The Process of Porcelain
Porcelain is the new paving revolution taking the country by storm. Hard wearing and durable and available in a range of sizes and beautiful designs, it offers the low maintenance paving solution for the 21st century.
At Global Stone, we pride ourselves on providing innovative, high quality premium porcelain products. Have you ever wondered how our Italian porcelain products created? Find out here.
What and where is Porcelain paving made?
Porcelain is manmade from natural materials including clay and finely ground sand and the clay used is more refined and purified than that used for ceramics.
We are pleased to say that the process of creating the Italian porcelain is a sustainable one. Any material that is not used within the process is recycled and put back into the creation of more tiles.
Porcelain is currently made in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Turkey, Germany, China and India. We source all our porcelain from Italian manufacturers, recognised as the market leader.
How is Porcelain made?
Stage 1: Sand, clay and other minerals and materials are selected for use.
Stage 2: The materials are mixed together in a huge rotating drum, which works like a mill, grinding down the clay and sand.
Stage 3: The mixed materials are then refined and grounded down into a powder.
Step 4: Once the powder has been refined and grounded, water gets added to the mixture, to create ‘slip’. This is then added to an atomiser which reduces the mixture into particles of equal size and combination of clay, sand and water.
Stage 5: The powder is put through a machine that is pressed into the shape and size of the paving.
Stage 6: The paving is then printed on. When it comes out of the printer, it doesn’t look like there is anything on it…this is where the exciting bit happens…
Stage 7: The paving is placed into an extremely long and hot kiln, which is several hundred metres long and fired at around 1400 degrees Celsius. It constantly moves throughout, at a very slow pace. It is during this stage that the colour of the design comes out. The red glow under the kiln really shows how hot it gets in there.
Stage 8: After cooling, the end result is beautifully finished paving, ready to ship out to the UK.
Rectified vs Unrectified
Rectified paving tiles have sawn edges, which gives them a near perfect straight edge. This process takes place after pressing and firing. Because of the precise nature of the paving tiles, they need a little more thought and attention when laying.
Most of our products are ‘unrectified’, which means that they are pressed and fired, resulting in slightly softer edges, which aren’t as sharp or prone to chipping and more tolerant when laying.
Porcelain vs Ceramic
We often get asked what the difference between the two is. In general terms porcelain is harder than ceramic and offers greater flexibility. They are both made from clay and other natural occurring materials; though the clay used in porcelain is more refined and purified. When fired in the kiln, the temperature for porcelain is much higher than ceramic, giving the end product a much lower porosity.
Inspired? Look at our large range of premium porcelain products here.