What is Gres or stoneware? It is a word that refers very generally to a material formed, among others, by clays, bleeding agents (quartz, granitic rocks …) and fluxes. Among its characteristics, two stand out: the hardness and the low water absorption. These qualities make different types of stoneware an ideal material for the manufacture of floors and coverings.
The design possibilities are very large, which can be reached from the appearance of baked clay, typical of rustic stoneware, to the effects of wood, granite, marble and many other materials.
Types of stoneware
Among these types of stoneware, 3 major groups stand out:
Glazed porcelain stoneware is the most common type. It is mainly used indoors, although it can also be used outdoors. Has a Great value for the price and very good performance: low water absorption and high resistance.
It can be manufactured in any color, it will depend on the pigment used. Basically, it is a piece of clay over which an enamel is applied.
In this case, the manufacturing process is by extrusion instead of pressing, which produces an uneven surface. This characteristic aspect is that demanded by those who choose rustic stoneware.
It is a very resistant material that can be used indoors, outdoors and in high traffic areas. It also has low water absorption, between 1.5% and 6%, below porcelain stoneware, but without reaching the edge of porcelain.
It is usually sold in small, square or rectangular tiles. The manufacturing process makes obtaining large parts very complex.
The pieces are rarely enamelled and the appearance is the same throughout the mass. It can be confused with baked clay and colors vary from brown to other.
Although its name suggests otherwise, porcelain is the most resistant type of stoneware for floors. This is because during its manufacturing process the higher temperatures are reached for a longer time, obtaining a less porous material. Therefore, it is more resistant to shocks, stains, temperature changes and also has less water absorption.
Another of the great sales of porcelain stoneware floors is the enormous resistance to abrasion. That is, the friction caused by the transit of people, vehicles, carts, etc. The other types of stoneware are also resistant in this regard, but porcelain stands out.
They are parts that are manufactured in a single firing, dry pressed and not enamelled. It can be found in a wide variety of designs and textures.
Its use is for both outdoors and for high traffic areas, as well as indoors. The price of porcelain stoneware is higher than that of other types of stoneware, by 40-50%. Due to this price difference, it is customary to opt for enameled porcelain stoneware for interiors and porcelain tiles for exteriors and areas of high movement.
A frequently asked question is whether they exist in turn different types of porcelain stoneware. The answer is yes. On the one hand, we have technical porcelain, which is essentially the mass seen on both sides, which reduces the design possibilities. On the other hand, the Enameled Porcelain Stoneware that allows any design. In essence, they offer the same technical characteristics, although certainly not aesthetic.
What kind of stoneware suits me?
Those looking for a rustic aesthetic for their floors usually have a very clear rustic stoneware.
Those looking for superior quality and the best resistance, even outdoors, choose Porcelain Stoneware. In this case, the price factor should not be decisive, since, as mentioned, Porcelain Stoneware has higher associated costs.
Those looking for a good quality product, with good performance and a reasonable price, will opt for enameled porcelain stoneware.
Glazed stoneware is usually the most used in new sales promotions, especially those that are intended for rent.