Learn the tiling lingo
The degree to which a tiled surface will withstand friction and foot traffic wear. This is measured using an abrasion test and classifies tiles from 1 to 5 or provides it with an R rating in Australia in terms of the type of applications they are suited to(see PEI Rating).
The wear rating of the tile has little to do with the quality or price, only durability. Some of the most expensive and luxurious tiles in the world rate only a 1 or a 2. Whether you require a non slip tile with an abrasion resistance will depend on whether you need a non slip surface for an area such as a pool or your industry requires it, such as in public wet areas, aged care facilities or food preparation areas.
This is important in determining a tile’s sensitivity to stains. The size of the pores and their proximity are contributing factors. It is recognised that although a porcelain tile has a very low absorbency rate, polished porcelain may in fact be susceptible to staining as the polishing process can open miniscule pores on the very surface of the tile. A sealer prior to installation may be required.
Anti-Slip (Low-Slip) Tiles
Tiles that have been treated, or specifically produced to reduce slipping. Not all tiles are made with a non slip surface but they can become non slip. Common processes are adding grit (corundum) to the glaze of a tile, or producing a tile with a structured or roccia surface, or adding studs dots or other raised features to a tile. Tiles can also be acid etched to increase the slip resistance factor. Maintenance has an effect on the overall slip resistance e.g. build-up of dirt and grease will decrease the slip-resistance of the tile surface. Nerang Tiles can advise you on a number of different methods and professionals that can acid etch your porcelain or ceramic floor tile or wall tile to make it slip resistant.
Material used as a base over which a tile is installed.
All tiles are generally produced in batches. This is because they are either all made using one particular mix of dye or a certain type of clay. Generally batches will vary slightly in shade, colour and calibration (finished size). A certain degree of shade variation is inherent in all tiles, be it glazed or unglazed. The manufacturer will limit the amount of shade variation in a carton by sorting the tiles as they come off the production line. Manufacturers assign tiles a batch number to identify them as belonging to the same batch. When tiling a continuous area, tiles from the same batch should be used to ensure consistency in shade, colour and calibration. If tiling two or more separate areas then you can get away with different batches but you need to make sure the boxes don’t get mixed up between areas.
A floor trim also known as bullnose that has a finished edge on one side.
Where the edge of a tile is angled rather than perpendicular to the face of the tile.
Biscuit (Body)This is the structural part of the tile (i.e. singular from the glaze), or often the part the industry refers to when talking about the material or mixture from which the item is made.
Tiles with a brushed finish have a worn-down look achieved by brushing the surface of the tile to simulate natural wear over time.
Tile installation where each row is offset for half of its length. Also known as brick joint or staggered pattern.
A trim tile with a finished edge.
Waterproof filler used to seal joints and make tile joints watertight.
A panel normally ¼" or ½" thick made of cement, reinforced with fiberglass used as a substrate for tile installation.
This is generally made from red or white clay and from slightly different raw materials to porcelain tiles. Ceramic tiles are usually finished with a decorative glaze. Ceramic tiles are used for both wall and floor applications, but are 'softer' than porcelain tiles. Generally best suited to lighter wear traffic, ie residential rather than commercial & tend to carry a PEI of 1 to a maximum of 3 rating. They tend to be more prone to chipping and are less frost resistant than porcelain tiles due to their relatively high absorption rate.
Coefficient of Friction (C.O.F)
The measurement of resistance to friction as related to be effect of how smooth or rough a surface is to prevent material to "slip" across the surface.
Coloured bodied tiles are created with continuous coloured stains from the glaze surface throughout the body of the tile. Synchronising the colour of both the glaze and body lessens the visibility of any chipping or scratches which may occur. The colour remains consistent throughout the tile, but any surface design does not continue through the tile body.
This is an abrasive grit which is added to a tile glaze to increase its slip co-efficiency.
Tile on which the facial edges have a distinct curvature that results in a slightly recessed joint.
A trim tile having a convex radius with a flat landing on the bottom edge. See also Sanitary Base.
The time period that a tile installation setting material must be undisturbed and allowed to set for it to reach full strength.
First quality tiles must meet the standards of their class for length, width, thickness, straightness of sides, rectangularity, and surface flatness. All manufacturers will produce specifications for their ranges, normally outlined in promotional material such a catalogues, which rate these areas against the current standard.
Where a porcelain tile goes through a press, is decorated and then sent through another press before entering the kiln. This is often used to produce the appearance of natural stone and also seals the surface so the porcelain is less porous and more durable.
The residue deposited on the surface of a material by the crystallization of soluble salts.
A two part adhesive system consisting of epoxy resin and epoxy hardener. Used for bonding ceramic tile or stone to backing material.
A two-part grout system consisting of epoxy resin and epoxy hardener. Made to have impervious qualities, stain and chemical resistant. Used to fill joints between tiles.
Feature Strip (Border)
A narrow strip of tile with design, texture or contrasting color that creates a design concept.
The primary tile used to cover a wall or floor.
A tile durable enough to withstand traffic and abrasion.
The final surface applied to the face of a tile that determines its visual and tactile characteristics.
Full Bodied (Through Bodied) Porcelain Tile
This refers to a porcelain tile where the colour and pattern run right through the entire thickness of the tile making it virtually impervious to wear, as the colour or pattern does not change even if the surface is worn down, scratched or chipped. Such tiles are typically suited to high traffic areas and commercial installations.
Ceramic tiles that have been chemically altered during the firing process to produce a material that will hardly absorb water at all, typically with water absorptions below 0.5%. Porcelain is a fully vitrified ceramic.
A mortar used to fill the joints between tiles
A tile that has an impervious facial finish composed of glaseous ceramic materials fused to the surface of the tile
Hard igneous rock consisting chiefly of quartz, orthoclase or microcline. This material can be in tile or slab form
Glazed Ceramic Tile
A ceramic biscuit that has been coated with an opaque glaze, usually for decorative purposes. Soft bodied, this is easy to cut and is mainly recommended for walls. Ceramic floor tiles are generally recommended only for residential use and low traffic installations.
A very popular type of indoor tile. The body of the tile is made from porcelain, but colour/decoration is added to the surface for aesthetic purposes. Porcelain tiles are harder, the material more dense and as a result stronger than its ceramic counterpart. Generally, a wet saw is required for cutting during the installation process.
Gloss tiles are sprayed with a glaze that produces a shiny, reflective surface after firing. These tiles resist dirt and stains and are easy to clean. As a result, they work well in high-maintenance areas that require frequent cleaning such as kitchen and bathroom walls.
Grip /Roccia Finish
An undulating, textured finish that provides low-slip qualities, and can resemble natural rock. They are normally used for external areas and places that need extra traction (wet areas, for example).
A tile finish also known as "Semi-Polished".
Sedimentary stone that could have fossils or shells. This material can be in tile or slab form in a variety of finishes.
Listel or Listello
A decorative border, primarily for walls.
Hardness of a tile’s surface is the measure of its resistance to a substance that will scratch or damage its surface. The hardness of a tile is directly related to the material it is made from, its density & its porosity. The MOH scale can be referred to for measurements of hardness and density.
Honed tiles have a semi-polished to matt look, which is created by polishing using a mechanical procedure which does not remove any material of the tile. The result is a smooth with a soft look and a slightly duller colour than the polished tiles.
Impervious TileHas a water absorption of 0.5% or less
Inkjet Printing Technology
Latest method of manufacturing tiles that allow for diversified designs on tiles so that no two tiles look the same. In this way, natural stone tiles can be replicated realistically.
Small, sometimes decorative tiles used in combination with larger or plain tiles to create patterns. Small square inserts are also known as a taco or tozzetto.
The edge of two tiles engage with each other by overlapping or fitting together to form a solid surface.
The acronym stands for Leadership in Energy and Environment Design. The LEED Green Building Rating System was established by the U.S. Green Building Council. The system defines standards for environmentally responsible, healthier, and more profitable structures. Points are awarded to new construction and major renovation in five categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.
A condition where one edge of a tile is higher than the adjacent edges, giving the finished surface an uneven appearance. This can be avoided by using levelling systems like the Raimondi Levelling System.
Narrow decorative border tile, often designed to compliment a range of field tiles.
Matt tiles are smooth and flat and create a more informal and softer look. This finish is created by stopping short of the last stage of polishing. A matt finish shows fewer scratches, and requires very little maintenance.
Scale used to express the measure of a material’s hardness from Mohs’ 1 (talc - softest) to 10 (diamond - hardest).
A natural stone product quarried from the earth. This material can be in tile or slab form in a variety of finishes.
A wall tile adhesive used to bond tile to wall substrates.
Ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal or stone tile less than six square inches. May come in squares, octagons, hexagons or random shapes mounted for ease of installation.
A slang term referring to thick-bed mortar consisting of sand and cement.
Refers to the approximate size of a tile's upper face or thickness, used for a general dimension of the given product. This is normally in terms of a non-rectified tile as the mm measurement of length, width and thickness can vary slightly.
Has water absorption of 7% or greater. Usually used as a wall covering and suited for indoor, dry area use only.
This rating is established by the Porcelain Enamel Institute to rate the resistance of ceramic tiles to visible surface abrasion. Commonly referred to as "abrasion resistance", this is the most commonly used industry rating for wear. Ratings go from 1 to 5 with 5 being the most durable. To eliminate the possibility of choosing the wrong product, most manufacturers use the following P.E.I guide to rate the durability of each tile.
Where the straight edges of a tile have been rounded and softened, giving the tile a pillowed look.
These tiles are shiny, flat and reflective, obtained by polishing the surface with an abrasive wheel until it shines. The process removes up to 1 mm of material from the pressed surface. They are easy to keep clean and are popular for living, dining and bedroom applications
This refers to a tile made from porcelain clays using a dust pressed method resulting in a tile that is dense, impervious, fine grained and smooth, and with very square sharp sides. This tends to make them frost resistant and the perfect material for external installations.
Mosaic or paver tile composed by the dust-pressed method. Characterized by a dense and impervious body.
Dense unglazed tile that is generally 6" or more in surface area and less than 3/4" thick. Use mostly in commercial spaces because of its slip resistant qualities.
Unlike a typical factory-edged tile, a rectified tile has been cut to size after the firing process. This process creates a precise, 90 degree angle edge and, as a result, can be laid with a tighter grout joint than an un-rectified tile. This gives a smoother, more sophisticated and continuous look to the room overall.
A trim tile having a concave radius on one edge and a convex radius with a flat landing on the bottom edge
A penetrant applied to prevent the absorption of liquids or other debris. Used with porous materials including: quarry tile, grout, and natural stone. Sealer is not necessary for glazed ceramic tile.
A natural material that is known for its dynamic colors and "earthy" appeal. Slate is used outside as well as inside because of its natural look and wonderful colors. Because slate is a product of nature, it is characterized by a high shade variation.
Cross-shaped plastic pieces that are used in installation to evenly separate tile. Manufactured in various thicknesses and shapes.
Semi-Polished (Lappato) Finish
Semi-polished, also known as “lappato” finish is achieved by polishing the tile’s surface with an abrasive wheel but not long enough to attain the luster of a typical polished tile.
Semi-Vitreous (Semi-vitrified) Tiles
Tiles that absorb from 3% to 7% moisture. They are applicable for indoor use only.
As recent advances in technology have allowed for increased flexibility in colour variation between tiles, a scale has been introduced to communicate the degree of variation intended. The degree of shade variation expresses the level of uniformity of colour between the tiles in the same series.
Unlike regular tiles which are commonly 9-11mm thick, slim tiles are only 3-5mm thick, but have comparable strength. This makes them ideal for renovations as they can be laid on top of existing tiles, thereby saving on demolition costs.
Where the face of the tile is changed during the forming process from a flat to a textured surface. This texture can take many forms, ranging from a rough random texture to protruding geometric shapes.
These are tiles which have been precisely calibrated. They have been used extensively in the UK and Europe. Typically the tile is compact and vitrified with a low porosity rate. These tiles normally feature patterns and geometric decorations and the potential to create unique decorations depending on taste is vast.
Thermal Shock Resistance
The ability of a tile to resist alteration when subjected to rapidly fluctuating extreme temperatures.
An adhesive used to attach tiles to a substrate.
A raised member of the floor within the doorjamb.
Similar composition to limestone but with holes created by hot springs. This material can be in tile or slab form also in many different finishes.
Various shaped of bases, caps, corners, moldings, angles, etc.
A hard, dense tile of uniform composition.
Fully vitrified tiles are made from fine particles and fired to high temperatures (1250 degrees) which results in a denser tile with extremely low porosity (moisture absorption of less than 0.5%). Porcelain stoneware tiles are fully vitrified making a layer of glaze unnecessary for the tile to be impervious to water.
Used to define the excess tiles that may be required to factor in cutting. Generally this is 10% of the quantity required. However if the installation is complicated or involves a lot of cutting or a very large tile is being used, the amount of wastage may need to be increased. It is important to factor in sufficient wastage when you purchase your tiles because if you do find yourself short, you may not be able to get tiles from the same batch later.
Glazed tile with a body suitable for interior use. Not expected to withstand excessive impact or be subject to freezing/thawing conditions.
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