Coating a tile with glaze adds both color and a hard protective surface to the
tile. A glaze can also give the tile a satin, textured or glossy finish.
Glazed tiles resist stains, scratches and fading, and they're easy to maintain.
To create different colors and designs, tiles are coated with a mixture of
frit (ground glass) and metallic oxides (the glaze). The coated tile is then
kiln-fired to yield a tough shiny or matte surface. There are two types of
glazed ceramic tiles:
To produce single glazes, the glaze coating
is applied directly to the tile before it is fired. Single-glazed tiles offer
more vivid colors and are typically more durable than double-glazed and
unglazed tiles, making them more suitable for floors.
Double glazes are produced by applying a glaze coat to tiles
that have already been fired, then firing the tiles a second time. Double
glazes show patterns better than single glazes, but are somewhat less durable,
making them more suitable for lighter-traffic floors, floor accents and
Durability - Depends on how glaze was
applied. Some glazes wear away with heavy traffic. Others are guaranteed for
up to 15 years. In general, single glazes are harder and more durable than
double glazes. Most manufacturers rate glazed floor tiles with a performance
indicator for wear resistance, ranging from 1 (least durable) to 5 (most
durable). The Home Depot requires that the rating be visible on the carton
label. Also check the tile manufacturer's warranties.
Absorption - Most glazed floor tiles have a low water absorption rate,
making them suitable for outdoor use and for rooms with a lot of moisture,
such as bathrooms.
Maintenance - Single-glazed and
double-glazed ceramic tiles are easy to clean - simply wipe with a wet cloth
or sponge. To remove more difficult spills, dirt or stains, use a commercial
cleaner that is pH-balanced to avoid damaging the glaze or grout.
- Varies considerably, from $1 to $20 per square foot.