Engobes are mixtures of raw materials and a percentage of frit. They are applied on tiles for various reasons but mainly to provide an interlayer between glaze and tile body. Engobes cover the body with a white or cream layer as most tile bodies are red or terracotta in colour.

Another function is to protect the glaze from degassing (gases) from the body during the firing process. If this is not done the glaze shows faults like pinholes, blisters, etc.

Another reason is to match the thermal expansions between tile body and glaze, producing a flat tile.

Lastly in some applications it is used to provide a vitreous layer that water cannot pass through the fired tile body, to glaze surface, making unsightly “water marks” on installing the tiles.

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