High water absorption (as high as 25% water absorption capability. In any
case, most ceramic tiles need to be soaked in water to ensure a higher
adhesive force with the cement/sand mix).
Firing temp at 950 to 1200 deg c (Firing means to cook the tile and seal
the surface. Generally speaking, the higher the firing temp, the more
stable the tile in shape and size).
Ceramic tiles sometimes do come with a coating called the ENGOBE which
suppresses the water mark from reaching the tile surface. Water stain marks
can be easily seen on the surface of ceramic tiles that do not have engobe
coating. However this is not a problem as the water mark will dry off
eventually given sufficient time.
Not so resistant to mechanical impact. Generally, ceramic tiles are used
more for wall coverings and light flooring needs.
Surface is glazed (matt or gloss look).
Aesthetically more pleasing as pattern can be more varied. Surface can be
layered with different pattern & texture.
Easily cleaned with soap and water, or mild acid if in contact with cement.
Clay composite based that are denser and more compact.
Water absorption lower (less than or equal to 0.5% water absorption)
Firing temp higher at 1200 to 1500 deg c.
More compact and have higher mechanical strength.
Surface can be unglazed, glazed (layer of coating), polished or
Pattern not as varied as ceramic tiles.
Easily cleaned with soap and water, or mild acid if in contact with cement
stains. However, for Polished Porcelain or Homogenous tiles, acid cannot be
used to wash the surface as etching might occur that result in blurred
surfaces. Instead soap water (wet cleaning) or white cement with
scotch-brite brush (dry cleaning) could be used to remove the wax
protecting the surface of the tile.
Suitable for use in indoor and outdoor areas.
Mixture of different material to form uniform-based body from top to bottom.
Lowest water absorption ability (0.3% or lower). Almost impervious to water.
Pattern more monotonous as surface is not covered with layer of printed
Firing temp can be higher than 1500 deg c.
Most compact and highest mechanical strength. Used mainly in outdoor
application and places that need to withstand rough usage. Since colour of
homogenous tile is same from surface to the base, breakage or chips on the
surface is not obvious to the eye.
Surface can be glazed or unglazed.
MATTERS TO NOTE IN TILE SETTING/LAYING
Tiles are classified as rectified (when after firing to size, it is again
cut at all 4 corners to give it a uniform size) and non-rectified (size is
as it is after firing, ie sizes can vary by 0.5 to 1.0mm in size, either
length or breadth wise).
It is recommended that rectified ceramic, porcelain and homogenous wall
tiles be given minimum 1mm gap for contraction and expansion. For Polished
Porcelain or Homogenous tile that are made in China, due to their sharp
chamfering, a 1.5mm ��� 2mm gap is recommended as anything lesser will
pronounce the feeling of unevenness (Standard BCA guideline is 3mm). Butt
gap is not recommended for Polished Porcelain or Homogenous tiles.
All tiles have a certain degree of warpage. The European standard for
straightness of sides is around +/- 0.5% of the size of the tile. In
general, the bigger the tile, the higher the degree of warpage and
unevenness at the sides.
Laying 60×60 cm Polished Porcelain / Homogenous Tiles: Dry / Wet laying
Dry Lay Method:
Screeding and leveling of mortar cement already done. Tiles are pasted
directly on the flooring using bonding agents or cement paste. This method
laying has the advantage of better bonding of tiles (ie tiles won’t pop out
so easily in time) but higher chance of leapage/ leveling problem (ie
Wet Lay Method:
Tiles are directly set in when the cement mortar mix is still wet. This
method has the advantage of better evenness in that tiles are evenly
spreaded out and cured together at the same time. However if the tiles are
not properly pasted or set in, tiles may pop out in the near future.
Generally speaking, this is the preferred method of laying Polished tiles
at the moment.
In general, most people would prefer the same sizing for wall and floor in
width so that it creates a pleasing and even grout line throughout. If tile
size selected for wall and floor is different, the flooring tiles can be
GENERAL TREND IN SELECTION OF TILES
Ceramic tiles are generally and increasingly used only for wall purposes.
With its varied pattern and texture, and generally lower cost, taking into
account wall tiles are not susceptible to load and rough usage, they are
still the preferred tiling for wall. Porcelain and Homogenous tiles, being
more durable and having higher mechanical strength, are the preferred
Budget permitting, the current trend in the market though is increasingly
geared towards using porcelain and homogenous floor tiles for the wall and
floor to create a homogeneous and uniform look for the toilet and kitchen.
Appended as follow are the sizes and tiles that are generally preferred in
Matt / Rough surfaced Ceramic / Porcelain / Homogenous Floor tiles ���
30x30cm, 31.6×31.6cm, 33x33cm & 30x60cm. These tiles can also be used for
the wall if budget permits.
Matt / Shiny surfaced Ceramic Wall tiles ��� 20x20cm, 20×25 cm, 25×31.6cm,
25x33cm, 20x40cm, 25×35.5cm, 30x30cm, 30x45cm, 30x60cm.
Matt / Glazed surfaced Porcelain/ Homogenous Wall tiles ��� 30x30cm,
31.6×31.6cm, 33x33cm, 30x60cm, and even 60x60cm Polished
In open concept layout where the kitchen and dining/ living area is not
partitioned apart, the same 60x60cm Polished Porcelain / Homogenous tiles
could be used for flooring and as wall tiling (labour charge more expensive
Matt / Rough surfaced Ceramic / Porcelain / Homogenous Floor tiles –
30x30cm, 31.6×31.6cm, & 33x33cm. Some designers / contractors still used
20x20cm ceramic or homogenous floor tiles for ease of water flow purposes.
It is not recommended to use 30x60cm size tiles since water flow
consideration must be noted and water stagnation marks may occur. However
if the toilet floor area is big enough, 30x60cm sized tiles can be
Matt / Shiny surfaced Ceramic Wall tiles ��� 20x20cm, 20x25cm, 25×31.6cm,
25x33cm, 20x40cm, 25×35.5cm, 30x30cm, 30x45cm, 30x60cm.
Matt / Glazed surfaced Porcelain / Homogenous Wall tiles ��� 30x30cm,
31.6×31.6cm, 33x33cm and even 60x60cm Polished Porcelain / Homogenous tiles
to create the classy hotel toilet look.
Matt / Glazed surfaced Ceramic Floor tiles ��� 45x45cm, 50x50cm, 60x60cm.
Matt / Glazed / Polished surfaced Porcelain / Homogenous Floor tiles ���
45x45cm, 50x50cm, 60x60cm, and even 80x80cm (consideration to be noted that
the bigger the size, the higher the warpage / unevenness and labour cost to
lay 80cm tiles).
SUPER GLOSS HMG/PORCELAIN TILES (60X60 & 80X80CM)
The in thing at the moment as it has better gloss (90+ deg) than
conventional polished tiles which has only around 70 degree luster. After
the nano-film application, the polished tiles are subjected to a second
polishing which resulted in a mirror finish glossiness, enhancing tile
color and attaining dirt-proof effect.
Due to the nano film layer/coating, it is also much more stain resistant.
The nano-film coating impregnates the microscopic pores of polished surface
tile with nanometer-class molecules; sealing them up thus achieving the
It is also environmentally friendly as the nano-film coating uses only
organic material: colorless, odourless and no poisonous content, unique in
guarding against proliferation of germs.
Cost is only marginally higher than the normal conventional polished tiles.