5 things to look out for when buying white wall tiles:-
Italian white wall tiles were the best you could buy ten years ago - whites were white and no issues had - then a few years ago everything changed.
Italian made wall tiles were always of exceptional quality, then eight years ago cheaper wall tiles started coming in, mostly from China, and different problems started to arise with these cheaper products with cases arising of white wall tiles turning pink or yellow. What was actually occurring in these cases was that the porous backs/biscuits of the tiles were drawing water into the tile through the adhesive with the result that wet areas in bathrooms, like showers, would appear to change color from white to pink or yellow and you would have instances resulting of walls having damp wall tiles.
Other problems associated with the cheaper products were different shades of tiles (differing tonality) within boxes and lots of pin-hole markings on the glazed surfaces, typically created during the firing process in the oven kiln and usually due to impurities in the tile being glazed.
Chinese white wall tiles have come along way since then, however, and are especially good these days if you ensure to buy quality product from a reputable company - here's what you need to ensure to watch for
1 - Is it white ?
Look at the white tile and compare it to a white wall or, even better, a white ceramic toilet or basin - this will provide you with a good comparison of how white the tile really is - there is nothing worse than buying a white that turns yellow or pink against your wall.
2 - Rectified or un-rectified.
Choose between rectified or un-rectified tiles. Rectified tiles have sharp cut edges that then provide a minimal grouting joint look when laid. This is great if you have straight walls giving you a seamless look, unfortunately not many bathroom walls are level, so watch out for this. If your walls are not straight and you still want a modern look, rectified will still work and give a crisp clean feel. Un-rectified works well when you have an older style unit or home and your walls are far from straight, as the rolled soft edges can hide how uneven your walls are.
3 - Pin-holes
Beware if your tiles have a lot of pin-holes. Having the occasional one is not a big issue but if you find them on almost every tile then I would question whether the product is first grade. So if a sample tile has them, ask to check a few more tiles from the batch before buying, it is too late once laid as they will be noticeable in a well lit bathroom, where good sized windows will further hightlight them, especially when viewed at an angle.
4 - Egnobe
Ensure to ask if youir tiles have Egnobe - this is a must, this substance is applied to the tile during the firing process and can't be added afterwared. It ensures the tiles STAY white when wet - I would not personally ever take a chance on buying any white wall tile from China or elsewhere if it does not have Egnobe, as the chances are they will turn a different colour to the rest of the walls in a wet shower area. Be wary of very cheap white wall tiles as the chances are they do not have Egnobe, and again, once laid it will be too late to prevent the problems associated with this from arising. This cannot be seen so you need to buy from a reputable company that you can trust that they indeed purchase tiles with egnobe this cost extra to produce and many do not pay the extra to do this on there tiles..
5 - Buy reputable
Buy from a reputable company where quality matters - with the specials you can get, this does not necessarily mean a high price tag - but you do not want to compromise on quality as the expense of trying to fix a damp problem later will be far more costly than asking the right questions up front and ensuring you purchase a quality product.
Classic Ceramic Importers have been around for 40 years - we do not compromise on quality. Have a look at our great quality whites on the link below - giving you peace of mind.
Mark yes if you have found this information helpful - Thank you.
Adele Friedman ( The tile Lady)