Porcelain Tiles (Heat Resistance, Fireproof, For Fireplaces)

Porcelain boasts durability and is an ideal choice in home renovation projects. This tile also features decorative patterns and using it in your home will boost your aesthetics. A common concern among users is whether porcelain tiles can withstand heat.

So, can porcelain tile withstand heat? Porcelain tiles can withstand extended heat for long periods without altering their appearance or chemical properties. These tiles will remain uninterrupted in temperatures between 1200 and 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. However, despite being heat resistant, you should avoid direct contact with heat by ensuring a buffer zone between your tiles and the heat source.

Your fireplace can be a centerpiece in your home if you decorate it properly to match your taste. In addition to meeting your flooring needs, tiles serve decorative purposes. You may want to install it on your walls and floor, but if you live in cold areas where you need to heat your room, it is worth knowing whether porcelain tiles can withstand heat.

Porcelain tile can withstand extreme temperatures without damaging its chemical and physical structure. This explains why homeowners pick it as a solution when considering underfloor heating.

You can also install porcelain near your fireplace but installing a barrier between the heat source and your tiles is advisable. Given its density and hardness, porcelain tiles also rank among the best flooring materials in high traffic areas like bathrooms, kitchens and hallways.

When it comes to underfloor heating, porcelain is ideal for resolving cold floor issues, especially during winter. You can use this flooring in electric or piped underfloor heating. The electric underfloor heating is perfect when renovating small spaces or your bathroom where it is impossible to install new hot water pipes.

This heating features affordable installation with fewer disruptions, especially in small spaces. The electric underfloor heating features different wattages, with high wattages implying greater heat output. Thus, before deciding on the heating system wattage, you should decide if this will be your only heating option and your room insulation.

The water underfloor heating system is more affordable than the electric one as you do not have to worry about the hiking electricity bills with prolonged heating periods. This system is ideal for large buildings and spaces, where installation will cause more disruption. As such, installation should be planned, explaining why this system is ideal when building new houses.

When it comes to selecting one of the above systems to work with your porcelain tiles, you do not have to scratch your head, as porcelain can work perfectly with either. Porcelain is easy to work with, given its relatively thin size. Unlike natural stone, porcelain tiles are 8mm to 12mm thick, allowing heat to rise quickly through the tiles to warm the floor surface.

Notably, porcelain is good at retaining heat given its design. Thus, once the heat rises, the retained heat will continue warming your room for more extended periods. With porcelain, temperature changes will not crack your tiles if you do a proper installation.

When tiling underfloor heating with porcelain, you will consider the tile thickness and subfloor. As mentioned earlier, porcelain is 8mm to 12mm in thickness, ideal for allowing heat to pass through and warm your room. Going for thicker tiles is not advisable as it will prolong the heating time and hike your bills.

When tiling your underfloor heating, your subfloor should also be level for easy installation of your tiles. To prevent your tiles from cracking, you can utilize a decoupling membrane which regulates tile movement with temperature changes.

Alternatively, your installer can allow joint movements over large expanses of the tile, 25 square meters and above. Providing room for your flooring to expand and contract ensures durability, saving you maintenance and replacement costs in the long run.

Lastly, when installing your porcelain tiles, you should use flexible grout and adhesives to allow movements.  Also, the heating system should be off during installation and remain so until the grout and adhesive fully cure. Different adhesive brands will cure at different times, but on average, you should wait for up to two weeks before turning on your underfloor heating under your porcelain tiles.

At What Temperature Does Porcelain Break?

Porcelain tiles are delicate and will break if you mishandle them during installation, resulting in losses. This explains why, when determining how much of the porcelain you need for your flooring, you should factor in the waste. Despite withstanding high temperatures, porcelain has a temperature limit beyond which it will break, which is why you should avoid overexposure. Reaching such high temperatures is rare in-home settings hence, in most cases, it is the drastic changes in temperature that will break your porcelain.

Generally, porcelain will melt or break when you subject it to temperatures above 1600C.  This temperature is attainable when you expose porcelain tile to direct heat, such as that of a fireplace. Direct exposure will cause the porcelain to crack, melt or even explode.

Hence, despite their heat resistance capabilities, you should avoid direct contact between your tiles and too high heat temperatures. For the best results, install a buffer zone between your porcelain and tiles to maintain your tile aesthetics.

Porcelain will soften and behave similarly to glass at very high temperatures when subjected to similar conditions. Mullite, a significant component of porcelain, will melt at 1840 C. However, you will notice some softening hundreds of temperatures before attaining this temperature.

Is Porcelain Tile Fireproof?        

Despite its rustic touch to a home, wood flooring poses some risk in case of a fire. Hence, to be safe, homeowners are switching to flooring options such as porcelain tiles, and I will help you know whether it is an effective alternative.

Porcelain tile is fireproof, given the very high manufacturing temperatures. Your porcelain tiles will not burn when you subject them to fire, nor will they produce smoke or toxic fumes. Given their fire resistance capabilities, porcelain tiles are an ideal choice around the fireplace.

In recent times, homeowners are also adapting porcelain tiles in kitchens and bathrooms due to their fireproof capabilities. Installing porcelain around your fireplace will function more or less like fire-resistant bricks.

Porcelain will absorb the heat from the fireplace without damaging or breaking. However, despite their durability, it is not advisable to have direct contact with fire.  Installing your porcelain tiles too close to the heat source will cause discoloration, and a distance of 14cm to 20cm is advisable. Alternatively, you can put a barrier between the tiles and heat source when installing porcelain for fireplaces.

Can You Use Porcelain Tiles in a Fireplace?

A fireplace is an excellent addition to any home, contributing to its overall interior scheme. When it comes to tiling the fireplace, there are a few technical aspects that you should factor in, given the high temperatures. Read on to understand whether you can use porcelain tiles in a fireplace.

Glazed porcelain tiles are more ideal for fireplaces than non-glazed tiles. This is due to their hardness, which ensures resistance from wear and damage. Tiling your fireplace is possible if the interior walls are flat and can handle the weight of your tiles.

As a general rule, you should consider the distance between the fire and your tiles to ensure durability and maintain your tiles’ aesthetics. The recommended distance from the fire should be 20cm for porcelain tiles. Your porcelain tiles will function more like bricks and absorb heat from the fire but will not transfer it to surrounding areas, given its density.

Apart from being a mood setter, the fireplace is the focal center of your living room and should be tough but beautiful. Attaining the latter requirements is possible using tiles, but you need to understand your porcelain tile capabilities before installation.

Like tiling your wall or floor, you should use a suitable adhesive and grout when tiling your fireplace. If uncertain of what to use, always consult your manufacturer. If your fireplace temperatures go above 100 degrees Celsius, a cement-based product will be ideal.

There are three places in your fireplace where you can install tiles, namely, the surround, firebox, and hearth. The firebox holds the actual fire and requires lining with appropriate materials according to the construction codes. Temperatures in this zone are usually high, making tiles unsuitable.

The surround is the front face of your fireplace and the most visible part. As a thumb rule, this space should be durable to handle the heat yet attractive to maintain your home aesthetics. As such, porcelain tiles will fit this space. The hearth is the fireplace section under and in front of the firebox.

You can raise it or leave it to the same level as the rest of the floor in your room. Tiling your hearth is ideal and necessary if the rest of your flooring is made of wood or carpeted. The hearth protects the area in front of the fireplace from burning due to sparks and other debris from the fireplace.

The fireplace is a sensitive part of your home, requiring proper installation to avoid potential accidents in the future. Hence, while you love DIY installations, hiring a professional to install porcelain tiles in your fireplace may be ideal. Also, to note is that there are specific building codes that the installation techniques should adhere to, which rules out DIY installation in this case.

Now that you know porcelain tiles can work well in your fireplace given their fire resistance, you should also consider other qualities of your tiles for the best finish. These include the color scheme, style, budget, scale, and measurements.

When styling your fireplace, you should treat it like any other feature in the room, as its overall appearance will impact your room’s aesthetics.  You will have to decide whether your fireplace will be the centerpiece or whether to blend it with the rest of your home décor.

Either way, your fireplace tiles should coordinate well with your general home color scheme. Since it may take some time before you change your fireplace tiles, selecting versatile color schemes will be safer as they will match your changing preferences over the years.

The tile finish should also match well with your home aesthetics.  If you want a rustic look, go for matte tiles with great texture, but if you want elegance, consider the high gloss tiles with a sleek finish.

Home renovations have a budget, and if you are doing an overall reconstruction or simply focusing on the fireplace, you should pick tiles that match your budget. While at this, you should also factor in the labor and installation costs to ensure you complete your project. The scale of the tiles also comes in handy during installation.

You can install big tiles in the middle and smaller ones as decorative borders on the edges. If you want a contemporary look, consider hexagonal tiles, and, for a classic finish, go for square and rectangular tiles.

Lastly, good planning entails knowing how many tiles you need to install. To determine this, measure the areas of your fireplace you intend to cover with the tiles against the surface area of each tile. While at this, consider the small spaces between your tiles that will receive grout. To be safe, you should add at least 10 percent of the total surface area to cater for any waste.

Summary

Tiles offer a decorative and durable flooring option. If you live in a cold area or are just concerned about the winter season, heating your room via a fireplace or other forms of heating will be necessary, in which case, knowing whether your chosen tile can withstand the heat is paramount.

If you are looking for a tile that can withstand heat and still maintain good aesthetics, porcelain tiles are ideal. Given their thickness, porcelain tiles feature easy installation, and you can fix your heating system underneath, provided you allow room for expansion with temperature changes.

This thickness also allows fast heat absorption from the system and holds it, warming your room for extended periods. Porcelain is also usable in fireplaces, as it will melt at very high temperatures unattainable in-home settings. When using this tile in your fireplace, you should create a barrier of about 20cm between the fire and tiles for enhanced durability.