Ceramic are made from red or white clay fired in a kiln. The color and pattern are formed through the use of a durable glaze during the finishing process. Ceramic tiles, which can be used in both wall tile and floor tile applications, are softer and easier to cut than porcelain, and usually carry a PEI 0 to 3 rating. Ceramic tiles are suitable for very light to moderate traffic and generally have a relatively high water absorption rating making them less frost resistant and they are more likely to show wear and chipping over time.

Porcelain is a tile made by the dust pressed method from porcelain clays which result in a tile that is dense, durable, fine grained and smooth, with a sharply formed face. Porcelain tiles usually have a much lower water absorption rate (0.5% or less) than ceramic tiles making them frost resistant. Glazed porcelain tiles are suitable for any application from light traffic to the heaviest residential and light commercial traffic due to the fact that they are much harder and more wear and damage resistant than ceramic tiles. Full body porcelain tiles carry the color and pattern through the entire thickness of the tile making them virtually impervious to wear and are suitable for any application. Porcelain tiles are available in a matte, an unglazed or a high polished finish.

For outdoor use we recommend the tiles to be frost-resistant and unglazed for floor use. The absorption rate of the tiles should be 0.5% or less.

Glazed, unglazed and full-body tiles all provide different levels of protection for tiles. Glazed tiles are coated with a liquid glass, which is then baked into the surface of the clay. The glaze provides an unlimited array of colors and designs as well as protects the tile from staining. The unglazed tiles are pretty much the same as the glazed tile, except that their surface is not coated. Full-body porcelain tiles do not show wear because their color extends throughout the tile, making them ideal for commercial applications.

The use of a sealer is not necessary on a glazed tile because it is already stain proof. A penetrating sealer can be placed on unglazed tiles or the grout joints. The penetrating sealer becomes invisible as in is absorbed into the surface, creating a stain resistant shield.

PEI classes refer to the Porcelain Enamel Institute rating scale. The classes range from 0 to 5. The scale is not a measurement of quality but rather the recommended areas of use for the different class levels. The classes are based on what manufacturers recommend and where their tiles were designed to fit.

Class 0 – No Foot Traffic: Wall tile only and should not be used on floors.
Class 1 – Very light traffic: Very low foot traffic, bare or stocking feet only, i.e., Master bath or spa bathroom.
Class 2 – Light Traffic: Slipper or soft-soled shoes, i.e. second level main bathroom areas, bedrooms.
Class 3 – Light to Moderate Traffic: Suggested for residential areas, with the possible exception of some entries and kitchens where extremely heavy or abrasive traffic can occur.
Class 4 – Moderate to Heavy Traffic: High foot traffic, areas where abrasive or outside dirt could be tracked, i.e., residential entry, kitchen, balcony, and countertop.
Class 5 – Heavy Traffic: Ceramic tile suggested for residential, commercial and institutional floor subjected to heavy traffic.

Travertine provides a durable surface and can provide additional structural strength to a property. The colors and patterns vary from surface to surface making each installment unique. Travertine can be used as flooring in entrances, hallways, foyers, as well as living spaces, on exterior and interior walls, shower stalls, pavers, and fixtures.

Limestone is a sedimentary stone made up mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite. It is readily available and easy to handle and therefore is widely used as a building stone. Since limestone is a natural material it is perfect for someone that wants a natural-look to their space. The features of the tile can include items such as fossils, shells and corals, which give the tile a unique appearance. Limestone can be used as countertops, flooring, interior and exterior wall cladding, and exterior paving.

Marble has an expressive range of colors and textures allowing the tile to elevate the style and design of any space. In both residential and commercial spaces, marble tile can add a touch of quiet sophistication, classic charm, or prominent boldness to rooms, hallways, floors, walls, and backsplashes.

Mosaics combine different materials to create a colorful and unique accent or focal point to any space. Mosaics can include stone, metal, glass and resin in different sizes, colors, textures and quantities to form a wide array to choose from. With endless possibilities, mosaics can be found to fit any style and design.

Pietra Bella is proud to provide ceramic tile installation, sales and service to South River, East Brunswick, Sayreville, Highland Park, New Brunswick, Edison, Perth Amboy, Fords, Somerset, Metuchen, Woodbridge, Iselin, Colonia, South Plainfield, Freehold, Old Bridge, Cliffwood, Holmdel, Morganville, Marlboro, Manalapan, Keyport, Union Beach and surrounding areas.