Portuguese ceramic tiles of different origins from XVIth century to XXth century were studied. In this work we describe microstructural, mechanical and mineralogical characterisation and water absorption studies. Microstructural features (pore size) were determined using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) photographs. Mechanical tests (four point bending) were performed and the bending strength was determined from the fracture loads. From water absorption essays the absorption coefficient and the total amount of water retained were obtained and the open porosity was estimated. The maximum water absorbed tends to decrease from XVIth century until XXth century, showing a more pronounced drop for the tiles of the XIXth and XXth centuries. This evolution is also observed in the open porosity values. From image analysis data we also observed that porosity decreases progressively with time and an important drop is observed for XXth century tiles. The bending resistance of tiles from XVIIth to XXth century is almost constant and higher than that of XVIth century samples. This evolution does not correlate with porosity. Advances in ceramic processing, such as higher firing temperatures may lead to the appearance of quartz as almost the only crystalline phase. We consider that an increase in the bending strength is due to a more effective vitrification and a lower porosity.