Pavimenti in gres porcellanato
Porcelain stoneware tile floors
Sols en grès cérame en grès
Pavimentos en gres porcelánico
Eiffelgres materials are not afraid of comparison with natural stone: Eiffelgres technical ceramics represent the meeting point between porcelain stoneware produced by industrial methods and the naturalness of quarried stone.
The technical properties of porcelain stoneware guarantee high performance for the material, one of the reasons why it is also known as technical porcelain stoneware. It offers the perfect solution for architects and designers: a floor and wall covering material that is safe, strong, environmentally compatible and of high aesthetic value.
Making millions of years go by in a few instants. This is our primary goal: recreating the extraordinary and natural beauty of matter. Our second goal is asking technology to do the opposite of what it normally does, that is, to generate the random expressive features characteristic of natural materials.
We have achieved these two goals thanks to tenacious research and experimentation in the laboratories of the Eiffelgres plant in Viano di Reggio Emilia: the most advanced producer of “technical porcelain stoneware” in the world today.
The technical properties of ceramic tiles meet specific requirements setting limits and establishing references which must be met to be judged good quality.
These pre-requisites constitute a declaration of transparency in the relationship between manufacturer and purchaser and act as a sort of identity card for the product. UNI standards in Italy, EN standards in Europe and ISO standards world-wide define the most important features of first choice ceramic tiles :
dimensions/thickness/straightness of corners/ right angles/ flatness
To produce top quality tiled surfaces on floors and walls, the material used must be perfect. The features permitting us to obtain excellent technical and aesthetic quality are guaranteed by the modularity of individual tiles, which must have identical dimensions and thicknesses, must have no hollows or rises (flatness) and must have their sides set strictly at perfect right angles.
Production of ceramic material through a single pressing action under the weight of thousands of tons makes it possible to obtain extremely regular surfaces, and solid porcelain stoneware is a primary example of this; its uniform appearance and the definition of grinding on the sides and corners are some of the peculiarities that help identify it as a hi-tech ceramic product.
Water absorbency is dependent on the porosity of the material’s surface. The least porous ceramic material is porcelain stoneware, at levels of below 0.5%. Eiffelgres hi-tech porcelain stoneware absorbs water at a rate of 0.04% thanks to the specific pressing process conducted in the plant in Viano (RE).
The degree of porosity of a ceramic material is an essential requirement as it determines many other features determining a tile’s quality and dependability.
resistance to bending
An important distinguishing element of floors is a material’s ability to resist given breakage loads. Resistance to bending, which is linked above all to the thickness of the slab, is greater if water absorbency is lower: yet another aspect classifying porcelain stoneware as the most resistant material for tiles.
resistance to deep scratches
Ceramic materials must guarantee resistance to scratching and wear due to footprints and to movement of furniture, chairs, wheeled trolleys, etc. over time in order to maintain the original integrity of their texture and their proper functionality. Porcelain stoneware’s distinctive compactness guarantees optimal performance in terms of resistance to scratching and durability.
resistance to temperature excursions; resistance to frost; coefficient of linear thermal dilation
The thermo-hygrometric properties of porcelain stoneware are dependent on its extraordinary density. As porcelain stoneware has the lowest porosity among ceramic materials, it absorbs less water and therefore is at less risk of cracking or crackling under pressure caused by the increase in volume of water as it freezes. Great temperature excursions are therefore not a problem for porcelain stoneware, a compact material which is homogeneous throughout its entire thickness.
resistance to chemical products
In order to resist the attack of chemical substances such as those contained in cleaning products or resulting from use of acids in particular working environments, the compactness of the surface of the material (which, in the case of porcelain stoneware, extends throughout its entire thickness) constitutes a very important quality once again linked with the material’s low porosity, which excludes the presence of microscopic cracks that can permit penetration and stagnation of aggressive substances. This is aided by the high firing temperatures reached in ceramic kilns (1200°), permitting achievement of greater chemical inertia.
friction coefficient (slipperiness)
A floor’s slipperiness determines the safety of people walking over it and is therefore an essential requirement in a floor.
The slipperiness coefficient, represented by the value “R”, refers to a method specified by German standards DIN 51130 and 51097, which classify products on the basis of their friction coefficient in response to the specific requirements of a given environment.
Depending on the degree of slipperiness, which may be linked with use of particular substances in workplaces or to the presence of water, it is obligatory under these regulations to use a flooring material which will generate considerable friction between the surfaces in contact and thereby make the floor less dangerous for people. The higher the friction coefficient, the less slippery the floor.
The standards distinguish between the slipperiness of floor surfaces in areas where people walk with their shoes on (R9-R13) and with bare feet (A,B,C).
The measurement method specified in DIN 51130 distinguishes among the following slipperiness classes and provides indications as to where they may be used:
In the presence of water, where people walk barefoot, the flooring is subject to even more restrictive requirements. These may be measured on the basis of DIN 51097 standards and classified into assessment groups A, B and C with increasing values:
The chemical and physical properties Eiffelgres requires its materials to meet also include lightfastness of colours, the standards for which are set by German DIN 51094 standards.
The need to test this property is demonstrated by the fact that porcelain stoneware is often used in outdoor flooring or on the façades of buildings, where the material is exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. Porcelain stoneware is generally resistant, especially that made by Eiffelgres, which has passed all tests of ability to maintain tile colour unaltered.
During the firing process the porcelain stoneware is reduced in size to an extent which depends on the temperature of the kiln. And so it may occur that tiles of the same article fired in different cycles are subjected to temperatures which are not perfectly identical, with consequences for linear shrinkage and therefore final dimensions. These tiles will not be of exactly the same size: they will have a different gauge, a different size, though to a limited extent. Eiffelgres supports its customers’ purchasing process and guarantees that tiles are packaged up in lots of homogeneous gauge to eliminate the risk of laying materials of different sizes at the same site.
The “nominal” dimensions appearing on the package are the dimensions used to designate the product (for instance: 60x60), the “manufacturing” dimensions, that is, the “gauge”, (such as 59.5x59.5) or the predetermined production dimensions, which the tile’s real dimensions must approximate within the limits on tolerance permitted by the standards.