Ceramic and porcelain tiles – the case for and against
The whole point of the argument for Porcelain against Ceramic tiles is that the former is far more classy and far more vociferous in its’ eventual appearance.
Designs can also be incorporated into several visions much as what can be seen in some historic uses of such tiles. Ceramic tiles obviously lend themselves slightly better to proceedings as they seem to have more artistic flair although porcelain is more durable.
Porcelain is the more durable tile and when one considers Japanese ceramics, there is everything here which is beautiful and artistic. The Japanese have a considerable flair for such things and actually can bring the best out of both materials which is superbly explained by Wilson (1999).
Incorporation into a design
Although ceramic tiles are slightly more malleable than porcelain, both can successfully be incorporated into a fine design. A mosaic is perhaps the ideal way to combine such materials and these can be used in different ways. Romans and Chinese were very adept at using the tile materials for such purposes.
Japanese ceramics and the art of decoration
Wilson considers Japanese ceramics which is practically without comparison when one comes to the grist of the matter. He has managed to gather substantial information on the unique techniques used by these tried and tested artists who are in a class of their own in all departments.
It is also intriguing to note the comparisons Wilson makes with other Western artists who may also adapt Japanese methods to their own and come back with designs and ideas which are also unqiue in their own way.
Rogers (2000) is perhaps more circumspect in his analysis of proceedings but he also comes up with some interesting ideas on porcelain tiles and how to actually make the best out of this rather tricky material.
There is a substantial argument on ceramic against porcelain tiles with several schools making out the differences between the two although there seems to be an agreement that porcelain is much stronger.
Wilson appears to be much more in favour of porcelain although he does have a soft spot for the ceramic when this is used in certain situation.
There are several methods to use when reusing ceramic tiles which can be surpriisngly versatile on several counts. When refurbishing rooms such as bathrooms, the tiles can be put to good use, either as an artistic decoration or also as a stopgap where other ceramic ornaments are involved.
Porcelain is perhaps slightly more difficult to mould and this may also be reused although due to its hard nature, this can be a bit of a problem. The shaping of porcelain tiles can also be an issue here although today’s firing techniques actually work wonders.
Actual restoration and recycling of ceramic tiles is a painstaking and laborious process which involves substantial effort and work. However the results can be very satisfactory especially when antique tiles are concerned. In Malta, several old houses have been destroyed and ripped down for reconstruction but there is a thriving business in ceramic tiles which grace several new households especially if these hail from older provenance.
Tiles generally have quite a long life cycle and with todays new manufacturing techniques, these can be made to last considerably longer. Porcelain tiles have a much more durable nature so these can be seen as the ideal way to decorate a home. Lavish amounts of money are spent on securing the best quality tiles which can vary considerably in price.
Mathieseon (2010) comes up with various technqiues regarding slips which are also increasingly interesting although not everyone may agree with their implementation.
The design life cycle is also important as it can use both porcelain and ceramic tiles to create different stages of designs. Thus a product can turn full circle and continually be reused for different aims. Ceramic times are arguable better suited to recycling although porcelain tiles can also be used for a number of recycling purposes.
Although porcelain tiles may appear to be the more durable when compared to ceramic, it remains a matter of taste if both are to be considered on equal terms. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and there are arguments for and against but both also have their unique merits in the long run.
Rogers P (2000) Throwing Pots A&C Black Publishers Ltd
Mathieseon J (2010) Techniques Using Slips (Ceramics Handbooks)
A&C Black Publishers Ltd
Wilson J (1999) Inside Japanese Ceramics Weatherhill Inc