The Tiles Story
By: Deepshikha Singh
Some years back, tiles were the material used for their functional aspect of providing leveled durable wall and floor surfaces. With evolving times, tiles have gone beyond their ‘only functionality’ aspect and gained aesthetic and decorative value.
Indian consumers are ready to experiment with colours, textures and designs. Colours have become richer, deeper and vibrant and textures & surfaces more exciting.Design options range from tiles inspired by nature to mundane day-to-day essentials. Natural stone, wood and marble look are in much demand. Tie finishes mimicking leather; textile and geometry are also popular for wall as well as floor tiles.
Leading the innovation pack are the HD Digital printed tiles. This next generation tile decoration method has replaced many of the traditional tile printing techniques. In fact, digital tile printing is set to explore revolutionary finishes, realistic images and exuberant colour pallets. Also new segments such as 3D tiles, customized tiles and germ free tiles are being introduced in the Indian market.
The global ceramic tile market is segmented on the basis of product, industry applications and geography and is expected to grow at the CAGR of 9% during 2015-2022 and it is estimated to be $125 billion by 2022. According to Briskinsights.com, India constitutes thebiggest potential market of ceramic tiles whereas; the vitrified tiles market forms more than half of the total tiles market. India is the third largest in world ceramic tile production after Brazil with China being the world largest tile manufacturer.
Today Value-added and high-end tiles are being sought as substitutes for traditional tiles due to increase in disposable incomes. Also, the replacement cycle has shortened to once in 8-10 years compared to once or twice in a lifetime Apart from this, all the major tiles manufacturing companies have adopted an asset-light strategy for future growth, that is a joint venture (JV) model, which has eased a competition between organized and unorganized players and facilitated growth. The
Past, Present & Future
The history of ceramic industry can be traced back to 10,000 BC. Since then, it has constantly evolved with changing times, lifestyles, applications and technology. One of the key reasons for the wide usage of tiles for multiple surfaces is the fact that they are easy to clean and maintain, best suited for areas like the bathrooms, kitchens, medical centers, laboratories, schools, public conveniences for etc.
Tiles create dramatic first impressions. Even a modest area, indoors or outdoors, can come to life with the colors and textures of tile. Going beyond just kitchens or bathrooms, vitrified tiles and digital printed tiles now offer a luxurious option for living and work spaces. They add value to any space, need almost no maintenance and costs less per square foot than any other permanent &long-use flooring options.
• Design Capability: Today’s selection of tile offers a limitless palette of textures, colors, shapes, and styles to create custom expressions.
• Durability: Tiles, when properly selected and installed, maintains its original qualities and lasts longer than other flooring options.
• Water Resistance: Not only can installations of tile be waterproof, some tiles are designed to provide better traction, making ceramic tile a perfect choice for swimming pools, showers, patios, and other wet areas.
• Clean and Healthy: Tiles are easy to clean and inhospitable to dust mites, mold, and bacteria.
• Building Green: Tile is inherently green and an important part of sustainable construction. Its use can contribute to LEED points and credits for other green building certification programs.
• Fade Resistance: The color of ceramic tile does not fade in sunlight like the dyes used in other floor finishes.
• Outdoor Use: Fade resistance, frost resistance, durability, enhanced traction and maintenance are all attributes that make tiles apt for exterior application.
• Long lasting: When properly installed, vitrified tiles and porcelain tiles the most durable and long-lasting wall and floor covering. With regular maintenance tiles may have a life-span of 15 – 20 years considering that it has not been damaged due to any external factors.
The Indian tiles industry has attained maturity and has reached maximum capacities of output, resulting in squeezed margins. Most east-Asian countries also have entered the sector and are knocking down the prices further. China, as mentioned earlier, is a big competition for India and although the Indian Industry has developed an export market it figures nowhere close to the Chinese. However, in the Indian context, there is a lot to be offered. Innovative products are the key to the future of tiles industry. The vitrified and porcelain tiles segment are yet to be fully explored here and this year should see a lot more offerings in tiles segment.
Almost like a laminate, tiles are available in all sizes and the sheer range of designs and textures available make it a favourite for consumer. Tiles that give an exact feel and impression of wood and natural stones like marble, slate, granite etc. are the popular choices. But, there’s a lot more to buying ceramic tile than finding a color and pattern that will work in a room. Every tile manufactured and sold has an intended use and that intended use is mentioned clear on the label of a box of tile.
• Ratings: There are four or five ratings categories listed on every box of ceramic tile. Five if it’s a glazed tile and four if you’re buying unglazed tile. Look for a given tile’s grade, PEI rating, water absorption, coefficient of friction, frost safety and tone.
• Grade: A tile will have a grade from one to three. Grade one is the highest quality, grade two is similar to grade one but it will be less expensive. Grades one and two are suitable for floors. Grade three tiles aren’t heavy-duty enough to walk on and they’re intended to be used on walls. Though you can use floor tile as wall tile, you cannot use wall tile as floor tile.
• PEI Rating: PEI stands for the Porcelain and Enamel Institute’s wear rating. PEI rates a glazed tile’s ability to resist abrasion and its suitability as a floor tile. Only glazed tiles get a PEI rating, if you’re buying unglazed tile you won’t find this category on the label.PEI 1 and 11 rated ceramic tiles are appropriate for use as wall tiles only. They tend to be decorative and cannot take foot traffic. Tiles rated PEI III offer moderate resistance and are best for residential use. Tiles that carry PEI IV are highly resistant to wear and appropriate for all residential and light commercial uses. PEI V is most suited for heavy commercial uses.
• Water-absorption Rate: An important category to consider for buying a ceramic tile is the water absorption rate. W.A. rating will tell you if a tile you’re considering is the right tile to use in a wet area or outdoors. There are four categories in the W.A. rating and they’re expressed as a name and percentage of water absorbed by a tile.
• Slip Resistance: Another important rating is C.O.F which gives tile’s coefficient of friction. The COF refers to a tile’s natural resistance to slip and it’s measured by the force required to slide an object across a surface divided by the object’s weight. Lower C.O.F. numbers indicate less friction and the floor will provide less traction. Higher C.O.F. numbers indicate that a floor will be les slippery.
• Other Important Parameters: Frost is a simple rating process that tells, whether the tiles can withstand freeze and thaw cycles outdoors. If you’re using a tile indoors, this rating doesn’t matter.Tone is a parameter that only applies when there is intentional variation from tile to tile to substitute the look of natural stone. If you’re looking for a tile with long lasting color, toned tile is not for you.
Tile manufacturer’s take
Anil K. Beejawat, Group CEO, Simpolo vitrified Pvt. Ltd. said, Ceramic tile industry has a great future in India thanks to the availability of high quality raw materials and other minerals along with skilled manpower,creative designers and availability of clean fuel and above all a burgeoning consumer demand. Ceramics can give the same finish and texture of natural material like stone or wood sans the limitations of natural products.”
Ashok Goyal, CEO NITCO said, “NITCO’s offers wide range of ceramic and glazed vitrified tiles and double charged to heavy duty tiles. Tiles provide uniformity of size, quality of finish, lasting endurance, dimension, colour and pattern.
Manoj Agarwal, CMD, Qutone said, “The tile industry has been constantly reinventing the market with innovative solutions and newer products and companies. We have recently introduced the imarble collection which brings a new dimension to luxury finish.”
Vikas Kesarkar, VP- Marketing, Classic Marble Company said, “Tiles are a common household are fixture today and one has become familiar with all its possible pros and cons. Consumers are buying tiles primarily because of its cost-effectiveness, versatility and ease of installation.”
Firdaus Variava, Vice Chairman, Bharat Floorings & Tiles Pvt. Ltd said, “Tiles main USP is that it is highly customizable, beautiful and available at a very reasonable price. Tiles with traditional motifs and heritage design are helping preserve the traditional flooring art.”