When many people think of porcelain, they may think of fine tea cups or other types of china; this all would be accurate.
As far back as 600 A.D., potters in China were experimenting with a variety of porcelain techniques. In fact, the reason many types of porcelain goods are referred to as fine china, is due to their origins. But what is porcelain? How is it made? And how useful is it for kitchen or bathroom tile?
What is porcelain?
Porcelain is a very refined type of clay that is loved for its translucent properties and high-quality ceramics. When baked at very high temperatures, the clay vitrifies or creates a glassy surface. Sometimes it can be hard to recognize the differences between porcelain, bone china, and other types of china.
How is porcelain made?
This type of ceramic is made of a mixture called hard-paste. Early hard-pastes were a combination of very fine-ground clays and granite. The main components are still the fine-ground clays but other components are added such as feldspar, flint, silica, or ground glass. Once this paste has been formed, it can then be molded and fired in a kiln. The firing process makes porcelain exceptionally unique as porcelain is fired at much higher temperatures than other ceramics. The kilns run at a wooping 2,650 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps provide the correct melting point to feldspar, which is a main component in the glass-like, translucent finish. Between the mixing and firing process, porcelain results in a very delicate, yet sturdy finished product.
What is the difference between porcelain and bone china?
In many respects, bone china is a type of porcelain, though they shouldn’t be mistaken as the same thing. Bone china, which is extremely popular in the United States and England, is made from clays, feldspar, quartz, and as the name suggests, finely ground cow bone. Bone china is also fired at much lower temperatures than porcelain, but due to the bone it retains the translucent look. Bone china is also denser and more durable than most traditional porcelain, which is a main factor in its appeal in English speaking countries.
Uses of porcelain.
Because of the way that porcelain is made, it has a variety of uses. The primary providers of porcelain worldwide are China and Europe, specifically Germany. Not only is porcelain common for dishes but also dental implants, art, toilets, and tiles. Porcelain tiles are a common, yet classy option for a bathroom or even a kitchen backsplash. Because porcelain is fired at such high temperatures, porcelain tiles are more dense, low porous option that holds up really well to wear and tear. So not only can you tile your shower with porcelain tile, you can also use it for flooring. Choosing porcelain tile for you home renovation project will provide you with a clean, timeless look that will withstand everyday wear.
Contact us at Transworld Tile to learn more about different porcelain and bathroom tile options for your home today!