Homogeneous Bodies of Clay


nitially facing a lot of resistance, vitrified tiles were found to be aesthetically appealing, yet easy to maintain. Radha Prathi dwells on the scratch-resistant journey that these tiles underwent in due course of time.
Flooring in Indian homes has always been under scrutiny by architects, builders and house owners alike. While cement and mosaic tiled flooring have been relegated to the fashion of a past era, highly polished marble, granite and ceramic tiles which are widely used in the contemporary era, are finding lesser and lesser appreciation day after day for the simple reason that they are treacherous and cause inadvertent accidents at the drop of a hat. When the people concerned over the issue were weighing the pros and cons of the materials in use, ‘vitrified tiles’ made by some leading Indian tile companies came in as a possible solution to the situation.

Makers and promoters of these tiles promised that their product which appeared akin to the glamourous ceramic tiles would be harder, more abrasion resistant than the regular variety, making them ideally suitable for flooring in homes, offices and other public places.

Initially the tiles encountered great hesitation in the open market; hence the manufacturers of these tiles had to persuade their regular customers of other products to try them out in their projects. Once again the builders met with a lot of resistance from their clients to use the products in their homes, but heavy discounts and offers of free laying of the tiles made a few scrooge-minded customers turn on their green signal. 

To their delight they found that the tiles proved to be the ideal solution to all their problems. They found that the attractive tiles not only fulfilled their aesthetic requirement but also catered to the utility necessities without really proving to be cumbersome with reference to maintenance.

Despite having so many virtues attributed to the tiles, dealers of these tiles said it took nearly a decade for these tough beauties to catch on in the market. It is only of late that builders and prospective house owners are realising that the colours, designs, sizes and shapes that appear in the range of vitrified tiles are much larger than any other variety available in the market which makes them the ideal medium for flooring.

Since linear growth has become the order of the day, there is emphasis on strong, longer lasting material which is light not only in terms of weight but also on the pocket. Research on the subject has revealed that vitrified tiles which are compressed under extraordinarily high pressures, happen to be the sturdiest among the synthetic tiles besides being scratch-resistant.

For those who are still wondering what vitrified tiles are all about, dealers and brochures on them define them to be “homogeneous bodies of clay, which have been fired at high temperatures”. This arduous process lessens the number of pores in the tiles as compared to their ceramic counterparts.

Architects recommend these tiles almost as a routine these days because they have recognised that they have precise geometrical shapes which make the process of laying them a little less rigorous.

Nevertheless if the tiles are not laid properly following certain basic principles, the investment is likely to go down the drain. No matter where you lay the floor it is important to check whether the ground on which it is to be laid is even, or it forms the most important criteria which helps the floor to bear the load without much ado. The tiles need to be soaked in clear water for at least twenty four hours and each one of them have to be checked out for possible damages in terms of fissures.

Do your homework
Buyers and builders of homes – please do keep in mind that just about all the companies allow exchange of damaged tiles for those which are intact. The next task happens to be an onerous one of laying the tiles.
It is important to do your homework so that the tiles can be laid at one stretch as far as possible. Builders working in apartments can work on one or two homes a day depending on their workforce to deliver just the right results.

While working on the tiles it is important to remember that air pockets between the tiles can lead to cracks due to impact loads. The cement mixture used as an adhesive for laying the tiles should neither be too thick or too thin. To put it in the words of one architect, “It should be like butter or jam spread on the toast of a healthy and normal child.”

Those of you who feel that you have been hasty in your choice of flooring which is proving to be a wrong decision, not all is lost. If you are in the process of renovating your home or if you are willing to experiment with a more durable kind of flooring, renowned architects assure that new tiles can be laid on top of old flooring following a given procedure.

The old floor has to be chipped at the surface level using a sharp instrument and then a polymer based adhesive has to be spread evenly over it before laying vitrified tiles following the regular procedure.The only other hitch in this exercise is that you will be saddled with the extra work of working on the level of the door shutter that needs to be cut and adjusted for the elevated floor level.

The dealers promise that once the tiles are laid they will last a lifetime. Keeping in mind the money, time and effort that has been invested into the venture, it is only right that we spend a considerable amount of time choosing the right tiles which will suit any wall colour or décor that you may choose to display in future for they can be the only variables in your interiors even as the floor remains constant.

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