Tiling & Technical

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… 

Ceramic 

The main ingredients for a ceramic tile are Clay and Sand. Ceramics are mainly used for wall tiling and are internal use only.

Panda Tiles Ceramic

Granite

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. 

Slate  

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. Some of the dark honed slate can be prone to scratch marks. 

Terracotta  

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. 

 

Feature Floors

Vitrified

A tile that is vitrified has a moisture absorption rate of less that 0.5%.

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.

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.

Outdoor

Matt Finish 

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

Satin Finish 

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

Tumbled Tile

Natural stone tiles when made have a straight cut edge and textured surface.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. 

Bevelled Edge

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. 

Bullnose

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.

Inkjet

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

Wood Effect

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. 

Bowing 

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.

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.

Bullnose Corner or “REX” (Double Rounded Edge) 

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

Butt Joint 

This type of joint needs to extend through the tile work. 

Crazing 

The naturally occuring characteristic of glazed tiles. 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

Epoxy Adhesive and Grout 

A two-part adhesive or grout system that consists of an epoxy resin and epoxy hardener.

Expansion Joint 

A joint that extends through tile, mortar, and reinforcing wire from the substrate. Also referred to as Movement Joints. All areas there is a change of plane (such as 2 walls or a floor and wall) required the tile installation to contain a flexible movement joint. 

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% 

Grade 

This is our internal reference (1-5) for the durability and robustness of a product. Grade 5, Eg – A shopping centre / car showroom. 

Grout 

A silica sand, cement and chemical mix for filling tile joints. 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 complement or highlight the colour of a tile. 

Heavy Duty Tile 

Tile suitable for areas where heavy pedestrian traffic is common. Read Tiling & Technical.

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 

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.

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 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. Read Tiling & Technical.

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.

NOTE: Microban® antibacterial protection is NOT a substitute for good hygiene practices. Read Tiling & Technical.

Micropores 

A pore in a particular material whose diameter is less than 2 nanometers. Read Tiling & Technical.

Mitreing 

The process of cutting a tile at an angle.

Mural 

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.

PEI Rating (wearing grade) 

PEI stands for Porcelain Enamel Institute. Read Tiling & Technical.

Marble Look

Pinholes 

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

Porcelain 

A glazed or unglazed vitreous variation of ceramic, but with the inclusion of extra materials required for vitrification such as Kaolin clay, silica, feldspar and sand.

Sandblasted 

Also known as shot-blasted. Read Tiling & Technical.

Satin Finish 

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

Sealer 

A continuous film or penetrant used to prevent the absorption of liquids or other debris.

Semi-Vitreous 

That degree of vitrification evidenced by 0.5-3% 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. Read Tiling & Technical.

Silicone Beading Tiling & Technical

A soft, plastic based material (Caulk) applied to finish projects to a professional standard.

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.

Splashback 

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

Substrate 

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

Tanking Tiling & Technical

A waterproofing membrane applied to a shower enclose before tiling in order to protect the underlying substrate from water penetration. Tiling and panelling alone will not create a wet room since some tiles and grout may be porous. 

Tumbled (Hand Chipped) 

Natural stone tiles when made have a straight cut edge and textured surface. 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.

Twin Charged Porcelain 

The bottom is full bodied porcelain and the top is soluble salt; allowing for more intricately designed print.

Unfilled 

The resulting surface finish is not as smooth as factory filled tiles.

Upstand 

The use of a tile or coving tile, in an upright fashion (Similar to skirting boards).

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