Are you new to the Indian tile industry? Or puzzled about different types of tiles coming from Morbi to your market? On this page, we will help to understand the product offerings by Morbi based tile factories.
With the help of new machinery, these days there are several types of tiles produced at Morbi. For an end-user, the different words used to describe tiles are puzzling. So, we have tried to explain them with a bottom-up approach.
Before we start, please understand that “TILES” is a broad category. It also includes tiles made from marble, glass mosaic, and even from vinyl! Here we are only going to discuss tiles which are available from Morbi
Now look at the chart below…
That’s it! There are no more categories. For example, …
- Parking tiles are either glazed vitrified or full body (terracotta color etc). It has no separate category.
- Heavy-duty tiles with 16mm or 20 mm thickness are color body GVT. It has no separate category.
- Some factories print “porcelino tiles” on boxes. But, it is actually a ceramic floor tile with around 3-6% water absorption
Hope now you have a bigger picture. Let’s go deeper into each category listed in the chart.
Table of Contents
So, you must have seen this word in a hoarding or other advertisement of a tile brand and wondering what does it mean?
This term is misunderstood. As mentioned in the chart the term vitrified tile is having a broad meaning as it only tells about the type of body.
Remember: Outside India vitrified tiles are only known as porcelain tiles.
Vitrified tiles are better in many ways compared to traditional ceramic tiles. Thanks to mass production and competition you are getting a reasonable price too.
Simple explanation of the process
A process of converting something into a glasslike substance is known as vitrification. With this process, we can convert a mixture of clay + raw materials into a uniform body. Due to vitrification, internal bonding becomes permanent. No further chemical changes to a vitrified tile body after production!
Firing at a high temperature makes them impermeable to water. When we sink a piece of vitrified tiles in water it only gains weight by 0.5%. This is known as water absorption.
Due to wider kilns, the size of the vitrified tiles produced is 600mm x 600mm onwards.
Benefits you get
- On top of regular ceramic tiles, you get stronger tiles to use for any application. Strength remains even in bigger formats.
- Vitrified tiles also give perfect flat surface over ceramic options.
- As they are strong, it is possible to polish a vitrified body in a factory setup. If we try to polish ceramic tiles it will break due to pressure of polishing heads.
Types of vitrified tiles
Glazed vitrified tiles (GVT / PGVT)
GVT / PGVT (here P stands for polished) is the talk of the town! The reason is we can use our creativity on their glazed surface. You visualize a design/color that goes with your interiors and you get a GVT / PGVT suitable to it. This is possible thanks to digital printing technology. Such features put PGVT on top of the list.
Surface options polished, matt, high-gloss, rustic, carving, sugar and wood texture
After 2016 factories producing GVT / PGVT tiles have mushroomed. Due to more supplies, the prices reduced a lot, making it affordable for the economic market too.
Check the thickness a factory offers you. Due to price-war, some factories make thickness below acceptable levels.
Double charge (DC)
These tiles have a 3 to 4mm layer of design mixture layer on top of the body. So you can see double layers when looking from the side. The patterns they make are limited to the availability of feeders. Yet, some factories such as Sisam, Simpolo, etc came up with nice patterns.
- A thick layer on top makes DC tile is ideal for heavy traffic areas (think about a mall, airport, public places…)
- The top layer gives a “depth” to the pattern.
DC tiles are available in a polished finish. Some factories such as Simpolo, Cosa, etc offer matt variants also.
The top design layer is not as strong as the body beneath it. Take due diligence when choosing a double charge factory.
Full body tiles
In this type, the entire tile from top to bottom uses the same material. There is no glaze used. Sometimes they use transparent glaze – TP to seal surface pores and to make it ink resistant.
Generally, the use of these tiles is already specified by the architects. The contractors then search for similar options in the market.
As the name suggests these tile’s body is the same from the surface to bottom. We recommend full-body tiles for steps, window sill, and room border. Such places demand a lot of cutting and edge chamfering.
There are very few factories in Morbi making satisfactory ranges of full-body tiles. Donato, Armano, Mozart… have come up with more designs options in 300x1200 mm steps, 600x1200 mm & 600x600 mm full body tiles. Full body tiles are costly but they last forever!
It is a challenge to keep the same shade across the batches of full-body tiles. So be careful to check the sample of the lot you are buying.
They are often misunderstood as full-body tiles. These tiles are nothing but a glazed vitrified tile with matching body color. Color-body tile gives the best of both worlds! The design possibility of a GVT tile and matching body advantage of a full-body tile. So if the tile will cheap from edges it will reveal the matching color of the body.
example 1) 20 mm thick tiles are a new entrant in Morbi’s tile industry. In such tiles, they mix pigments in the body which matches that of the surface. So they are color-body GVT with extra thickness. On the surface, instead of normal glaze, they use an anti-skid glaze of R11 or R10 grade. Here R stands for “ramp test” which is a slip resistance rating standard. These all make 20mm thickness tiles an ideal choice for outdoor setup.
example 2) Nero Marquina design with a dark body will make it a color-body tile. Due to normal usage, when the glaze layer chips, color-body tile will not look ugly.
They are old-fashioned, screen printed with basic designs on ivory body). But being approx Rs 4 per square feet cheaper over GVT / PGVT means a lot when there is a budget constraint for a project. These tiles are always polished finish.
There is a huge demand for soluble-salt tiles in Latin American markets like Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. But, in the domestic market, they are being replaced by other types of tiles mentioned earlier.
Soluble-salt type is selling as economic tiles. So, always buy nano-coated one & if possible send your person to do simple QC checks as below…
- Polishing on edges should be the same as the center
- Put two tiles face-to-face to check flatness
- Check if plastic corner protections are used
- Floor 4 boxes of tiles under proper light and check shade variation
- After cleaning a tile draw lines with a marker pen and remove after a minute to check if nano-coating is done right.
- Both diagonals should be equal (850 mm in case of 600x600mm tile). If both diagonals are the same there will be no issue when laying the tiles.
Above basic quality checks any reliable person can do.
The ceramic body is porous because of the firing they do at low temperatures. Ceramic tiles are available for decades in Morbi. In early days small basic tiles they used to make with shuttle kiln. The change came with roller-type kilns. This helped for speedy production cycle and bigger tile options.
Based on water absorption ratio it can either be wall tiles or floor tiles.
Ceramic wall tiles
They have the highest water absorption (WA) among all. In India masons fix wall tiles with cement thus a higher water absorption helps a tile to fix with a wall.
Remember, if you are using adhesives then ask for tiles with waterproof engobe. Else you will notice watermarks issue on the surface after you fix the tile.
Designers in Morbi are good at making artistic wall tiles. They offer each design in light version + dark version + matching decorative punch (highlighter). Some designs itself include coordinated border pieces too! All wall factories also have a range of elevation tiles for wall cladding.
Ceramic wall tiles are not made to withstand high wear & tear. But their lightness is a plus for vertical installation (wall application) and is easy to cut.
Usually wall tiles are set together, with thin grout lines. You can mix and match to create endless contrasts and custom-look patterns.
Ceramic wall tiles are non-vitreous. But a glaze layer makes only its surface water and stain-resistant. For areas like showers, floors, and exteriors in freezing climates, choose vitrified tiles.
Tip: In general, the shinier the glaze, the more it gets scratched.
Surface finishes can be glossy, matte, rustic, satin, metallic.
Thickness ranges from 6 mm to 9 mm.
2013 onwards all Morbi based wall tile factories upgraded to digital printing technology.
Why digital printing?
Digital printing technology offers 3 key advantages:
- It makes possible random (multi-screen) printing on different tiles. It means when you fix all tiles, you get natural marble-like look.
- It can also print on an uneven surface. Traditional screen printing can only print on a flat surface. But what about rustic look surface, stone looking surface, or wood looking surface? It is only possible with digital printing technology
- Digital printed tiles are having more dots per inch (dpi) compared to screen printed tiles. It means there is high resolution of design (detailing) in digital tiles.
Ceramic floor tiles
There are over 114 factories in Morbi manufacturing ceramic floor tiles. Floor tiles are in square formats (except wood strips) as below.
300x300mm (12”x12”) generally non-rectified
400x400mm (16”x16”) rectified
600x600mm (24”x24”) rectified
200x600mm (8”x24”) wood strips rectified
Some factories tried unsuccessful attempts to make ceramic floor tiles in bigger formats
In the case of the wall body, the water absorption was 14 to 15% but in the floor body, it must be between 3 to 6%. (WA is % of weight gained due to water)
300x300mm & 400x400mm ceramic floor tiles they make with red body. Whereas 600x600mm tiles are the white body. Note that Morbi factories call these white body 600x600mm tiles a “porcelino tile”. But don’t consider it with vitrified tile, it is a ceramic body tile only.
200x600mm wood strips they cut from 600x600mm. A tiler can install them in a zigzag pattern. So be careful with cut size tiles as if they are not flat it can create issues while installation.
These sizes are available in various surface finishes like Glossy, Matt, Rustic, Anti-skid
Ceramic floor tiles are suitable for very light to moderate traffic. Mason prepares mortar with sand, cement, and sometimes a latex additive. They fill spaces between the tiles with grout (e.g. Laticrate).
Ceramic floor tiles have a glazed upper surface. When it gets scratched the floor looks worn. Whereas the same amount of wear on Vitrified tiles won’t show or will be less noticeable. This is the reason for the boom of vitrified tiles manufacturing in Morbi.
if you need matt look, ceramic floor tiles are a cheaper option compared to matt version of GVT.
To date, few floor factories use the traditional screen-printing method to get the desired effect. Whereas most others have upgraded to digital printing (multi-screen) option.
300x300mm & 400x400mm Floor tiles have great demands in the export market (in Africa). Due to lightweight, they can also load more sq. meters per container over vitrified tile option.
From 1995 to 2005 Morbi Tiles were available by and large in 6 odd sizes like 6″x6″, 8″x8″, 8″x12″, 10″x13″, 12″x12″ and 16″x16″. From 2005 till today this number has crossed 30 types of sizes. Most of these sizes were bigger.
The demand for bigger sizes leads to another category of tiles called Porcelain slabs. Bigger the size, lesser the joint, and less visual interruptions by grout lines. Morbi based slab factories make sizes as shown in the above picture. Thickness is generally 9 mm but some also offer a 6 mm option.
Bigger dimensions are in demand across Asia. Even Morbi slab factories export porcelain slabs to China!
This product was already made by a few European factories. The Indian story of porcelain slabs begun during 2015 when Qutone ceramic announced a technical collaboration with System Ceramics SPA, Italy to produce large porcelain slabs.
After that Emilceramica with Simpolo group, set up their slab factory (Nexion)
During 2017 more than 7 other groups ventured into porcelain slab manufacturing. On 13th June 2018 Lioli Ceramica, Morbi started production of slab size 1600x3200mm. It is the biggest size produced in India at the moment.