ceramic or porcelain floor tiles ?

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22 Apr 2005
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United Kingdom
just been looking at ceramic and porcelain floor tiles in b&q i will be laying them onto a concrete floor in a hall way so they will get a lot of hammer from pram and kids which tiles are better and is there much between them also would i be be better getting tiles from a propper tile centre or are places like b&q and wickes ok for tiles as i want them to last...thanks :)
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If you want hard wearing tiles, get the porcelain ones. They'll be a lot more expensive but thet're much tougher. BE AWARE though that they're much harder to work with than ordinary ceramic tiles. You'll struggle to cut the edge off a tile if the cut is less than about 2". You'll almost certainly need a diamond wet saw to cut them properly.
Also, drilling any holes through porcelain is a nightmare too.
Put what you want down, just be warned that porcelain is tough to work with.
Good luck and let us know what you decide and how you go on.
As GCOL said, porcelain is much harder wearing. Go to a proper tile shop rather than places like B&Q. You'll get much better value for money, much better advice and better continuous availability should you run out or need extras a year or two later
Three things that haven't been mentioned that I think are important for the poster to know are:

1. Porcelain tiles are "homogeneous", which means they're the same color and material all the way through the tile's thickness. Ceramic tiles have a clay "biscuit" with a pattern on top. You're never going to "wear" out that surface pattern on a ceramic tile just from normal foot traffic, but if you drop something hard on a ceramic tile and chip it, then the chip won't be the same colour as the tile's face and will be more apparant. With porcelain tiles, any such chips are less apparant because the tile is the same material all the way through the tile.

2. Ceramic wall and floor tiles (both vinyl and ceramic) and porcelain tiles will be made in batches. Each batch will be given it's own DYE LOT NUMBER. That number will be printed on the cardboard boxes that the tiles come in. Since all the tiles in a certain batch will be made with exactly the same materials under exactly the same conditions, then they should all be exactly the same colour and appearance. Consequently, if you ensure that all of the tiles you buy have the same dye lot number printed on the box, then they should all be identical in every respect.
However, tiles of the same style from different dye lots can differ slightly in color and appearance, and even though this difference will generally be small, it can be noticable if all the tiles in one area of a floor are from a different dye lot than those of the rest of the floor.
So, if you order your tiles from a tile retailer, the wholesaler he orders from will know this and will ensure that all the boxes of tiles that he fills each order with are from the same dye lot.
But, that's not the case when you buy your tiles from a home center or hardware store. Often, the home center will simply order so-and-so many boxes of such-and-such a style of tiles, and the wholesaler will use that order as an opportunity to get rid of all the small quantities of tiles from different dye lots that he has in stock.
So, if you do buy from a home center, then if you can't find enough boxes with the same dye lot number, then mix up all the tiles from the different dye lots so that if there are any variations in the color or appearance of the tiles from different dye lots, then that difference will be seen uniformly over the whole floor and not just in one area of the floor (where it'll look like a mistake).

3. My experience with ceramic WALL tiles is that manufacturers change the color and pattern on their tiles frequently, and if you buy tiles one year, there's a good chance that style will be discontinued within a year or two. So, whenever buying tiles of any sort, whether for walls or floors, it's always best to order extra tiles to keep on hand in case you need to replace any damaged tiles or whatever. It's cheap insurance against the problems that may arise if you simply can't find suitable replacements for damaged floor or wall tiles.
(for example, in my building, if a long term tenant get's to the age where they need to have grab bars in the bathroom shower, I would be reluctant to allow them to be installed if I couldn't replace the tiles that were damaged by that installation)
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a few tips ,
you can pick up a good electric tile saw , ones with Tommy walshes face on them are ok for the Diy ...

take plenty of time doing the prep work , an take your time ...

Dont use tub mix adhesive as its awful , Go for the powder mix , Bal is very Good ,

hope this helps :)
Hi been to tiles r us and im getting some porcelain floor tiles they are on bogof per square metre, bag of adhesive for porcelain tiles to do about 5 square metres costs 30 quid and bag tile grout is 15 quid he a said special grout is not needed for the floor even though they are porcelain he told me a multi-purpose will be ok the tiles im getting a sandy colour grout to match the tiles ,does this sound ok
Also what do i mix the adhesive with

im laying them onto a concrete floor
I pay about £7 for the adhesive to do that area and £5.50 for the grout if it was grey would do a larger area. Dunno what sandy coloured grout would cost though.
Mix the adhesive and grout with a paddle mixer in a drill. Make sure you clean the paddle properly before you use it on the grout after using it with the adhesive.
maybe they are having me over then!

the adhesive says rapid set on the bag and its the only one they have which does porcelain floor tiles, he says i need a flexable one which i thought you only needed if you where laying onto wooden floors im laying onto concrete
where do you get yours from, would a builders merchants sell it
is ready mixed the stuff in tubs really that bad
I get my stuff from a local builders merchants. cwberry (try a google for it). I use feb fastset adhesive and feb grey grout. Funny that the prices online seem a little dearer than the in store prices though.
the price you paying for *mud* maybe cheaper if you are trade discount ...

tub mix is awful an has no guarantee of it not failing
For fixing porcelain tiles to any floor, you need at least a single part flexible powder adhesive. Even though you are fixing onto a concrete floor, the adhesive must be polymer modified to bond to the tile which will be more or less completely non-porous. The grout should be likewise, ie:-a single part flex. The prices you are paying seem to be on the expensive size (£15 for the grout! - although you don't say what size bag it is.)
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