Kaolin was used hundreds of years ago in the porcelain-making industry. Today, kaolin is used in various other industries, including papermaking and tile production. Kaolin tiles have gained a lot of popularity due to their smooth texture. 

Tiles are not just a construction material; it is a fashion and an element in construction that contributes to the aesthetic of the house or building. Kaolin tiles bring the beauty of nature to indoor space. It mimics the natural stone, making this type of tile highly sought after.

Related: 5 Kaolin Uses in Construction (Low Environmental Impact)

Kaolin Usage in Tiles Manufacturing

illustration of tile products using kaolin as raw materials

Glazed ceramic tile is made of clay and kaolin, which is then burned under 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The burning process is to strengthen the tiles so that they will not easily crumble when it is submerged underwater. Finally, layering is done by printing the tiles. 

Kaolin is added to ceramic tiles mixture as it can improve the color quality of the products due to very low iron and titanium ions. That is one reason why ceramic tiles containing kaolin are popular.

Porcelain tiles use kaolin clay as the starting material. In porcelain making, the clay tiles are burned at 2,200 to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The result is heavy and dense tiles.

Pros and Cons of Kaolin Tiles in Ceramic and Porcelain Form

illustration of tile products using kaolin as raw materials

Although both ceramic and porcelain tiles use kaolin clay as the material, both have different characteristics due to the difference in the production process. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of both forms will help you choose what type of kaolin tiles are perfect for your construction project.

1. Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain is more water-resistant and, therefore, able to keep out water. It makes porcelain tiles suitable for damp areas such as bathrooms or kitchens. 

Porcelain is also known for its strength and density, making it more durable against cracks and damage. This type of tile is perfect for areas that often have temperature shifts.

Another pro of porcelain tiles is that due to the glazing process, these tiles are available in a lot of colors and pattern variations. Some even have an appearance that looks like wood planks and natural stones.

Another great feature of porcelain is that it has the same color throughout the tile. Therefore any possible chips in the tile during installation will be easier to hide.

Despite these advantages, porcelain tiles still have some cons that you need to consider. Porcelain tiles tend to be more expensive due to their great quality. However, it is also more difficult to cut since it has a high density. Therefore, this kaolin tiles type is unsuitable for DIY installation projects. 

2. Ceramic Tiles 

While ceramic tiles also use kaolin, the amount is not as much as porcelain, and it is also a rougher blend of the mixture. The different manufacturing process results in different characteristics. 

This type of tile is not as strong or as durable as porcelain. It is also not as water-resistant as well. However, it does have plenty of advantages that make it perfect for a certain area.

Ceramic tiles are cheaper than porcelain, which makes a great alternative for a low budget. Although it is not as water-resistant as porcelain, the glazed ceramic tile can help protect the tiles from moisture. The glaze also allows the tiles to have a variety of colors, making them look more interesting.

Since it is not as dense or sturdy as porcelain, ceramic tends to be easier to cut, making it perfect for DIY installation projects. It is softer and will be perfect for walls or floors, especially in dry areas.

While it has certain pros that make ceramic a good choice for a construction project, this tile is more prone to damage. It is also not strong and sturdy enough for countertop. When there are chips in the tiles, it will also be easily noticeable.

Another thing you need to consider is the level of water absorbency. While the glazed varieties tend to absorb less water, the unglazed varieties have higher water absorbency.

Kaolin is a great mineral solution for tiles production. Depending on the production process, kaolin tiles can have a variety of qualities in ceramic or porcelain form. 

Related: The Use of High Quality Kaolin in Ceramic Industry