What is Glazed Tile?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Glazed tile is a type of ceramic tile to which a glaze has been applied. After the glaze is painted or sprayed on, the tile is fired at high temperatures, causing a chemical reaction which makes the glaze vitrify, essentially turning into glass. The resulting tile is resistant to water and stains because of the glaze, and it has an attractive look, as a wide variety of colors and designs can be created with glaze, with finishes ranging from extremely glossy to matte. Any store which stocks tile flooring will carry glazed tile, typically in a range of configurations for people to choose from.

The high-temperature glazing process gives tiles a glass-like look.
The high-temperature glazing process gives tiles a glass-like look.

People have been making ceramic tile for centuries. Ceramic tile is made from clay which is rolled out into a flat sheet and then cut into tiles which may be rectangular, triangular, square, hexagonal, or anything in between. The resulting tiles are fired in a kiln at a high temperature to harden them, making them durable and useful for a range of purposes. If the tiles are glazed, the glaze is applied to the hard tiles after this first firing and then the tiles are fired again at a temperature which varies, depending on the type of clay and glaze used.

When used with watertight grout, glazed tiles offer waterproof flooring.
When used with watertight grout, glazed tiles offer waterproof flooring.

There are a number of advantages to glazed tile. One of the most obvious is that these tiles do not require sealing from water, because they are already sealed; if a watertight grout is used to lay a glazed tile floor, the floor will not need to be sealed and then resealed as the sealant wears off. Glazed tiles can also come in a range of textures, from more coarse matte tiles which are good for flooring since they provide traction to high gloss, very smooth tiles which work well for countertops and splashbacks.

It is possible to find glazed tile which is glazed with a single color as well as decorative tiles with designs like flowers, animals, and plants on them. Many people like to mix their tiles to create patterns of color and shape which can be very aesthetically pleasing. Glazed tiles can also be used to create mosaics, patterns made from numerous individual pieces of tile.

In addition to being used for flooring and splashbacks, glazed tiles can be used to create accents in walls and doorways, and as trivets for hot pots. They are also typically oven safe, so some people like to use glazed tiles to heat food on, or on the stove as a place to rest spoons and other utensils.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Is glazed tile also vapor proof?


Great post! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this, this has been very helpful! I am looking in to getting some tile in my home and this helps a lot!


can tile that is already set be glazed?


what is the chemical composition of the a glazed tile? What is its density? What is its porosity?

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