New Zealand Home & Building, October-November 1985
The term 'ceramic tile' actually covers several groups of tile product. Pressed floor tiles are complex blends of fine clays, calcined flints and other carefully measured ingredients which are compressed under great pressure. They are then fired into thin, critically sized tile modules which have a very strong finish. This manufacturing process is similar to that used when making pressed ceramic wall tiles, but quite distinct from quarry tiles which use production techniques more closely related to those used in brick manufacture.
Most pressed ceramic tiles are imported from Britain and Europe and come in a great variety of colours and patterns, as well as glazed and unglazed finishes. Today's modern technology has allowed massive improvements to the hardness capabilities and colour options for glazed floor tiles. This has resulted in an increase of their use in heavy duty commercial areas like walk-ways and shopping malls where previously only unglazed floor tiles were suitable.
In the home, many pressed ceramic floor tiles can be used on the floor and continued up the walls for an uncluttered and co-ordinated appearance, especially desirable in small spaces.
Glossy, semi-gloss and matt surfaces are available on glazed tiles which all have a hardy, long-lasting surface and are easy to clean.
Mosaic tiles are simply smaller pressed tiles meshed together in squares to simplify their application. Most mosaics come from Japan, Korea and Thailand. There is little difference in quality between them, but the Japanese tiles are more accurately laid on mesh and therefore better presented.