A few years ago at Cersaie—the ceramic tile industry’s biggest trade show, which takes place in Bologna, Italy—the trend was large-format tiles with thicknesses as low as three millimeters. That seems to have changed. The Italian manufacturer Mirage has produced a three-quarter-inch-thick, full-body porcelain tile. The heavy EVO2/e (it stands for “evolution, 2 centimeters, exterior”) allows for dry installation over surfaces like grass, gravel, and sand, or raised-floor installation using one of three flexible mounting systems. It offers huge possibilities for outdoor flooring, and an alternative to natural stone and concrete slabs.
Why use a thicker tile for outdoors? EVO2/e is four times harder than a regular porcelain tile, and 15 times harder than natural granite. “It’s easier to maintain, compared to natural stones and concrete,” says Valerio Doga, the U.S. area manager of engineering for Mirage. “If you laid the tile directly on a surface, you could drive a car over it, and the tile wouldn’t break at all. It is almost indestructible.”
Since its release last year, the product has had several outdoor applications in Europe, and it’s starting to gain traction in the United States. “We’re seeing it used for shopping malls and gardens in Florida, and it’s being used for rooftops in urban areas like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles,” Doga says. Because EVO2/e can be installed without grout or adhesive, the flooring system can be easily removed if users want to change the look. “Thin-tile technology is very good, but the applications seem limited,” Doga says . “This three-quarter-inch tile is a great solution that has many practical applications.”