tile talk

Be more of a tile guru!

Every industry has its distinct lingo and the tile world is no different. Knowing some basics will help you understand your tile options and maybe even impress your style-conscious friends. Here are some key tile terms organized in a few different ways: characteristics, different materials, styles, and installation.

Tile Characteristics

  • Abrasion – the amount of wear caused by foot traffic a tile can sustain.
  • Absorption – the amount of moisture able to penetrate the tile, often described as vitreous or non-vitreous tile.
  • ASTM – American Society for Testing & Materials – producers of the ceramic tile rating system to measure abrasion, scratch resistance, absorption, chemical resistance, hardness, and durability.
  • Grade – rating system on the tile quality measuring the current condition of the tile material, thickness, shape, and size.
  • Slip resistance – measurement of the dynamic coefficient of friction to ensure traction when treading across the wet tile.
  • Through-body – consistent color throughout the tile.

Tile Types

  • Cement – tiles incorporating mineral pigments into the cement mixture and design, and formed via the hydraulic press.
  • Clay – tiles fired at very high temperatures, such as ceramic, porcelain, terra-cotta ceramic.
  • Glass – brittle, non-crystalline substances produced by fusion usually containing silica; often recycled for other purposes.
  • Metal – solid metal or resin with a metallic coating, such as stainless steel, copper, and bronze.
  • Stone – any naturally occurring rocks that are quarried and processed for tile use, such as granite, travertine, slate, quartz, marble, sandstone, limestone, soapstone.

Tile styles

  • Bullnose – tile with a rounded edge used as trim.
  • Cove – concave trim found where a wall and floor meet.
  • Dimensional – sculpted surface creating a three-dimensional effect.
  • Field tile – the primary tile for a design.
  • Finish – the surface appearance of tile that may be natural to the tile or processes to achieve a certain look such as glazed (matte, semi-gloss, high-gloss), inkjet, honed, antiqued, brushed, pillowed, polished, sand-blasted, textured, tumbled, water jet, or weathered.
  • Floor tile – tile designed to withstand abrasion and traffic.
  • Format – shape, and size of a tile, such as half-inch square, mosaics, penny, pencil or finger, rectangle, or subway.
  • Trim – angles, corners, molding, caps, and other various shaped pieces used to complete a tile design.
  • Wall tile – lighter tile designed for interior use, often unable to adjust well to freeze/thaw cycles or withstand heavy wear and tear.

tile installation

  • Adhesive – material used to bond tile to another surface.
  • Batch – a set of tiles created and cut at the same time.
  • Caulk – material used for sealing joints.
  • Cure time – the amount of time for the tile to be left undisturbed so that the bonding material will reach its full strength.
  • Grout – cement or epoxy used to fill space between tiles.
  • Layout – the design used to lay the tile.
  • Lippage – the difference in elevation of tile.
  • Sealant – water-based or solvent-based sealers to protect tile and/or grout.
  • Substrate – tile foundation is usually made of concrete, plywood, and drywall.
  • Thin-set – tile adhered directly onto a backer board with a thin layer of mortar.

Are you one of those go-getters who just like to do things yourself?

We not only understand, but we applaud your ambitions- and we’re here to help. We’ve put together a number of DIY videos to help you get things done around the house without enlisting the help of the pros.

Contact Us for Mosaic Tiles & More!

Are you interested in designing your home or business with some of the best glass, mosaic, or porcelain tile options in the state of South Carolina? Reach out to us today and let us know what we can do for you! From kitchen and bathroom tile, we have what you are looking for!

4965 Dorchester Road
North Charleston, SC 29418

Free Design Consultation

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