Sourcing Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles in China

Tiles in general are a commonly used as wall and floor finishes in many buildings. In this blog post we will show the difference of tiles, how we can help you to source tiles for your project and what to consider when importing tiles.

Tiles are being manufactured in many countries – even countries with high labour costs such as Japan, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Germany and the United States have outstanding tile manufacturers. These are often well known brands with modern design and also a corresponding high price. China on the other hand is one of the biggest production bases of tiles worldwide with a great number of manufacturers, that can manufacture tiles to a fraction of the price. One might think this is because of a lower quality or unattractive designs – but this is not true. Quality of ceramic and porcelain tiles has improved dramatically over the last decades and Chinese manufacturers are now on a par with their western competitors. Further, the plain huge amount of manufacturers and designs in China is showing that you will always be able to find a suitable modern design for your purpose. In China most tile manufacturers are located in Guangdong Province, which is also a main manufacturing hub for construction material in general. Foshan City for example hosts numerous tiles markets, with thousands of Chinese vendors and manufacture’s showrooms. 

The difference: Ceramic and porcelain tiles

The main material difference of tiles, is ceramic and porcelain. “According to the industry group that decides whether a tile is porcelain or ceramic, everything boils down to whether the tile can meet a set of highly controlled water absorption criteria. Both ceramic tile and porcelain tile usually receive a surface glazing that makes them hard to distinguish from one another.” TheSpruce.com

Porcelain tiles have a water absorption rate of 0.5 percent or lower – while the tile water absorption of ceramic tiles is more than 0.5 percent. Therefore porcelain tiles are considered to be higher quality tiles, and can also be used outdoor. Procelain tiles also has a higher tile hardness.

Full-bodied and glazed tiles

Further to this material difference, we can differentiate full bodied and glazed tiles. Glazed tiles have a front surface that has been further enhanced by glazing. This is particularly suiteable for being used in residential projects and as wall tiles. Full-bodied tiles on the other hand, have a surface colour that is the same all the way through the tile body. Thus full bodied tiles are better for public areas, and corridors where a high pass through rate is expected. The reason for this is quite simple: Full bodied tiles have a greater wear resistance, and even if the top layer is wearing out, the layers beneath it have the same color and structure, so that it won’t be visible. Glazed tiles on the contrary will look used and worn out once the glazed layer is gone.

Designs

Tiles can imitate almost all materials and even come in wooden and timber looks. There are huge tile slabs that can cover big areas and small mosaic tiles, that create a very special look. There are marble tiles, granite tiles, limestone tiles and much more. There are no limits to your design ideas. Here are some tiles catalogues to get some ideas. Get in touch with us, if you want to review more catalogues:

How we work

We help our clients to source tiles of all kind in China. The procurement process always depends on the project and design team. In any case we will guide your team the entire process, manage your supply chain and do quality control in China. We also supervise the container loading and manage product design and prototyping in case we are setting up custom-made designs. Here are the 3 most common ways we work with our clients:

1. Buying Trip in China

We like to invite the architects or interior designers of the projects we work on, for a buying trip in China. In this time we are able to visit show rooms, choose tiles finishes and get the design choice done here on the ground in China.

2. Matching your samples

When tile designs already have been chosen, we can work with your samples and find matching alternatives in China. Depending on the total order quantity, we can also set up custom-made designs that imitate your original choice.

3. Working with our catalogues

If the specifications process on the project is just starting, we can hand in our tile catalogues for review and your designers can choose from a great choice of tiles. We will also send samples and if needed different options for approval.

Import Duties and Anti-Dumping Duties

At any point you should be aware that there are import duties, and in some areas, such as the European Union there are special anti-dumping duties on ceramic tiles from China, or countervailing duties. Nevertheless, there are ways to avoid anti-dumping duties, and often the cost savings when sourcing in China are still significant compared to purchasing tiles locally. Contact us if you want to know more about the import duty in your region.

Why working with us?

We offer competitive prices, easy and fast communication, while focusing on your requirements. We also realize smaller quantities and there is no minimum order quantity. Further, we have a wide network of qualified Chinese tile suppliers, that offer quality products – no matter if you need standard floor tiles, or special mosaic tiles. Get in touch with us and source your tiles in China now.

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