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Having decided on the type of tile you need, one more important decision you need to make is regarding the tile finish or the look of the tile. There are different options available for tile finishes, each offers a unique style. Hence you need to carefully understand these to make the right decision.
The principal tile finishes are given below:
- Matte: Matte-finish gives a smooth, slightly dull or less shiny surface look to the tiles. They are best used when you need a softer look for your room. Matte finish tiles also require less maintenance compared to other finishes. Matte finish tiles are obtained by not undertaking the last stage of finishing in tile manufacturing process.
- Polished: Polished finish gives a shiny, glossy, mirror-like appearance to the tiles. Go for these if you want that bright, vibrant look for your rooms. Generally, these tiles are used in living rooms, kitchens etc. These tiles are obtained by finishing the tile surface with an abrasive wheel until the tile surface shines.
- Semi-polished (or lappato): As the name indicates, this tile has a finish, that is between the matte and the polished tile. These tiles too are made by polishing the tile surface with an abrasive wheel but the degree of polishing is less, which means that the tile does not acquire as shiny a finish as in the case of polished tiles.
- Glazed tiles: Glazing is the process of adding a thin layer or film on the tile surface during the last stage of the manufacturing process. The glaze is sprayed or printed on the tile and then fired at very high temperatures. The tiles are coated with a glass-like material, which results in the tile having very high water-resistance and stain resistance. Glazed tiles can have any of the three finishes described above: matte, polished or lappato. Again, glazed tiles can be either ceramic or vitrified. The disadvantage of glazed tiles is that they have lower slip-resistance and scratch resistance. Unglazed tiles also retain the natural color of the clay, from which tiles are made and hence offer a natural look. Hence, unglazed tiles are better suited for high traffic areas and area prone to water like kitchens and bathrooms. You must use a sealer while using an unglazed tile though.