Silica in Tiles & The Impacts of Silicosis

Silica in Tiles

Is silica the new asbestos? What is it and how can it harm you?

Silica or crystalline silica (silicon dioxide) is a naturally occurring mineral and a key component in various construction materials, including tiles.  As silica is found in most rocks and aggregates, when incorporated into tiles it increases the durability, hardness, and wear resistance of the product.

To understand just how common this substance is, Safe Work Australia has outlined common construction materials and their silica content.

These substances are not defined as hazardous substances in their solid form. So how can silicosis occur?


Silicosis and Health Risks

Silicosis is a respiratory disease caused by inhaling crystalline silica dust. This dust is released during the cutting, grinding, or drilling of materials containing silica. Prolonged exposure to airborne silica particles can lead to the development of silicosis, characterised by inflammation and scarring of the lungs.

Type Amount of silica
PorcelainUnder 25%
Slate25 to 40%
Granite20 to 45% (typically 30%)
Natural sandstone 70 to 95%
Engineered stoneUp to 97%
Aggregates, mortar and concreteVarious

Classic Ceramics Commitment to Safety

Our team is committed to ensuring the safety of its customers and maintaining compliance with Australian safety standards.
The company acknowledges the potential risks associated with silica dust and takes comprehensive measures to mitigate these risks in its tile manufacturing processes.

Classic Ceramics tile products adhere to the strict safety standards outlined by the Australian regulatory authorities. The manufacturing processes are designed to minimise the generation of silica dust and prevent its release into the environment. Emphasising the benefits of smaller format tiles, we highlight their reduced need for cutting compared to larger format materials, thereby minimising the potential for silica dust generation.

Our central products are porcelain tiles, boasting silica levels of less than 25%, and a superior alternative to natural stone (50%+ silica content). Porcelain tiles not only offer exceptional aesthetic appeal but also contribute to a safer environment by significantly reducing silica exposure.

On-site tile-cutting methods of porcelain products, whether using wet cutters, scribes, or electrical equipment, see a reduced potential of silica dust comparatively, ensuring a safer and healthier tile installation experience.

As part of our full-service operations, Classic Ceramics offers flexibility in tile-cutting methods. We not only prioritise safety but also provide practical solutions that underscore the advantages of porcelain tiles in reducing the risks associated with silica dust exposure. For those concerned about on-site cutting for larger quantities, customers can enquire with our Classic Design Studio to arrange for all tiles to be safely cut by us before delivery.

Customer Information and Awareness

For over 50 years, Classic Ceramics has prioritised the safety of our customers and employees by adhering to stringent safety standards and implementing measures to mitigate risks. We continue to do this when new safety measures or concerns arise within the Australian public. The company remains dedicated to procuring high-quality tiles while prioritising the health and well-being of all stakeholders.

On request, we provide comprehensive information on particular product ranges to our customers and the material composition.

If you are looking for detailed guidelines on cutting, drilling, and installing tiles, we recommend speaking to your tiler or builder about the minimisation of silica dust during these activities.

Your vision, our expertise.

Our exclusive collection of ceramic tiles caters to diverse project needs, ensuring a blend of aesthetics and functionality. Whether it’s residential or large-scale commercial endeavours, Classic Ceramics is committed to excellence.

For architects and designers seeking tailored tiling solutions, our experts in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are available for consultations. Contact us today to explore our extensive range and discover the ideal tiles for your vision.