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Tile Glossary of Tiling and Technical Terms

Browsing through our site on your hunt for a stylish new set of you tiles, you might come across the odd phrase or term that you've never heard of before - a piece of tiling or technical jargon or terminology. To help clear up any confusion, we've put together this complete and comprehensive glossary of tiling tiles. Don't know what a 'brushed' finish is? Don't know what 'rectified' means? Confused by the term 'bullnose edge'? Consult the glossary...  

Frequently Asked Questions...

 

What is a ceramic tile? 

The main ingredients for a ceramic tile are Clay and Sand. These materials are ground down into a fine powder, water is added and the mixture is then compressed in a mould at high pressure making the “Biscuit”. These are then dried out, primed, painted then glazed, before being fired in a kiln at approximately 1000oC.

 

What is a porcelain tile? 

The way porcelain tiles are made is similar to how ceramic tiles are made. But the Clay used in porcelain (called Kaolin) is much denser than the clay used in a ceramic. With the introduction of Feldspar and being fired at temperatures up to 1400oC, this makes Porcelain much harder than ceramic.

 

What are Granite Tiles?

A hard igneous rock originating from the slow crystallisation of molten magma cooling deep beneath the earth’s surface, this is the hardest stone in our range. Available in a polished finish this shows off the ornate crystals which serve to make up Granite.

 

What are Limestone Tiles?

Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed by the consolidation of sediments, seashells and other organic matter. Each limestone tile exhibits its own characteristic colours and markings. Some degree of edge chipping can be expected together with occasional surface pitting, fossilised shells, fissures and mineral striations.

 

What are Sandstone Tiles?

A coarse-grained sedimentary rock formed by compressed sand deposited by water or wind. It is commonly characterised by a granular surface. Sandstone is a hard yet very porous stone that requires thorough impregnation and surface sealing when used internally. Sandstone tiles in its large flag format are a very popular external choice.

 

What are Slate Tiles?

Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock that is characterised by its ability to be split into broad sheets. Slate is a durable stone which presents a diverse range of colours and textures. We offer ‘riven’ slate tiles, which have a naturally cleft surface and is rustic by its nature, with chips and chisel marks present on some surfaces. Some of our ‘riven’ slate varies in thickness or is ‘uncalibrated’ and therefore requires ‘bedding up’ with the appropriate thick bed adhesive during installation. We also offer ‘honed’ and ‘brushed’ slate tiles that are machined to create a smooth, even surface. Some of the dark honed slate can be prone to scratch marks.

 

What are Terracotta Tiles?

Terracotta is made from natural clay which has been moulded and then kiln fired to bake the clay and produce rigid tiles. The clay is either moulded by hand, these tiles offer a more rustic feel, or machine-moulded for a more consistent finish. All Terracotta tiles will be subject to edge chipping and variation which is part of the finished look of an authentic Terracotta floor. Terracotta tiles, when untreated, are very porous and as such any unsealed tiles will look very different from your finished floor.

 

What are Travertine Tiles?

Travertine is created by hot mineral springs. Resulting in a honey-combed structure which when finished has visible surface pitting and voids. Our travertine tiles are available in either ‘filled’ or ‘unfilled’ finishes. With an unfilled travertine tile the surface voids will be filled with grout during the installation process. Filled travertine tiles have had these pits and voids filled at source with a colour matched stone resin. Whilst this gives a smoother surface, through general usage, some small areas of fill may dislodge or previously unexposed holes may become visible. This is not unusual and the holes should be re-filled with a suitable resin or grout.

 

What does Glazed Porcelain mean?  

Glazed porcelain tiles have a single layered porcelain base that is primed and printed before a layer of hardening glassware is coated over the top. The tile is then fired to harden the surface. These are also referred to a Semi Vitrified tiles.

 

What does full bodied porcelain mean? 

Full bodied porcelain tiles are also referred to as Fully Vitrified tiles. They are made from a single layer of porcelain, for which the pigmentation used to create the face pattern is present through the full depth of the tile.

 

What does vitrified mean? 

A tile that is vitrified has a moisture of moisture absorption rate of less that 0.5%. Semi Vitrified tiles are also referred to a Glazed Porcelain tiles, whereas Fully Vitrified refers to a full bodied porcelain tile.

 

What are encaustic tiles? 

Encaustic tiles are clay tiles where the pattern is, or appears to be, inlayed into the surface. The modern manufacture for encaustic tiles involves firstly moulding the inlay, laying it face down in a tile mould and filling another coloured clay around it. The two layers are the bonded in the firing process. Going back in history, the original method was to paint the pattern on the face of a clay tile with a beeswax based paint. This was then fired to bond the pattern to the surface.

 

What are frosted glass tiles? 

Frosted glass tiles are made from normal glass that is either sand-blasted or acid etched to offer a distorted finish.

 

What is an antique tile finish? 

When a natural tile is first cut, it will have a given textured finish, either riven, bush-hammered or tumbled etc. Over the years through natural foot traffic or wear and tear, this texture will wear down. An antiqued finish tile goes through a grinding down process that is specially done to simulate these effects.

 

What is a brushed tile finish? 

Most common with slate tiles or any tile that would normally have a riven finish which can sometimes be quite sharp or harsh under foot. “Brushing” a tile, will soften the rough edges and smooth down some of the texture, without losing the overall characteristics of the natural finish.

 

What is a crackle glaze finish? 

Crackle Glaze tiles have a crazed or aged effect, by deliberately having the glazed cracked. To achieve this finish specific glazes are now made to shrink in the drying process. However in the past, it was made by causing thermal shock. That means that when the tile was fired, the glaze would expand. Immediately after being removed from the kiln, they were subjected to freezing temperatures which caused the glaze to rapidly shrink, forcing it to crack.

 

What is the difference between “honed” and “filled & honed”? 

If a tile is just honed, it will have any texture and imperfections on the surface removed to make it completely flat and smooth. Filling a tile is an additional method, commonly used on natural stone tiles that contain voids within its structure, like Travertine for example. The voids are filled with a resin to improve the strength of the tile and to block heavy contamination. After the tile is filled, it will then go through the same honing process leaving a completely smooth surface.

 

What is an iridescent tile? 

A tile that has a main base colour, that will appear to display other colours when looked at in different lights or from alternative angles.

 

What is a polished finish tile? 

A polished tile is most commonly a porcelain or natural stone, that is mechanically polished with a fine abrasive diamond wheel to give it an extremely high shine. Not to be confused with a high glazed tile that has the glaze coating layered over the surface.

 

What is a matt finish tile? 

A tile with a dull surface offering virtually no reflection regardless of any atmospheric lighting.

 

What is a satin finish tile? 

A satin finish tiles has a slight sheen, which when viewed a certain angle which will offer a small amount of light reflection.

 

What is a semi polished finish tile? 

Also known as “Lappato”, a semi-polished tile will go through a similar process to a fully polished tile. A tile when first made will have a slight textured surface. This is partially polished with an abrasive diamond wheel, just enough to give approximately 50% of the surface an evenly spread polished finished, whilst the other 50% will remain textured.

 

What is a split face tile? 

Splitface tiles are medium to large tiles that are made from smaller rectangular pieces of natural stone, normally slate or quartzite. The pieces are glued and butted together to make a single tile that does not require grouting. However this means they are only recommended for dry areas.

 

What does 'a tumbled tile' mean? 

Natural stone tiles when made have a straight cut edge and textured surface. For a Tumbled finish, the tile is placed in a large drum along with water, sand and other rocks, then rotated. The abrasiveness of the other materials will naturally smooth down the surface and softly chip and distress the edged to make them more rounded and antique looking.

 

What is a bevelled edge tile? 

A tile that has a subtle slope or slant down to a thinner edge. It helps to add more definition to a tile, and its angled edges help to bounce light around a room. 

Bevelled edge

 

What is a bullnose edge tile? 

Bullnose in now frequently referred to as Round edge. A single round edge tile (or RE) has one side slightly curved whereas a double round edge (or REX) will have two sides curved in an “L” shape. These types of tiles are present within a lot of quarry tile and plain colour ceramic ranges and can be used for steps or windowsills, without the need for tile trim.

Round Edge:

Round edged tile

Double round edge:

Double round edge tile

 

What is a rustic edge tile? 

A non-uniform and fairly random edge that is designed to give a tile a handmade look.

 

What is ink jet tile printing? 

The traditional method of printing a tile was via a series of different coloured rollers to create the pattern. Nowadays, Inkjet printing is more commonly used as it is more accurate, easier for the factory to set up and cheaper costs. Similar to a computer printer for your documents, the principle of printing tiles is the same. A print head will “jet” the required amount of ink when and where required as the tile passes under it on a conveyor belt. It is an essential method for creating ultra realistic, high-definition and non-uniform patterns like a natural marble effect where every tile needs a different layout of veining, or Moroccan style tiles that have wide variation of pattern and colour. 

 

What is meant by 'shade variation'? 

Shade variation is a difference in colour or texture from one tile to the next, and is inherent in all tile products. In most cases it is deliberate for the creation of textures that mimic a natural variation like a wood or stone effect tile. But due to the calibration of machinery between printing runs, one batch of tiles to the next may also contain variation in colour or pattern. All natural stone is subject to shading as this is a characteristic within any irregular stone.

 

What is meant by 'tile density'? 

The density of a tile will depend on the materials it is produced from, how it is compressed and the temperature it is fired at. Ultimately this is calculated before manufacture when determining whether a tile will be created for wall or floor purposes. A lower density will be made from lighter materials like clay, solely for installation on a wall. Where as a heavier density porcelain is more commonly used for floors which will need to withstand years of foot traffic.

 

What is meant by water absorption in tiles? 

Water absorption is the amount moisture that can be taken in by a tile. Most porcelains have an absorption rate of less than 0.5% and are classed as impervious. Whereas the base of a ceramic tile can take in as much as 10% and in some cases more. The absorption amount may dictate where the tile can be used and which adhesive is used to fix it. If an impervious tile is used, a cement based adhesive with additional bonding polymers is required. Whereas ceramic tiles being more porous offer a natural key for the adhesive to key into.

 

What is a wet area or wet room? 

A shower area that is created where the use of a shower tray or screen is not required. The floor is angled to promote water flow to a drain system that is situated directly into the floor.

 

What is the biscuit of a tile? 

The main base structure of a glazed tile, generally made from clay or porcelain.

 

What is meant by listel or listello? 

A listello is a border tile or feature strip used to either enhance the look of surround wall tiles or to separate two different designs.

 

What is a grout joint? 

As it is not recommended for tiles to be butt jointed, a grout joint is put in place around the tiles. Its purpose is to prevent the flow of moisture from reaching the back of a tile, as a buffer to limit the effects of vibration and the expansion/contraction caused by temperature change, and is available in many colours to compliment or highlight the colour of a tile.

 

Glossary of Useful Terms: 

 

Abrasion Resistance

The ability of a surface to resist being worn away by friction and rubbing. For floor tiles, this is graded using the PEI rating.

 

Absorption

The amount of water absorbed by a tile. This is described as the ratio of the weight of the water absorbed to the weight of the dry tile, expressed as a percentage.

 

Adhesive

An adhesive or glue is a material, usually in a liquid or semi-liquid state, that adheres or bonds items together. Adhesives come from either natural or synthetic sources.

 

Aggregate

Granular material, such as gravel, sand, iron blast-furnace slag and crushed stone, used with a cementing medium to form a hydraulic-cement, mortar or concrete.

 

Antique Finish

When a natural tile is first cut, it will have a given textured finish, either riven, bush-hammered or tumbled etc. Over the years through natural foot traffic or wear and tear, this texture will wear down. An antiqued finish tile goes through a grinding down process that is specially done to simulate these effects.

 

Backer Board (Cement Board)

Normally, a 12mm thick cement backerboard for tile and stone, to be used as an alternative to plasterboard for tiling on walls.

HardieBacker 12mm is a water-resistant, cement backerboard for tiles that fastens directly to the wooden frame of a wall. 

 

Bevelled Edge

A bevelled edge refers to an edge of a tile that is not perpendicular to the face of the piece. A bevel is typically used to soften the edge of a tile for the sake of safety, wear resistance, or aesthetics.

 

 

Biscuit

The main base structure of a glazed tile, generally made for clay or porcelain.

 

Blistering

The development of enclosed or broken bubbles in a body, glaze or other coating during firing.

 

Bonding Agent

A substance that is applied to a suitable substrate to create a bond between it and a succeeding layer.

 

Bowing 

Bowing or warping in tiles is caused during the manufacturing and cooling process. It is important to realise that a certain amount of warping across a tile is acceptable under the standards. The calculation for acceptable warpage is related to the size of the tile and the degree of warp across the length of the tile. This will tend to be exposed in rectangular shaped tiles, laid in a brick-bond formation. 

 

British Standards

There a number of British Standards that are used in the wall and floor tile industry, these include Standards which define ceramic and natural stone tiles, tile fixing, tile adhesives and grouts. The British Standards are written by tile industry specialists and are available to purchase from British Standards Institution.

 

Brushed Finish

Most common with slate tiles or any tile that would normally have a riven finish which can sometimes be quite sharp or harsh under foot. “Brushing” a natural stone surface with a coarse wire rotary brush, will smooth down some of the rough texture, without losing the overall characteristics of the natural finish.

Bullnose or “RE” (Rounded Edge)

A trim tile with a convex radius finished edge. This tile is used for turning an outside corner or for finishing the top of a wainscot.

 

 

 

Bullnose Corner or “REX” (Double Rounded Edge)

A type of bullnose trim that has a convex radius on two adjacent edges.

 

 

Bush-hammer

A hammer that has a rectangular head with jagged or serrated faces, and is used for roughing concrete to provide a bond.

 

Butt Joint

A joint that is found where the field of tile meets adjoining walls. This type of joint needs to extend through the tile work.

 

Ceramic

An article that has a glazed or unglazed body of crystalline or partly crystalline structure, made from inorganic non-metallic materials and formed by the action of heat. One of the most important of these ceramics are the traditional clays, which are made into tiles, bricks, pottery and the like, along with cements and glass.

 

Cove

A trim tile unit that has one edge with a concave radius. This type of tile is used to form a junction between the floor and the bottom wall course or to form an inside corner.

 

Crackle Glaze

A crazed or aged effect, made by deliberately having the glazed cracked. To achieve this finish specific glazes are now made to shrink in the drying process. However in the past, it was made by causing thermal shock. That means that when the tile was fired, the glaze would expand. Immediately after being removed from the kiln, they were subjected to freezing temperatures which caused the glaze to rapidly shrink, forcing it to crack.

 

Crazing

The cracking that occurs in fired glazes or other ceramic coatings due to critical tensile stresses normally caused by temperature changes and vibration.

 

Cure Time

The time period that a tile installation setting material must be undisturbed and allowed to set for it to reach full strength. The cure time varies widely, and is dependent on the type of compounding used, the thickness of the product, and so on.

 

Cushion Edge Tiles

A tile on which the facial edges have a distinct curvature that results in a slightly recessed joint.

 

De-Coupling Membrane

This is typically a polyethylene membrane with a grid structure of square cavities, each cut back in a dovetail configuration and an anchoring fleece laminated to its underside. Designed for tile and natural stone installations, it serves as a waterproofing membrane, a vapour pressure equalisation layer to accommodate moisture occurring at the underside of the substrate and an uncoupling layer for problematic substrates.

 

Diamond Saw Blade

A diamond blade is a saw blade which has diamonds fixed on its edge for cutting hard or abrasive materials. There are many types of diamond blade, and they have many uses, including cutting stone, concrete, asphalt, bricks, coal balls, glass, and ceramics in the construction industry.

Drilling

Drilling or boring holes into tiles, is a common requirement for certain projects. We would generally always recommend that a Diamond Tip Drill bit is used, especially with porcelain tiles, for the cleanest and most efficient cut.

 

Encaustic

Encaustic tiles are clay tiles where the pattern is, or appears to be, inlayed into the surface. The modern manufacture for encaustic tiles involves firstly moulding the inlay, laying it face down in a tile mould and filling another coloured clay around it. The two layers are the bonded in the firing process. Going back in history, the original method was to paint the pattern on the face of a clay tile with a beeswax based paint. This was then fired to bond the pattern to the surface.

 

Epoxy Adhesive and Grout

A two-part adhesive or grout system that consists of an epoxy resin and epoxy hardener. This type of adhesive / grout is is formulated to have impervious qualities, stain and chemical resistance.

 

Expansion Joint 

A joint that extends through tile, mortar, and reinforcing wire from the substrate. This type of joint is normally found in the field of larger tiled floors and walls. Also referred to as Movement Joints.

 

Floating Floor

A floating floor is a floor that does not need to be nailed or adhered to the subfloor. (Eg. – Laminate Flooring). If the main substrate is a floating floor, the main base of Chipboard or Plywood is loose laid over the joists.

 

Frosted glass

Made from normal glass that is either sand-blasted or acid etched to offer a distorted finish.

 

Full Bodied Porcelain / Fully Vitrified

Made from a single layer of porcelain, for which the pigmentation used to create the face pattern is present through the full depth of the tile. It also has a water absorption rate of 0.5%

 

Glazed Porcelain

Tiles that have a porcelain base that is primed and printed before a layer of hardening glassware is coated over the top which is fused to the body. These are also referred to a Semi Vitrified tiles.

 

Grade

This is our internal reference (1-5) for the durability and robustness of a product. Grade 5 is the most hard-wearing type of product that we can offer (Most commonly Porcelain), which can be recommended in areas of high traffic or weight. EG – A shopping centre / car showroom.

 

Grout

A silica sand, cement and chemical mix for filling tile joints. As it is not recommended for tiles to be butt jointed, a grout joint is put in place around the tiles. Its purpose is to prevent the flow of moisture from reaching the back of a tile, as a buffer to limit the effects of vibration and the expansion/contraction caused by temperature change, and is available in many colours to compliment or highlight the colour of a tile.

 

Heavy Duty Tile

Tile suitable for areas where heavy pedestrian traffic is common.

 

Honed

The surface of a tile has been refined by high speed machines to produce a smooth flat surface, leaving edges square.

 

Honed and Filled

Natural stone tiles that have had any holes filled with resin and the surface polished to produce a smooth surface finish.

 

Ink Jet Tile Printing

The traditional method of printing a tile was via a series of different coloured rollers to create the pattern. Nowadays, Inkjet printing is more commonly used as it is more accurate, easier for the factory to set up and cheaper costs. Similar to a computer printer for your documents, the principle of printing tiles is the same. A print head will “jet” the required amount of ink when and where required as the tile passes under it on a conveyor belt. It is an essential method for creating ultra realistic, high-definition and non-uniform patterns like a natural marble effect where every tile needs a different layout of veining, or Moroccan style tiles that have wide variation of pattern and colour.

 

Iridescent Tiles

A tile that has a main base colour, that will appear to display other colours when looked at in different lights or from alternative angles.

 

Lappato or Semi Polished Finish

A tile when first made will have a slight textured surface. This is partially polished with an abrasive diamond wheel, just enough to give approximately 50% of the surface an evenly spread polished finished, whilst the other 50% will remain textured.

Lipping

The bigger the tile, the more obvious any variations in flatness will be. A tile can be well within the British and International standards and still have variations in flatness. This, normally, is no problem but when laying 500mm x 500mm tiles or larger it can show up in one corner of a tile being slightly higher than the adjacent tile. This is called “lipping”. This is especially obvious when the tiles are of the “rectified” type which means they have a square edge rather than a rounded or “cushion” edge. These are a few pieces of advice we  have to minimise lipping. First and most importantly, don’t lay large tiles in “staggered” or “brick bond” pattern. If the tiles are prone to lipping this will show it up immediately.


Listel or Listello

A border tile or feature strip used to either enhance the look of surround wall tiles or to separate two different designs.

 

Matt Finish

A tile with a dull surface offering virtually no reflection regardless of any atmospheric lighting.

 

Microban

Microban® antibacterial protection: Helps inhibit growth of bacteria (e.g. Listeria, Salmonella, E-Coli) and black mould It provides added hygiene protection for bathrooms, showers and food consumption areas. This is included in certain BAL Adhesive / Grout products.

NOTE: Microban® antibacterial protection is NOT a substitute for good hygiene practices.

 

Micropores

A pore in a particular material whose diameter is less than 2 nanometers.

 

Mitreing

The process of cutting a tile at an angle.

 

Mural

Tile that has been installed in a precise area of a floor or wall to provide a picture or decorative design.

This may consist of ceramic tile, painted and fired to form a picture or design, or glass or marble mosaic tile (tesserae) made to form a picture or design.

 

Nippers

Special pliers that nibble away little bites of ceramic tile to create small, irregular or curved cuts.

 

Nominal Sizes

A term used to describe the approximate thickness or facial size of tile for general reference.

 

Non-Vitreous

That degree of vitrification evidenced by relatively high water absorption. The term typically signifies more than 10% water absorption, except for wall and floor tile which are considered non-vitreous when water absorption exceeds 7%.

 

PEI Rating

The PEI system is used through out the world for grading floor tiles according to the resistance to wear and tear of their finish.  PEI stands for Porcelain Enamel Institute.

Grade 1 - Light domestic use - tiles suited to areas of the home where you are barefoot or soft footwear is worn, i.e. bathrooms and bedrooms.

Grade 2 - Moderate domestic traffic - tiles suited to use in the home except in areas where there is direct access to outside such as hallways and kitchens.

Grade 3 - All domestic use - suitable for all areas of the home including kitchens and hallways.

Grade 4 - Tiles suitable for domestic and public use where moderate to heavy traffic occurs i.e. hotel lobbies, restaurants and supermarkets.

Grade 5 - Tiles suitable for all types of use whether domestic or in public areas of very heavy traffic.  

 

Pinholes

Imperfections in the surface of a ceramic glaze or body, resembling pin pricks.

 

Polished Finish

A polished tile is most commonly a porcelain or natural stone, that is mechanically polished with a fine abrasive diamond wheel to give it an extremely high shine. Not to be confused with a high glazed tile that has the glaze coating layered over the surface.

 

Porcelain

A glazed or unglazed vitreous ceramic white-ware made by heating raw materials, often including clay in the form of kaolin, to high temperatures in a kiln. Porcelain tiles are dense, usually impervious, fine-grained, and smooth with sharply formed face.

 

Pot Life

The period of time during which a material maintains its workable properties, after it has been mixed.

Riven or Riven Effect

The tile has been hand split or produced to resemble this, where a layered effect will be visible to the top surface of a tile (Eg Slate).

 

Rectified Tile

A product that has undergone a further machining process , where the tile is cut AFTER the baking process, to produce clean edges on all sides - Perfect for a minimal grout line.

 

Rustic Edge

A non-uniform and fairly random edge that is designed to give a tile a handmade look.

 

Sandblasted

Also known as shot-blasted. Process where sand is sprayed at very high speed onto the surface of stone, usually to generate a non-slip or rough finish.

 

Satin Finish

A satin finish tiles has a slight sheen, which when viewed a certain angle which will offer a small amount of light reflection.

 

Screed

A thin, top layer of material (traditionally sand and cement), poured in situ on top of the structural concrete or insulation, on top of which other finishing materials can be applied

 

Sealant

A continuous film or penetrant used to prevent the absorption of liquids or other debris. Sealants are not necessary for glazed ceramic tile, but should be used with porous materials such as quarry tile, grout or natural stone.

 

Semi-Vitreous

That degree of vitrification evidenced by 3-7% water absorption.

 

Shade Variation

A difference in colour or texture from one tile to the next, and is inherent in all tile products. In most cases it is deliberate for the creation of textures that mimic a natural variation like a wood or stone effect tile. But due to the calibration of machinery between printing runs, one batch of tiles to the next may also contain variation in colour or pattern. All natural stone is subject to shading as this is a characteristic within any irregular stone.

 

Shelf Life

The maximum interval during which a material may be stored and remain in a usable condition.

 

Silicone Beading

A soft, plastic based material (Caulk) applied to finish projects to a professional standard. The beading is applied to stop water penetrating  into joints around wash basins, bathtubs or shower trays etc. 

 

Slip-Resistant Tile (Anti-Slip Tile) (COF – Coefficient of Friction)

A tile that has greater slip-resistant characteristics due to abrasive particles in the surface, an abrasive admixture, or patterns or grooves in the surface. Anti Slip floor tiles are given a resistance rating (R9 to R13) to help grade the non slip level differed by a particular tile. This is known as the "R" value. R13 is the resistance recommended by many professionals for public wet areas such as showers in a changing room. Whereas R9 and R10 values are often used and recommended for domestic bathrooms or kitchens where the risk of slipping is less.

 

Spacers

Plastic pieces that are used in installation to evenly separate tiles.

 

Splashback

A panel or area behind a sink or cooker that protects the walls from splashes. A common product is a Glass Splashback.

 

Splitface

Splitface tiles are medium to large tiles that are made from smaller rectangular pieces of natural stone, normally slate or quartzite. The pieces are glued and butted together to make a single tile that does not require grouting. However this means they are only recommended for dry areas.

 

Substrate

The underlying support for the ceramic tile installation; for example, floorboards, concrete, plaster).

 

Tanking

A waterproofing membrane applied to a shower enclose before tiling in order to protect the underlying substrate from water penetration. EG - Wet rooms are totally water sealed by the application of special sealing tapes, waterproof underlays or membranes and ‘tanking compound’ which, when fully cured, creates a fully water tight area. The application of the tanking compound is carried out before the installation of the wall and floor tiles. Tiling and panelling alone will not create a wet room since some tiles and grout may be porous.

 

Tile Density

The density of a tile will depend on the materials it is produced from, how it is compressed and the temperature it is fired at. Ultimately this is calculated before manufacture when determining whether a tile will be created for wall or floor purposes. A lower density will be made from lighter materials like clay, solely for installation on a wall. Where as a heavier density porcelain is more commonly used for floors which will need to withstand years of foot traffic.

 

Tolerance

The margin in which a tile’s sizing difference / warping, is accepted.

 

Tumbled (Hand Chipped)

Natural stone tiles when made have a straight cut edge and textured surface. For a Tumbled finish, the tile is placed in a large drum along with water, sand and other rocks, then rotated. The abrasiveness of the other materials will naturally smooth down the surface and softly chip and distress the edge to make them more rounded and antique looking.

 

Unfilled

Travertine in particular, tends to display holes and pits when cut, which have been created by natural air pockets.. Unfilled travertine is often part filled during the fitting process with grout. The resulting surface finish is not as smooth as factory filled tiles. Instead, a natural looking, textured finish is achieved.

 

Upstand

The use of a tile or coving tile, in an upright fashion (Similar to skirting boards). These tend to be used as skirting boards in more commercial applications and as a skirting around a kitchen counter-top, in domestic applications.

 

Vitrified

A highly compressed porcelain tile that is highly impervious to water penetration. A tile that is vitrified has a moisture absorption rate of less that 0.5%. Semi Vitrified tiles are also referred to a Glazed Porcelain tiles, whereas Fully Vitrified refers to a full bodied porcelain tile.

 

Wet Area or Wet Room

A shower area that is created where the use of a shower tray or screen is not required. The floor is angled to promote water flow to a drain system that is situated directly into the floor.


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