Tile | How It's Made

There are 5 steps in the ceramic tile manufacturing process:


  • process begins with the mining of the raw materials
  • mixture composed of clay and minerals

Blending and Mixing

  • introduces mud into the mix
  • clay and mineral mixture blended and mixed into a semi-fine powder
  • water is added to form a wet slurry or mud-like consistency
  • the slurry is pumped into a large dryer
  • result- fine clay powder that feels like warm, fine sand


  • applies pressure to the process
  • clay is pressed or formed into a tile shape
  • pressed tiles are called green tiles
  • another method called extrusion replaces the pressing step
  • extruded tiles are formed by forcing the clay through a mold versus pressing the tile
  • pressing is the more common method used today
  • after the green tiles are formed they are dried


If the tile is to remain unglazed it skips this step and goes directly to the firing kiln. 

  • liquid is prepared from a glass derivative called frit and colored dyes
  • applied by a high-pressure spray or poured onto the tile


  • fired in the kiln at temperatures around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit
  • monocoturra tile or single fired -tiles that are fired once after the glaze is applied
  • biocuttura or double fired- first fired after the green tile is dried and fired again after the glaze is applied

Alternative- porcelain

  • made up of 50% feldspar
  • fired at a much higher temperature
  • harder and denser
  • high performance
  • low water absorption ratings of less than 0.5 percent
  • can be used for interior and exterior applications or commercial areas

After the finished tiles have been inspected for quality assurances, they are packaged, crated and ready to be shipped.


  • not all ceramic tile is suitable for each area of your home
  • tile on your kitchen backsplash may not be recommended for installation on the floor

Rating System

  • rating system provided
  • rating system found on samples or boxes
  • most common system rates ceramic tile abrasion resistance or the overall durability of the tile

5 Classes

Class 1
No Foot Traffic

Class 2
Light Traffic

Class 3
Light to moderate traffic

Class 4
Moderate to heavy traffic

Class 5
heavy/extra heavy traffic

Slip Resistance Rating

  • measured by its Coefficient of Friction (COF)
  • higher the COF the more slip resistant the tile
  •  important  for areas that get wet

Other ratings

  • scratch resistance
  • moisture absorption
  • chemical resistance
  • breaking strength