Porcelain Tile: Then and Now!

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It would not be an exaggeration to say that porcelain tile burst upon the hard surface flooring scene in the early 1980s. At the time, a typical hard surface in a commercial flooring application would be specified as an American quarry tile or in an upgraded space a European Klinker or split tile. The aesthetics of these materials were somewhat limited with red being the basic quarry tile color with grays, browns, and a few tans thrown in.

The European material offered slightly more colors and usually included a few “autumn leaves” range of color-type options. These two products were available in a limited number of sizes usually 6”x6”, 4”x8”, and maybe 5”x10”. Of course, there was a care program required since these materials were somewhat porous and needed both initial sealing and some degree of ongoing attention.

Short History of Porcelain Tile

Then, led by pioneers such as Mario Adriani, a new alternative was made available in Europe. Porcelain tile was roughly composed of kaolin clay, feldspar, and quartz and had a water absorption rate of less than 0.5%. This naturally meant that little or no sealers were necessary. These tiles were also game-changers in that many size options became readily available, such as 8”x8” and 12”x12”. A further advantage was the color ranges that could be selected from. There were multiple grays, various tans, a few blues, and so on and so forth.

Grey matte wood look porcelain flooring tiles for bedroom floor

Since those humble beginnings, porcelain tile has grown to dominate the hard surface flooring market. We have seen the introduction of vibrant colors, tiles with various stone visuals, textile visuals, wood visuals, etc., etc. All these still keep the original low maintenance levels. In fact, the time when porcelain tile was chosen solely for its utilitarian performance is long past. Today, as you can at the top and bottom of this post, these products are now a fashion-forward statement.


Marble Systems is proud to introduce our Q Stone Porcelain Collection. Available as a “rectified” material, they have tremendous stability in their facial dimensions allowing for an almost joint-free installation, which makes them perfect for especially living room floor tiles. Well, as always, thanks for reading, and remember that Marble Systems has showrooms across America and now also in Puerto Rico. Stop in and learn more about fashion-forward porcelain tile!


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