These are the brands we carry:
-American Olean

Green Aspects of Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile can be viewed as more green in some lights than in others. Its weight uses more fuel for transportation than other products, which leaves its overall green value unclear.
Green Benefits of Ceramic Tile:

  • Rarely releases emissions
  • Some contain recycled content
  • Long lasting and not replaced frequently
  • Requires little maintenance

Ceramic tile has been used for centuries and offers consumers more options in color, texture, pattern and overall beauty than most other floor covering materials. With new manufacturing techniques today’s ceramic tile designs are virtually indistinguishable from natural marbles, travertines, slates and other stone products.
Today, ceramic tile is manufactured not only in Italy and Spain, but also in Mexico, China, the United States, and many other countries.

The definition of ceramic tile
A thin surfacing unit made from clay and/or a mixture of clay and other ceramic materials; the tile has either a glazed or unglazed face; it is fired above a red heat in the course of manufacture to a temperature sufficiently high to produce specific physical properties and characteristics. Ceramic tile is simply a mixture of clays which have been shaped and fired at high temperatures, resulting in a hard body.

How ceramic tile is made
The fundamental steps used in the process of manufacturing ceramic tiles have not changed in thousands of years. Mixing, molding, glazing and firing have always been the essential steps required in production. The major changes that have taken place in the ceramic tile industry are the automation of the modern factories.
Today’s highly sophisticated factories, utilizing the latest state-of-the-art technology, mass produce tiles at speeds unimaginable to their forefathers. The ability to mass produce high quality tiles, while at the same time maintaining each tile’s individual characteristics, has given the producers the ability to offer the individual homeowner a product that was once reserved for only kings and sultans.

Ceramic tiles composition
All of the raw materials that go into making ceramics come from the earth, including the colors of the glaze. This is a testimonial to the quality of the product. While man has been successful in finding ways to improve most products by substituting natural materials with synthetics, such as in carpet, he has not been able to improve on the quality of raw materials found in ceramics. They have basically remained unchanged for thousands of years.
Glazed ceramic tile is made up of two parts: the body, which is called the bisque, and the surface, which is called the glaze. The ingredients used to make both the bisque and the glaze are all natural materials mined from the earth. The main ingredient is clay. Types of materials will vary from producer to producer, but could include such elements as quartz, kaolin, fritz, dolomite, cobalt, selenium, and talc.

Ceramic tile durability
P.E.I. Wear Rating System – To help select suitable tiles for specific applications tiles are rated the P.E.I. (Porcelain Enamel Institute) scale. The tiles are evaluated for wear resistance on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).

P.E.I. Wear Ratings

P.E.I. 1 – Tiles suitable only for residential bathrooms where softer footwear is worn.

P.E.I. 2- Tiles suited general residential traffic, except kitchens, entrance halls, and other areas subjected to continuous heavy use.
P.E.I. 3 - Tiles suited for all residential and light commercial interiors such as offices, reception areas and boutiques.
P.E.I. 4 - Suited for all residential interiors and moderate traffic commercial applications.
P.E.I. 5 -Group V Recommended for all interior residential and commercial uses.

MOH’s Rating Scale (Method of Hardness):
The relative hardness of glazed tile is an important issue that should be addressed when selecting a tile. The test is performed by, scratching the surface of the tile with different minerals and subjectively assigning a “MOH’s” number to the glazed.
The softest mineral used is talc (a # 1 rating if no scratch), the hardest is a diamond (a # 10 rating if no scratch). Other minerals that provide MOH’s values of five or greater are suitable for most residential floor applications; a value of seven or greater is normally recommended for commercial applications. Both abrasion resistance and glaze hardness should be addressed when considering using glazed tiles as floor products.

Break Strength
Ceramic tile used on floors and walls must be able to withstand the expected load bearing capacity of various installations. In order to determine the strength and durability of the tile, a standard test method is used to evaluate individual pieces. A force is applied to an unsupported portion of the tile specimen until the breakage occurs. The ultimate breaking strength is then recorded in pounds per square inch. Final selection of the tile should be based upon the breaking strength and the appropriate installation method.

Coefficient of Friction
Tiles used on commercial and residential floors should provide a safe walking surface in wet and dry conditions. By measuring the coefficient of friction, a quantitative number can be determined. To determine this, a 50 pound weight is placed on a neolite heel and is pulled across the surface both wet and dry. The maximum amount of force (pounds) needed to initiate the weight is then recorded. This measurement is divided by the amount of weight (50lbs.) and referred to as the static coefficient of friction value. A rating of 0.5 is currently recommended by OSHA. The American Disabilities Act recommends a static coefficient of friction value of 0.60 for accessible commercial areas and 0.80 for ramps.

Types of ceramic tile
Glazed tiles -. Glazed Ceramic Tile is comprised of two basic elements, clay and water. Various clays are mined, ground and blended to a fine powder, and pressed together to form the body of the tile. The pressed clay body is then dried to reduce the moisture content. Next, the surface of the tile is coated with a colored glaze. The glaze is then permanently fused to the surface of the tile by firing it in kilns at approximately 2000° Fahrenheit, to form the finished product.
Unglazed tiles are true inlaids. They are simply baked pieces of clay whose colors run throughout the body of the tile.

Features of glazed and unglazed tiles
Glazed Tiles – Many glazed tiles are not recommended for heavy commercial installations. They are generally suited for residential and light commercial use, although there are some exceptions. Technology for glazes has improved dramatically over the past few years. There are some new glazes on the market that are hard enough and durable enough for use in heavy commercial applications.

Advantages of Glazed Tiles:
The glaze offers the manufacturers the ability to produce an unlimited array of beautiful colors and designs.
The non-porous glaze creates a smooth surface that is virtually stain proof.
Unglazed Tiles – This type of tile is the work horse of the industry. They are generally thicker and denser than glazed tiles. They include such products as quarry tiles and porcelains. Generally, the color range of unglazed tiles is limited to the natural colors of the clay, ranging from light sand to red brick, but there are exceptions. Some manufacturers achieve a wide range of colors by mixing pigments in with the clay.

Unglazed tiles possess superior strength for heavy-duty commercial and residential use. The rugged surface texture and matte finish of the unglazed tiles give them excellent “slip resistant” qualities for use in wet areas.

Floor and Wall Tiles

Wall Tile
Ceramic wall tiles are normally less durable than tile designed specifically for flooring. Most wall tile is glazed with a semi-gloss or matte surface. The glazed surface has a very low slip resistance and becomes slippery when wet. Therefore, glazed wall tile is much more suited for wall or countertop applications rather than floors.

Floor Tiles
These tiles, glazed or unglazed, have the sufficient strength, impact, and abrasion resistance to withstand weight and foot traffic. They are usually thicker, denser, and heavier than wall tiles. If the substrate is strong enough to support the weight, floor tiles may also be used on walls and counter tops.
Floor tiles range in size from less than one square inch with mosaics up to 24″ x 24″. Although the most popular sizes in the United States for floor tile are still 13″ x 13″ and 12″ x 12″, there is a growing trend towards large tiles. The most popular wall tiles are still 4 ” x 4″ and 6″ x 6″, but here again, there is a trend toward larger tiles such as
8″ x 10″ and 8″ x 12″.


While square tiles still dominate the market, there are many other shapes available. They include rectangles, hexagons, elongated hexagons, octagons, and many more. Tiles also come in various shaped edges such as straight edges, scalloped edges, and cushioned edges that are heavily beveled to simulate handmade Mexican tile.