What Does “High Fired” Mean?

"High fired” is a term that’s thrown around a lot in the tile world. High fired tiles are sturdy, stunning, and suitable for so many projects…but what exactly does “high fired” mean? If you’re wondering about the benefits and distinctions of high fired ceramic, don’t worry! We promise you’re not the only one.

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12 / 16 / 2022

“Clay and ceramic tiles can be fired in a kiln at different temperatures, which means the outcome of the material is dependent on the heat level. Different heat levels mean different characteristics of the finished product. If you want to find out more about those defining characteristics, you’ve come to the right place! 
High-heat kiln firing with saw dust and olive pits

Turn Up the Heat

 While ceramic is still ceramic, high-fired clay is actually comparable to the density and strength of porcelain. In fact, high-fired ceramic is even closer in solidity to porcelain tile than other low-fired ceramic options. When you set your kiln to a super high temperature, it creates a harder surface. That means the kiln is set to such a high temperature, it makes the material harder and stronger. These tiles are often glazed (but can be offered raw,) and make high-trafficked areas a little easier to handle. Because they have a harder surface, they can withstand a lot more wear and tear than their low-fired counterparts.  
Introducing: Zia Tile’s Upcoming “Cotto” Tiles

Stepping Stones

  So, what’s the difference between high-fired ceramic and actual stone? After all, stone is just organic material that has been pressed together at a high heat. Modern clayware is normally fired somewhere between 1,830-2,190°F, give or take. Stoneware is heated at a temperature ranging from 2,010-2,370°F. It may not seem like a big difference, but when kilns are that hot, those temperature jumps are crucial. The higher the temp, the closer to stone.  

High-Fired, Low Maintenance

  Now that you know what high fired means, you might be asking why you should choose a high fired tile. The biggest reason high fired ceramic is more desirable is because of the water resistance. The difference between a high fired tile and one that hasn’t been fired at a high heat is the porosity. You want a tile with less ability to absorb moisture, to assure longevity and to protect the finished project. The more dense, the more durable. It’s that simple! After your tiles are sealed, the last thing you want to worry about is staining. With high fired tiles, this issue becomes infinitely more manageable. Spill on you new tiles? Just wipe them down with your pH neutral cleaner. Easy-peasy!   

Save the Texture

  If you want a dimensional tile with natural variation, high-fired tile still fits the bill! Just because it’s heavy-duty, doesn’t mean it has less character. As long as the high-fired ceramic are handcrafted (spoiler alert: ours are!) they will retain their visible texture. These perfect imperfections are actually preserved even better in a high-fired environment. Basically, you get the best of both worlds when you choose high-fired. They’re super strong AND each piece is wholly unique. Win-win.  

Hot on the High-Fired Trail

  Thinking about leveling up your living space with high-fired tile? We’re here to help. Zia Tile is based in Los Angeles, but we ship all over the world. We are just about to add our new terracotta “Cotto”  tiles to the high-fired fam. High-fired tiles are denser, easier to clean, and give you all around peace of mind knowing you’ve made a solid investment for the long run! There are tons of colors and cuts to choose from, and you can also place custom orders. With free samples and a high-fired guarantee, Zia Tile is your go-to spot for all things tile. Give our team a call today: 310-844-1170

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