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floor tiles for wet area

updated wed 4 jun 03


wendy laubach on mon 2 jun 03

Help! I'm trying to understand what I'm hearing from various sources =
about the best way to make bathroom floor tiles.

Some say I shouldn't worry about the porosity of whatever tiles I use, =
because the glaze and grout together will keep the water out. I'm =
suspicious; I've never known grout to work that well over a long period. =
Others say I need a tile that can be fired to the level of =
vitrification (or maturity?) for whatever clay I'm using, in order to =
achieve non-porosity, or the water will seep in and the glaze will chip =
off. I gather than some terra cotta clays will mature at Cone 2.

On the other hand, I read that once the clay is fired to non-porosity, I =
can't glaze it. So I guess that means that I need a bisque fired at a =
low temperature (04 or 06), followed by a choice of underglazes/glazes =
that will be fired all at once to whatever temperature the clay will =
mature at. Yet some bisque tile manufacturers respond to my questions =
about the vitrification temperature by assuring me that the tile will =
warp at that temperature.

I want to do 8x8 tiles with a white background and three-color pattern. =
Can anyone out there help me with do's, don'ts, and bisque tile sources? =
The best source I've found so far is Clay Art Center. If I understand =
the listing correctly, these tiles will fire to a "light tan" at Cone 6, =
or somewhere between 6 and 10.