Myriad World of Tiles

Myriad World of Tiles
May 2017 , by , in Design

Starting out as a hygiene products for ‘utility areas’, the tile have come a long way to be regarded as embellishments for the ‘fashionable’ spaces. Ceramic tiles and its enhanced version vitrified tiles are making a style statement from – clean and minimal to flashy and bold.

Ceramic tiles are made from claythat has been permanently hardened by heat, often having a decorative glaze, whereas vitrified tiles are a composite of clay and elements like silica, quart and feldspar, made using the method of vitrification. Porcelain tiles are full vitrified tiles with water absorption of less than 0.5%. In fact, the word ‘vitrify’ refers to the process of making a glass or similar to a glass.Glazed vitrified tiles are given an additional coating of glass and thus look shiny while, Polished Vitrified has an even smoother surface. These are generally cheaper than the Glazed.

The new innovation Digital Tiles are designed by undergoing a high-resolution digital printing over the regular vitrified tiles. They are available in endless options in terms of designs and are comparatively expensive of all varieties.Double charge-vitrified tiles are created by a press that prints patterns on a tile with double layer of pigments (around 3-4 mm thicker than the other tiles). These tiles do not have much design options on offer but have a higher strength and durability when compared to other options. The Full Body tiles are pigmented across the entire tile (thickness), thus making them sturdy and less prone to traffic.

Anupama Bihani (2)

Anupama Bihani, Interior Designer & Owner, Mirabel Interior Decor Studio added, “The varieties of tiles- vitrified, ceramic and porcelain are available with different finishes with Matt finish for bathrooms or any place of water activities and Glossy finish for offices, malls, residences and showrooms because, the ceiling lights falling on tiles make the area look brighter and bigger. Tiles nowadays are not just confined to kitchen and bathrooms but, their area of application comprises wall murals, lobbies and living rooms, stilt parking, staircases, facades, terrace gardens and furniture pieces. The most popular size is 24” x 12” for walls and 24” x 24” for floors. Joint free tiles look smart as they don’t form a grid and make space look wider. The thematic designs are also available in the market but, wood look-alike tiles are much popular.”

Indeed, no more relegated to the background, the emergence of patterned tiles like brick and mosaic are reflective of the renewed focus on tiles as a decorative element. Designers are bringing in geometric shapes like honeycomb tiles for floors and walls in subtle colours combined with bold colour borders. In addition to the neutral palette and espresso tones for sleek and clean look, eclectic factor of mixing geometric and colourful tiles is also a rage. The experts predict more of atypical shapes like hexagon, narrow tiles and large planks as well as subway tiles too!

light bamboo parquet floor with thai ornaments

light bamboo parquet floor with thai ornaments

Mr Abhishek Somany, MD, Somany Ceramics Ltd.

Abhishek Somany, Joint MD, Somany Ceramics Ltd., said, “Faux wood will be one of the most prevalent trends in 2017.  Apart from wood finish tiles, stone finish tiles are also gaining popularity. Digital printing technology has further transformed the tile industry creating possibilities. Consumers now have access to tiles that closely resemble natural materials like marble and wood without the long term upkeep issues. For instance, Somany’s VC shield technology is the first ever in Indian ceramic industry with a high abrasion resistant glaze composition. Available in a plethora of finishes, this versatile application offers unique flexibility in terms of designing and usage and is extremely popular with hotels. We introduced “Slip Shield” – floor tiles with a coating to keep the co-efficient of friction high even when the surface is slippery. Our vitrified Stone16 tiles have double the thickness of an ordinary tile providing strength and durability. This range of thicker, high-performance, engineered Durastone tiles are easy to lay and provide load resistant, anti-skid finish and convenient maintenance.”

Top Five Tile Trends in 2017– The wood-look tile looks promising as a major tile trend. Given the innovations in digital inkjet technology and tile manufacturing, glazed vitrified tiles will likely be the popular floor choice for domestic and commercial projects.

-Large format tiles to lend elegance to an area because of reduced grout lines and clean spaces. Apart from the minimalist design trend, we may see large format tiles mirror natural look of wood or stone in stunning designs.

-Hexagon vitrified tiles will be seen in varied colors and patterns, creative graphics, minimalist and contrasting color combinations to add more character and depth to your kitchen, bathroom or parking area.

-Terracotta’s natural touch of warmth with the natural matte finish will be preferred over the utilitarian black and white designs. Terracotta tiles also aptly succeed in adding a classic touch and character to the room.

-Herringbone tile pattern is likely to see trendy chevron patterns in large format, long planks to add personality to the room. Whether as a flooring option or for wall tiles or even kitchen splashback, the herringbone or Chevron tile pattern promises to create a unique look.

Asian Granito India Ltd.

Design Innovations

The technology to produce affordable patterned and coloured ceramic tiles has evolved rapidly with the advent of digital printing hence; the tile industry is witnessing an innovation boom. Ajith Babu – CEO, NITCO Ltd., stated that customers are shifting to digitally printed tiles which look similar to marble and real wood, due to their aesthetic appeal and comparatively lower price. Monochrome single phase designs are out dated and random design phase patterns are in vogue. He added, “A major change that took over the ceramic tiles industry, was the introduction of vitrified and porcelain tiles. Internationally these tiles are already the major sellers. These categories of products account for almost 50% of total tile sales by value in this industry. With the introduction of modern technology in designing and manufacturing, the market has opened up new segments such as 3D tiles, germ-free tiles and artistic designer tiles. NITCO has introduced designer variants with high definition digital printing technology, Press PH-6590 that makes more compact and dense tiles. The high Definition Digital Printing with 8-colour Prism Printing Technology & Automatic Laser Guided Vehicle for movement of materials is an added feature. The company is also the first within the tile industry to launch full surface ‘Naturoc Lapato’ finish full body tiles with Nano coat polish to make it stain resistant and anti skid.”

Madhur Daga

Manufacturers are of the view that the Vitrified tiles and Digital tiles are gaining major popularity in the retail sector due to their aesthetics, durability and easy maintainability. As Madhur Daga, Joint Managing Director, Orient Bell briefed, “Digital Glazed Vitrified Tiles in textures like satin, rustic, cement and wood are in vogue. The hard yet transparent coating gives the tiles high abrasion resistance and a life of more than 40 years primarily due to the abrasion resistant coating.Orient Bell “The Forever Tiles” tested by Queens IPS lab, UK are rated 8 on Moh’s scale of hardness where Diamond’s rating is 10.  These are scratch and high impact resisting tiles with extremely low water absorption qualities. Company’s “Cool Tiles” reduce internal building temperature up to 5 degree Celsius by reflecting solar heat, enhancing indoor comfort and the Germ Free Tiles (GFT) inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi. The major trends that we see are the demand for large-format natural stone-look tiles and wood finished tiles in subtle colours with matte finish. Textures will continue to be a hit. 3D tiles and tiles with geometric shapes that pop off the wall will be trending this year.”

India Tile Industry

Ceramic Tiles today have become an integral part of home improvement. It can make a huge difference to the way your interiors and outdoors look and express. The Indian tile industry, despite an overall slowdown of the economy continues to grow at a healthy 15% per annum. The key drivers for the tiles in India are the government policies fuelling strong growth in housing sector.


As Sarat Chandak, CEO, RAK Ceramics India Pvt. Ltd. puts it, “Indian tile Industry has grown at a CAGR of 12-13 % per annum in last five years and is expected to grow at 17% CAGR over next five years. The Indian tile sector is estimated at Rs.27bn industry in value terms with the share of organized segment being approximately 50%. The organized segment has grown by 16% CAGR and its share will continue to rise. Government schemes like Atal Mission for Clean India will push for providing sanitation and improve demand for bathroom tiles. Similarly, 100 Smart Cities initiative and Pradhan Mantri AwasYojana (PMAY) will create housing demand as a result driving the tiles requirements.”


Segment Volume(MSM) Value (Cr.) % Contribution in Volume % Contribution in Value
Ceramics 440 10500 58.20 43.75
Polishes Vitrified Tiles (PVT) 276 10500 36.51 43.75
Glazed Vitrified Tiles (GVT) 40 3000 5.29 12.5
Total 756 24000 100.00 100

Indian Industry Product Segmentation by Consumption



The potential growth of the tile industry seems positive given the growing retail, IT & BPO sectors across the cities in India. These sectors have also influenced the demand for higher end products. According to Indian Council of Ceramic Tiles and Sanitary ware (ICCTAS), the market shares (in value terms) for Wall, Floor, Vitrified, and Industrial tiles are 20%, 23% 50%, and 7% respectively.The potential is huge considering the per capita consumption of ceramic tiles in India. Currently it is at 0.50 square meters per person in comparison to over 2.0 square meters per person for like countries like China, Brazil and Malaysia.”



The Road Ahead

In terms of volume, the Indian tile Industry constitutes less than half a per cent of the global market. Presently India does not figure in the list of major exporting countries. Producers from Spain and Italy have the advantage of lower transportation costs while exporting to USA and Germany. And the top-end of the global export market is presently dominated by China (36.8%) and Italy (15.1%). Furthermore, countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are setting up their own plants giving a tough competition to the Indian tile industry.

To compete internationally, the Indian tile industry has to achieve the same economies of scale as China and Turkey to help lower the cost of production significantly. In addition, the favourable excise duty and MRP structure will prevent dumping of tiles from China. Also, better infrastructure like freight, supply of power and gas that are the key cost-related issues will counter the present excess capacities and falling

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