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Types of tiles

“Ceramic” comes from the Greek term Keramos, meaning “a potter” or “pottery”. Since the infancy of ceramics, up to this very day, the process is still very much the same; for the creation of all ceramic materials, one needs to bake a mixture of clays at a very high temperature. A ceramic tile, therefore, is the resulting product, after a mixture of clays have been treated appropriately, pressed, fired at a high temperature and cut to size. A ceramic tile consists of two parts: the body, which is called the “bisque” and the surface, which is called the “glaze”.

Which sizes are available for ceramic tiles?

150x600mm, 445x445mm, 300x600mm, 300x300mm

What are glaze porcelain tiles?

Porcelain tiles are made from a blend of fine-grain clays and other minerals to produce a very dense body, which makes them highly resistant to moisture, staining and wear. These tiles are more dense than ceramic tiles and have water absorption of >0.5% and <3%. Because porcelain tiles have low water absorption, they are usually frost resistant.
Porcelain tiles with special glazes fired at high temperature make the glazed surfaces very hard, and therefore, suitable for heavy traffic areas. Porcelain tiles are resistant to stains, scratches, frost and abrupt thermal changes.
Because of these features, porcelain tiles are able to withstand years of heavy foot traffic in both interior and various exterior locations. They are also able to maintain their color and beauty for a very long time.

What are vitrified tiles?

Vitrified tiles are non-glazed tiles. Their hardness and polish is achieved by virtue of the pressing together of very hard materials. Vitrified tiles are extremely strong and durable and processed in such a way that they allow for very little water absorption. Vitrified tiles have a water absorption of < 0.1%.
Vitrified tiles allow for a “full body” tile, which means that the design is not merely on the surface of the tile, but runs throughout the entire tile. The advantage of this is that the tiles become incredibly strong.

Which sizes are available for vitrified tiles?

600 x 600 mm, 800 x 800 mm and 1000 x 1000mm

What are Marble Sandwich Slabs?

This is also an entirely new concept. Marble sandwich slabs have a porcelain (8mm) base and a surface of polished natural marble (4mm).
The advantages of marble slabs are that they are cheaper than natural marble, easy to install whilst they also retain the beauty of natural marble. Another advantage of these slabs is that they don’t need polishing once purchase (as opposed to natural marble) because they have already been polished. If, however, after 6-8 years, the surface requires re-polishing, it ought to be polished in the same way as natural marble.

What is natural and engineered marble?

  1. Natural marble
  2. Engineered marble

Natural Marble

Natural Marble, as the name suggests, is procured directly from marble mines and is extracted in block-form. It is then cut into slabs and strengthened by a layer of fiber, which is smeared onto one side. This fiber then dries, giving the marble slab the necessary strength for its transportation. Since natural marble possesses gaps, these are filled in with a resin. The entire marble surface is then polished, using special polishing and waxing machinery. 
Natural Marble comes from various parts of the world and Nitco is one of the largest Indian importers. Below are some of the more popular natural marbles:

White : 
Australian White, Brazillian White, Carrara, Statuario, Statuario Venatino and White Thassos.
Antique Beige, Bottochino, Crema, Crema Marfil, Crema Novita, Danish Cream, Dyna, Florentino, Beige, Marfil Supreme, Moon Cream, Perlato Savoy, Parlato Sicillia, Regal Beige, Royal Beige, Royal Pearl, Serpegantte, Silvia and Sunny Valencia.
Various colors: 
Black Marquina, Crema Flurry, Fire red, Grey Chegin, Grey William, Olive Green, Red Alicante and Brown Emperador. 

Beige Travertino, Red Travertino and Yellow Travertino.

Honey Onyx and Tiger Onyx.
Because natural marble differs from slab to slab, it is impossible to state the precise properties of natural marble. However, below are some typical properties of three types of marble:

  Travertino Classico Emperador Light Onyx Green
Apparent Weight 2.430 Kgr/cm3 2.690 Kgr/cm3 2.250 Kgr/cm3
Water Absorption 0,88 % 0,20 % 0,15 %
Compressive Strength 892 Kg/cm2 1.410 Kg/cm2 1.760 Kg/cm2
Flexure Tensile Strength 128 Kg/cm2 78 Kg/cm2 165 Kg/cm2
Friction Wear Resistance 0,45 mm 15,27cm3/50cm2 mm

Please see the section on engineered marble.

Engineered marble
Engineered marble is a hardened mix of natural marble chips and various other materials. 92-95% of the material is in fact natural marble. Together with various resins, natural marble chips are processed and pressed into block form. These blocks are then left to dry overnight and then finally cut into slabs, ready to be distributed. The thickness of engineered marble slabs can vary between 18mm to 20 mm, depending on the requirement. The Slab size is 300x 120 cm can be cut into all different sizes.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of natural marble?

Having different properties, engineered and natural marbles also have their individual advantages. You will need to be aware of these, in order for us to satisfy your wishes.

Advantages of engineered marble and disadvantages of natural marble
Engineered marble is more environmentally friendly because it uses the ‘marble chips’, which are the by-product of marble mining. Using these marble chips in stead of discarding them, means that less marble has to be sold and therefore mined. Because of its hardness (3-4 MOHs), engineered marble is suitable for high traffic floors such as internal facades, counters, stairs, steps, bathrooms, borders, furniture and corridors. It may also be used at such places because it has a low water absorption, and is resistant to cracking and warpage.

Natural marble often cracks.
Natural marble is harder to select. Because each and every marble slab differs in design, each slab must be personally chosen by the customer.
We do not, however, recommend engineered marble for use outside, because natural sunlight can weaken the color of the slabs.
Engineered marble does not need to be polished as often as natural marble.
As opposed to natural marble, engineered marble is free of cavities and there is no risk of cracking veins.

Advantages of natural marble
Some would say that natural marble is more aesthetically pleasing than engineered marble, but of course, this is always depends on the customer’s view.

Technical Specifications (Engineered Marble Series)
Test Description Unit Test Method Requirement Our Value
Water Aborption % En99 <3.00% < 1.00%
Deviation in thickness % En98 (±) 5.00% (±) 5.00%
Surface Flatness % En98 (±) 0.50% (±) 0.30%
Glossiness % En98 700 > 750
Rectangularity % En98 (±) 0.60% (±) 0.40%
Modulus Rupture N/mm2 En100 > 21 N/mm2 > 27 N/mm2
Straightness of sides (wedging) % En98 (±) 0.50% (±) 0.30%
MOHS Scratch Hardness —– En101 3 4

First of all, you must be sure that you are investing in a brand that you can rely on. When you invest in Nitco, you can only win. We check the quality of each and every one of our products independently, to ensure that only the best products are given the Nitco brand label, which is synonymous to great quality and design. More specifically, however, there are a number of technical factors (please see below) which one should be aware of when buying tiles. For all the tile properties mentioned below, Nitco always maintains the highest standards in the testing of the tiles; from the laboratory all the way through the manufacturing process. Throughout the manufacturing process, the following elements are in constant check; deviation in length, deviation in thickness, straightness of sides, rectangularity, surface flatness, modules of rapture etc.

Water absorption

Water absorption refers to the quantity of water a tile absorbs when it gets in contact with water. A precise percentage is calculated by the loss of weight when a wet tile is dried in the laboratory oven. As a customer you will be interested about this percentage, because it will determine how stain resistant your tiles are, and whether they are frost resistant (i.e. if a tile absorbs water, which subsequently freezes, the tile will expand and crack).
Generally, ceramic tiles with a water absorption between 3 to 6% are used as floor tiles and ceramic tiles with a water absorption between 10 to 15% are used as wall tiles. This is because the lower the water absorption, the less likely it is that there will be stains after contact with liquids. The lower the water absorption, the longer your tiles will look new. Floor tiles can also be used as wall tiles depending on their aesthetic features. We would, however, very much recommend not using wall tiles as floor tiles because of their low strength and high water absorption. Although this may be cheaper at first, such tiles will not be aesthetically pleasing for a long time.
Here is a list of tiles and their corresponding levels of water absorption:
Vitrified tiles – <0.1 % Glaze Porcelain tiles – >0.5 <3%
Ceramic floor tiles – 3 to 6%
Ceramic wall tiles – 10 to 20%.
Slippery surface

Slippery surfaces can be a hazard, especially when there is a possibility of water spilling onto the surface (e.g. in the bathroom). We therefore offer glossy (slippery) and non-slippery tiles. Our very successful Naturoc series, for instance, is an example of a non-slippery tile.
Surface hardness/Scratch resistance
An aspect of tiles is their surface hardness and resistance to scratches. The level of the hardness is measured in MOHs. The Mohs scale ranges from 1 to 10, level 10 being the hardest. As you will see in the technical specifications for all our tiles, Nitco maintains higher levels of scratch resistance than is required by the EN (the official body regulating such matters) standards.
For Glazed tiles the PEI method used to measure abrasion resistance, is rated by the following scale:
• Group I: Tiles that are suitable for residential rooms with light foot traffic. Generally wall tile products fall into this group. Only rarely, are wall tiles able to be used as floor tiles.
• Group II: Tiles that can be used in residential medium-level traffic areas. Only in some cases may they be used in high traffic areas such as in kitchens, bath rooms bed rooms etc.
• Group III: Tiles that are recommended for use in all residential areas.
• Group IV: Tiles that are suited for all residential areas and also light to medium commercial areas (which usually have higher traffic).
• Group V: These tiles can be installed in almost any commercial and residential setting
Frost resistance
This is the ability of a tile to withstand very low temperatures. The frost-resistance of tiles is dependent on it’s water absorption levels. This is how it works; if a tile absorbs water, which subsequently freezes, the tile will expand and crack.
Soluble Salt (SST)
Double Charge (DCH)
Full Body
Micro Powder a.k.a. Dry Application Powder
Hi-Coat Nano Technology

What is soluble salt technology (SST)?
SST is an old and cheaper technology and is meant for tiles placed in low traffic areas. In this process, the yet unfired tile body is given a liquid color screen-printing to create the design on the tile.
It is called Soluble Salt Technology because soluble salt is used for giving the tile a particular pattern and color. For instance, our Diamond series is made with the use of SST.
With this technology 2 – 2.7mm print are penetrated into the tile. Once the tiles have been fired and polished in order to create a glossy surface, approximately 0.7mm of the soluble print is shaved off, leaving a total print penetration of only 1 to 2 mm.

What is Double Charge (DCH)?

Double Charge technology is far more advanced than SST. Our Ultra Charge & Super Charge series use DCH technology.
This technology uses granules in order to create different shades. Tiles using this technology are ideal for high-traffic areas.

What does “Full Body” mean?

This refers to a manufacturing process as a result of which, the design is not merely on the top surface of the tile, but runs throughout the entire tile. The Tropicana tile, for instance, is a full body tile.

What is Micro Powder (a.k.a. Dry Application Technology)?

What is Hi-Coat Nano Technology?

The HiCoat system is an anti-stain treatment for the protection of porcelain tiles. Once the HiCoat treatment has been applied, the surface of the tile becomes resistant to staining and dirt.
A non-hazardous chemical compound is pressed into the micro porosities of the tile surface. As a result, these pores become permanently sealed, giving the tile an everlasting protection against stains and dirt accumulation.

What is a glaze?

Glaze is the top coating on various forms of tiles.

What is Naturoc?

“Naturoc” is the name of a tile series. A major benefit of Naturoc tiles is that they can use various printing technologies. Screen printing , Roto technology, Dry application can be used in the manufacture of Naturoc tiles.

What is Lapato Finish?

“Lapato” means “semi polished” in Italian and uses a type of polish which gives a semi polished look. The rough surface of the tile is only shaved slightly.

What is Matt Finish?

Gres porcelain tile without lapato finsh is a Matt tile.

What is Metal Tiles?

“Metal finish” gives the tile a metallic look and feel.

What is grout?

This is a chemical used for placing in between joints, to prevent dust particles or stains from seeping into the joints of tiles or mosaics.

What is a Rustic tile?

These tile have a rustic or country look.

What is Lapato?

This is a semi polished finish, which gives it a particular shimmer or shine. The look and feel of the tile is very much like natural stone


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