighed materials are then mixed into a shellmixer, a ribbon mixer and an intensive mixer (par 12). (Poowancum,par 13) cites that the shell mixture consists of two cylinders joinedinto a V, whose purpose is to mix the raw materials properly as itrotates. AccordingPoowancum,ribbon mixer uses helical vanes to mix the raw materials afterbatching, as the intensive mixture is used to grind the mixture intotiny particles as its plows revolve (par 15). This results into theproduction of much finer particles that are smooth and ready for theforming process. Sometimes to improve the texture of the mixed rawmaterials, water is used, to obtain water –filled mixture calledslurry or slip. The water is then removed by filtering the slurthrough pressing, then dry milling.


Spraydrying is mostly done in cases where the water was used during themixing and the grinding process. Poowancumstates that the Spray drying is used in such a case to remove excesswater, by pumping the slurry into an optimizer with either rotatingdisks or nozzle (par 17). This is achieved through drying the slurryby heating the moisture through hot rising air, resulting into flowof small powder form particles suitable for forming.


Inmost cases, tiles are made through dry pressing. This process entailsaccording to Luca,passing free flowing powder which has little moisture from a hopperand through a forming die (par 45). The material is then pressed ontoa steel cavity using the steel plungers and is then removed via thebottom plunger. According to Luca,incases of using automated machines, the operating pressure is ataround 2500tons (par 52).


Incase the ceramic tiles were made using the slurry, the made tilesmust be dried at a relatively high humidity after forming. The dryingis a gradual process and can take a long period considering the waterremoval should be slow to avoid the cracking of the tile. AccordingtoPoowancum,the drying can be achieved using tunnel driers, where heat isdistributed using gas, infrared or oil especially in the case of thethin tiles (par 13). The thicker tiles require microwave or kiln fordrying.


Glazingcan either be dry or wet depending with the method used during themixing stage. Poowancumobserves that the dry glazing is done by spraying the dry clay powderon wet tile materials and then fired to achieve a glacial effect asIn wet glazing the glaze is thrown onto the tiles as they are rotatedusing a conveyer belt (par 14 ) At times the glaze is just sprayed onthe tiles.


Poowancum,cite that once the ceramic tiles have had the glaze sprayed on them,the tiles must be dried gradually first to prevent cracking and thenheated in intense fire to remove any air particles in a kiln orfurnace at 2000 degrees Fahrenheit (par 18). After firing, the tilesare sorted and tested to obtain the once that will have acquired thedesired effect and packed for sale.

Usesof ceramic tiles in the landscape

Theceramic tiles are used to decorate different walls in different roomsranging from, the kitchen, bathing room, bedrooms, swimming pools andpavements etc, as a decorative element of those different areas. Theyare as well used to decorate the walls of public walls, hotels andother buildings. Similarly, Geiger,statesthat ceramic tiles are used to decorate the floor coverings of bothpublic buildings as well as the private homes, especially in the 19thcentury (par 1882).

Limitationsof the ceramic tiles

Tilesapart from being decorative materials, they also have theirlimitations. According to Luca,theyfor instance cannot be used on their own during house constructions,in erecting the walls and the floors (par 56). This mean theconstructor must uses other permanent materials like stones, blocks,cement and sand and later use the ceramic tiles just for decorations.In most cases, Luca adds that one can do without them since theydon’t count as basic in the construction industry, but only play adecorative role for anybody who can afford (par 59). Additionally,most of the ceramic tiles especially the glacial ones are highlybrittle in spite of being expensive.

Theadvantages of tiles

Thediverse variety into which the tiles are made has given differentpeople variety to enrich and enhance their homes and business areasaround the globe in a respectable manner. The variety ranges fromsizes, shapes, colors, materials and designs. According to Gehringer,most of the tiles made today are complying with the environmentalregulations, hence are environmental friendly (par 1951). If ceramictiles are well made they don’t wear or tear easily, thus are anadvantage to the home owners as they reduce cost of maintenance. Theyare also stain resistant thus, requires little attention andmaintenance. Srilomsak and e tal cites that some tiles are designedto be fitted on an uneven floor unlike the misconception that theyare only meant to be fitted on flat concrete floors (par 17). Ceramictiles are easy to install and make maintenance cheap amongst thehomeowners.

Thedisadvantages of tiles

Thequality and variety of tiles depend with the ability to afford sincethey are expensive. Most of the floors according to Poowancummade from tiles are very cold and hard thus, very uncomfortable tosit on or stand for a long period (par 6). Some tiles are hard toinstall as well as brittle thus making it very difficult andexpensive to maintain and or repair. Most of the floors especiallywith glossy floors are very slippery especially if they are wet. Thismakes them hazardous and can easily cause accidents.Poowancumobservesthat while most tiles are durable, they also fade at some point andthe cost of replacing them or repairing them is quite high (par 8).Most of the ceramic tiles are not sound proof as compared to carpetsand corks and might require an extra addition of rugs to serve thatpurpose, and such materials might require regular maintenance thusraising the cost of maintenance.


Gehringer,George. &quotTile Glossary: A Guide to Techniques and SurfaceDesigns,&quot&nbspAmericanCeramic Society Bulletin.&nbspDecember,1990, pp. 1950-1952.Web

Geiger,Greg. &quotDevelopments in the Tile Industry,&quot&nbspAmericanCeramic Society Bulletin.&nbspDecember,1991, pp. 1879-1885. Web

Poowancum,Anurat. &quotDevelopment of Dan Kwian Clay Use in Ceramic TileIndustry.&quot SuranareeJournal of Science and Technology press, 2014.

Luca,Baraldi., USA World Production and Consumption of .CeramicWorld Review 2013, 42-60.

Lo,Mei-hor, and Dechang Han. &quotChina Ceramic Tile Industrial ClusterCompetitive Strategies under the Global Economy.&quot&nbsp2014International Conference on Global Economy, Finance and HumanitiesResearch (GEFHR 2014).Atlantis Press, 2014.

Srilomsak,Sutham, et al. &quotEffect of Firing Conditions on Properties of DanKwian Pottery.&quot&nbspSuranareeJ. Sci. Technol. Available from: http://ird. sut. ac.th/e- journal/Journal/pdf/1401718. pdf&nbsp(2014)..