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Grout & Tile Dictionary and Fun Facts

- A -

Abrasion Resistance -- A measure of the ability of a tile to withstand wear by friction.

Absorption-- The penetration of water into the particles of a tile.

- B -

Biscuit-- The clay body with no glaze applied. The side under the glaze of the tile (i.e., the body).

Bicottura Tiles (Double-Fired)-- Glazed tiles produced by an initial firing of the shaped, raw materials to produce a hard tile body or bisque and then a re-firing of the bisque once the glaze or decoration has been applied.

Brush Hammered-- An uneven surface to the tile.

Bull-Nose Tiles-- Trim tiles featuring one rounded edge used to finish wall installations or trim outside corners.

- C -

Ceramic Tile-- A ceramic surfacing unit, usually relatively thin, composed of a clay body or a body composed of a mixture of ceramic materials, and having a glazed or unglazed surface. Ceramic tiles are used principally for decorative effects and sanitary purposes.

Clay-- Earth which has been processed in the course of millenniums resulting from the disintegration of volcanic rocks.

Cotto-- A natural red clay fired tile.

Crazing-- A fine hair-line cracking which sometimes appears on the glazed surface of a tile caused by tensile stress between the tile body and the glaze. May also be produced intentionally for decorative effect.

Cushioned Edges-- Rounded corners rather than square.

- D -

Dust-Pressed Tiles-- Raw materials are dried and pressed into shape before firing. The powder-like condition of clay that is die-stamped to the desired shape.

- E -

Earthenware-- Non vitreous, opaque ceramic white ware, glazed or unglazed.

Expansion Joints-- A joint in an installation sometimes filled with an elastic material, which will permit expansion, contraction or other movement without the development of excessive stresses or damage to the installation and to the tiled floor.

- F -

Frit-- The raw material used for producing the glaze.

Frost-Proof Tiles-- The qualification of a tile to withstand temperatures of below Zero (0) centigrade.

- G -

Glazing-- Processing phase during which the support is covered with a layer of very fine particles which form the glossy and decorated surface of the tile.

Grout-- The material used in installations to fill the joints between tiles.

Groutdye- used to seal and color grout

- I -

Impervious Stoneware Tiles (Porcelain)-- Also known as China, these are unglazed tiles composed of raw materials which produce a non-porous bisque of high mechanical strength.

Inserts-- Small, sometimes decorative tiles, used in combination with larger or plain tiles to create patterns.

- J -

Jolly Tiles (Mitered Tiles)-- Tiles mitered along one or two edges used in corner and counter edge installation.

- L -

Listellos-- Glazed color trim and decorative accessories, usually for wall tile.

Lug(s)-- Small button-like protuberances on the underside of many Italian produced tiles to facilitate adhesion.

- M -

Matt Finish-- A glazed surface with very little shine. Sometimes called Satin.

Monocottura Tiles (Single-Fired)-- Glazed tiles produced by the single-fired method in which the raw tile body and glaze undergo a single pass through the kiln. Also called Monoporosa.

Mortar-- Tile setting material.

- P -

Pencils-- Thin, glazed trim, usually 3/8" by 6" in length. Comes in decorative colors.

Picket-- A picket shaped tile which may be used alone or as a border for squares creating a more intricate pattern.

Pillowed Edges-- Same as cushioned edges. Softly turned rather than square edge.

Polished-- A clay or marble tile that has a shine due to a friction type of sanding.

- Q -

Quarry Tile-- A natural clay tile.

- R -

Red Body Clay (Bisque)-- A natural clay that is fired for strength. The color is brown in its raw state, but turns red under heat.

Red Stoneware Tiles-- Tiles composed of typically Italian raw materials which produce a red, vitrified tile body suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Generally unglazed.

Ribbed Finish-- A ridged or ribbed tile face which provides a slip resistant surface.

Rustic Finish-- A rough or uneven tile surface designed for a non-mechanical or artisan effect.

- S -

Sealer-- Clear coatings sometimes applied to unglazed tile floors to protect the surface from grease spills or add luster to a surface.

Silk-Screening-- Glazing phase in which the glaze is enriched with different decorative patterns.

Single-Fired-- A system called Monocottura where the glazed and clay bisque is fired at one time.

Slip-Resistant Tiles-- Tiles treated to prevent slipping, particularly for commercial showers or swimming pools. An abrasive grit is often added to the surface of glazed tiles.

Spacers-- Small plastic or wood pieces used during installation to maintain even joint wrath between tiles.

- T -

Terracotta-- Traditional Italian raw material used to produce unglazed red body tiles generally extruded and 1/2" thick or more. Surfaces may be rustic or smooth and waxed for lustre. Red clay.

Thick-Bed-- Method of installation using cement based mortar applied in a minimum thickness of 3/4" to create the backing surface on which tiles will be installed.

Thin-Set-- Alternative to thick-bed installation, using a bond-coating less than 1/8" thick. Requires a level and sound surface for success.

Trim Tiles-- Designed to meet requirements of specific applications.

- U -

Unglazed Tiles-- Tiles left untreated after firing. Highly durable.

- V -

Veined-- A design that imitates the coloring in marble.

- W -

White Body Clay-- The clay compound that is formed by using only white clays.

Fun Tile Facts

Clay bricks were dried beneath the sun 

Chinese glaze was produced during the Shang-Yin Dynasty (1523-1028 BC).

In the early days, the tiles were hand-made

Ceramic tile is used almost everywhere inside or outside - on walls, floors, ceilings, fireplaces, in murals, and as an exterior cladding on buildings.

Today ceramic tile is not "hand-made" or "hand-painted" automated manufacturing techniques are used and the human hand does not enter into the picture until it is time to install the tile.

Ceramic tiles are processed at a high temperature at some time during their manufacture. In the ceramic industry, this heat treatment is usually referred to as "firing" and furnaces in which the heat treatment is performed are called "kilns." The temperatures used in firing ceramic products range from approximately 1100 degrees F. to 3200 degrees F. Temperatures as high as 4200 degrees F. can be obtained in some special type kilns.

The majority of raw materials used by the ceramic industry are the oxides of metals. The three metals which have been the mainstays of the industry for many years are clay, flint, and feldspar. 

Ceramics are defined as products made from inorganic materials having non-metallic properties, usually processed at a high temperature at some time during their manufacture.  

The word "ceramics" comes from the Greek word "Keramos" meaning "Pottery," "Potter's Clay," or "a Potter." This Greek word is related to an old Sanskrit root meaning "to burn" but was primarily used to mean "burnt stuff."

Granite is volcanic (or Igneous) rock. When molten material from the Earth's core called "magma" comes up to just beneath the Earth's surface and cools, it becomes Granite. Granite is very hard and extremely durable. It has a very grainy structure and can be polished well. This type of stone comes in a variety of colors ranging from salt and pepper to reddish brown to jet black.

Slate is a shale-type stone, having a straight cleavage. It is sedimentary in its origin often formed by a consolidation of volcanic ash. Colors range from black, grey & green to reddish brown.

Ceramic Tile is a man-made product

Marble, Granite, Slate, Limestone and Quartzite are natural products made by Mother Nature. 

Marble has been used for centuries 

Limestone is a layered (or Sedimentary) rock. Primarily composed of calcium (from seashells), it is the original rock from which marble is created

Quartzite is a stone composed of grains of Quartz cemented together by Silica.  It is a firm and compact stone with a body harder than marble. Its color is a blend of light & dark grays and silver with flecks of quartz lending a sparkle. Some stones have swatches of orange-rust running throughout..

Ceramic tile can make an excellent hot plate  

Ceramic tile increases the value of your home

Slate can be used indoors and outdoors and offers a natural non-slip surface. It can be used almost anywhere - residential and commercial, on walls, roofs, shower enclosures, around pools

The proper installation of tile will bring a lifetime of function and beauty.

Glazes that are on ceramic tile are a liquid glass applied by either being sprayed or poured onto its surface. It is then fused to the body of the tile using tremendous heat during the firing process

When hygiene is a concern, the perfect choice for any environment would be ceramic tile. Most ceramic products do not retain liquids, absorb fumes, odor or smoke.

ceramic material is the most stain resistant building product in the world

Porcelain Tile is suitable for exterior floors and walls in freezing and non-freezing climates. Porcelain can withstand the heaviest of traffic. Porcelain is the strongest of all tiles to help ensure a long, beautiful life. Porcelain tile can be used for commercial use and residential.

Ceramic Tile is made from clay and other ceramic material. Ceramic tile can have a glazed or unglazed face, and is fired above red heat to produce special physical properties and characteristics. Though not as durable as porcelain, ceramic is a strong type of tile suitable for light commercial and residential indoor uses.

Quarry tile is made from natural clay or shale. Mainly used outdoors and in commercial kitchens, equipped with an abrasive or non-abrasive surface. Quarry is slip resistant and used for industrial applications requiring high compressive strength.

Marble is a natural stone that is quarried directly from the earth. It has a variegated appearance made from metamorphic rock that consist of calcite or dolomite. Marble can be used mainly for indoor use, not exterior use.

Tumbled Marble is a natural stone that is tumbled to distress a look of age. Tumbled stone has a weathered surface and worn edges that lend an air of rustic elegance to any home. Tumbled marbles are mostly used indoors and recommended to be sealed.

Granite is a coarse-grained igneous rock composed mainly of quartz and mica; this is as hard as a diamond. It has a variety of striking colors.

The average ceramic tile contactor gets 15-20 dollars per square foot to set the tile

The newest thing to do with tile is to tile all the floor in your home, including bedrooms and living room

Putting cement backer-board and tile on your walls makes them more sound proof than sheetrock and paint, and easier to clean.

Uses real rock in your kitchen flooring makes it seem like your outside, and is cool to walk on.

Lying on a heated ceramic tile floor is cozy and relaxing

If you drop a can of soup on ceramic tile it will chip the tile and you will be able to see the brisk of the tile (usually white or red), If you drop a can of soup on porcelain tile it will chip the tile and you will see the same solid color all the way though the tile.

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