Which is the Best: Glazed or Unglazed Ceramic Tile?

Ceramic tile comes in twos: glazed and unglazed. But sometimes these are opposing sides that buyers fight over or mixed up in mistake. Based on the appearance, you can easily differentiate the two. The former has a glaze of colored liquid glass. On one hand, unglazed ceramic tiles lack this coating and as defined by tilecenter.com, these are “simply baked pieces of clay whose colors run throughout the body.” Au natural.

BuildDirect provides a detailed list of differences between glazed and unglazed ceramic tile:

  Glazed Ceramic Tile Unglazed Ceramic Tile
Finishing touches Additional firing process in kiln, a layer of liquid glass is added to tiles No additional firing process
Thickness Less dense or thick (lighter glazes are harder than darker glazes) Denser and thicker
Slip resistance Liquid glass top coat less slip resistant More slip resistant in moist or high traffic areas
Scratch resistance Higher luster shows more scratches Scratch resistant
Stain resistance Resists staining with non-porous liquid glass top coat More vulnerable to stains
Style options Wide range of styles or colors Earthly coloring or aesthetic

Where it is generally used?

In relation to the table above, glazed and unglazed ceramic tiles cannot be used anywhere. According to hipages, glazed is suitable indoors like kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. Its colorful shades enhance any floors or rooms, which come from “various minerals, such as zinc, mercury, copper, gold, silver, etc.,” floorfacts.com explains.

On the other hand, unglazed ceramic tile can also be laid in the bathroom and kitchen. Moreover, it is a perfect tile for outdoors because of its rough texture and color.


How to clean it?

In terms of maintaining or cleaning, Creative Homemaking advises that glazed ceramic tiles are okay with a bucket of warm water but if it is really dirty, dilute it with couple of drops of vinegar or dish soap. While unglazed ceramic tile can be washed using water only and since this type of tile stains easily, it should be wiped thoroughly.

Also, don’t use the following cleaning materials:

  • Steel wool or other abrasive materials
  • Bleach or ammonia-based cleaners
  • Wax or oil-based cleaners


Ceramic tiles installation basics

The common factor between glazed and unglazed ceramic tile is how it is installed. Before laying out the tiles, the floor must be prepared first. As instructed by the Spruce, the sub-floor or substrate “has to be completely smooth, flat, and free of any defects.” This is necessary because the bumps in the subfloor or its unevenness can crack and/or chip the ceramic tile laid over it.

Ceramic tile installation whether it is glazed or unglazed must be handled with extra care and attention. This process can be executed thru DIY method but one must have knowledge in prepping up a subfloor. Ceramic tiles can be placed easily but cleaning or smoothing the subfloor is a complicated task. Plus a technical know-how on handling or using grout, tile adhesive, silicone caulk and grout sealer. It is best that a professional will handle the installation or face a costly consequence.

It seems there is no need to choose between glazed and unglazed ceramic tile. Both are the best in terms of their character and usage.


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