Many websites advertise “Frost Proof” or “Frost Resistant” tiles, yet these terms can be extremely misleading.
Here are four things to remember when looking for tile that will withstand freezing temperatures:
- The ONLY tile that is truly frost-proof is PORCELAIN tile. Period. Porcelain is fired at extremely high temperatures until it achieves a vitreous (glass-like) state. The clays used and the firing process makes porcelain tile impervious to water. If water cannot enter the tile, then it cannot expand in freezing temperatures and break the tile. Unless the tile is Porcelain, it is NOT Frost-proof or Frost-resistant!
- ALL ceramic and Talavera tile will absorb some water through the sides and back of the tile. The glazed top finish of these tiles is a vitreous surface and does not allow water to enter. Water can enter a tile through the grout joints and from behind the tile. When water freezes, it expands. When water absorbed into a tile expands as it freezes, it forces the clay structure apart. This usually results in the glazed surface of the tile to pop off. However both Talavera and Ceramic tiles are great for any wet application that does not freeze, such as: showers, tub surrounds, and backsplashes!
- Low temperature-fired clay tile (Traditional Talavera) will absorb more water than high-fired ceramic tile, but both can absorb water and later crack in freezing temperatures. Some websites advertise ceramic tile as both “Frost-proof” or “Frost-resistant”—it is neither. Remember, both Talavera and Ceramic tiles are great for any wet application that does not freeze, such as: showers, tub surrounds, and backsplashes!
- Grout lines must be kept well sealed to keep water from entering through it. Using a quality grout sealer designed for outdoor use is a must. You can also use an elastomeric or epoxy grout that cannot absorb water. Even Porcelain tile can “pop” off if water gets behind it through unsealed grout lines. The tile won’t break, but freezing water can enter into the adhesive layer that holds the tile in place and pop it off. It is important to use a high quality adhesive designed for outdoor applications.
Mexican Tile Designs can make PORCELAIN tile for most designs or solid colors in both our Especial and Prima lines of tile. Please write firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-385-7273 if you have any questions or would like free design help.