It can be slightly amusing to hear people referring to ‘man-made’ tiles in a manner that suggests they are plastic or made from non-natural materials. There are a lot of different tiles in the marketplace these days, and almost all of them are a ‘stone’ tile. Ceramic and porcelain tiles, whilst man-made, are still ‘stone’ tiles since they are made from clays that have been compacted and fired.
Glass tiles are made from silicas found in sand, so they too could technically qualify as a stone tile, even though we don’t associate glass with stone (or sand for that matter). Terracotta is another tile that can be found, and once again, that is made from clay that has been fired.
The real difference is in the terminology. Natural stone means the tile has been cut from a natural source then finished by polishing, for example. Travertine tiles sometimes require further treatment. This is one stone that often has small holes that are formed when the stone is being made (in nature). These holes may be filled before the tile is sealed and polished.
Man-made tiles are generally made from natural materials such as sand or clays, then fired, sometimes with pressure applied. Natural stone tiles are generally softer and more porous than man-made tiles, although granite can be a fairly tough tile when it comes to scratch and water resistance.
If you are having problems deciding which tile is best suited to your requirements, talk to a tile expert at Éco Dépôt. We are trained in all aspects of wall and floor tiles, benchtops and vanities. Discussing your needs with a tile expert can save you thousands of dollars and a lot of heartache.