Knowledge is the one important thing that may help you decide if ceramic tile is for you? It has been said that what you don’t know won’t hurt you. We strongly disagree. At A & H Floors we believe that knowledge is king. When you are shopping for floors, this is especially important.
Knowing which ceramic or porcelain tile product is best for a particular room, and the activity in that room can help you be a wise shopper and can save your budget in the long run -- unwise buying decisions can lead to expensive replacements or repairs.
This section is created for that reason.
A & H Floors wants you to understand everything about ceramic products. Whether it’s at our floor store or here on our website, we want you to give you all the expertise about ceramic tile you need to. Armed with this knowledge you can choose the right product and right purpose.
With our experience, we can provide you with valuable information, communicated in an easy to understand way. All so you make the smartest decisions for you, your family and home.
We believe that the more you know about porcelain or ceramic, the more inclined you’ll be to do business with people you trust and a company in the know.
Read more to learn if beautiful and versatile ceramic tile is the answer for your flooring needs.
Know this: ceramic is many things. Ceramic is vibrant. Its unique character, texture and nature-made material add energy, excitement, and charm to any room.
Ceramic is optic. Its massive amount of styles, shapes, patterns, colors and finishes offer you a visual from elegant, quiet and serene to dynamic, emotional and provocative.
Ceramic creates magical and mysterious. With a tradition that dates back to ancient times and civilizations, ceramic tile can be found in almost every of setting in diverse cultures and structures around the world.
From lavish homes, institutions and government buildings, to spiritual religious structures like cathedrals and mosques.
Old yet modern. Contemporary ceramic tile has been around for centuries, and with today's technology, makers of ceramic tile have created new design and application possibilities that were not available even just a decade ago.
If you have never used ceramic tile before or if it has been a long time since you have done so, you will be astonished at the large selection of colors, sizes, shapes and new textures that are now available.
Natural products make it a natural for homes. Ceramic tile is a natural product made up of clay, a number of other natural minerals, and water.
Glazed ceramic tile has a ceramic coating applied to the body of the tile, which gives the tile its color and finish. Glazed ceramic tile is the natural choice for your interior floors and walls.
And there’s logic to glazed ceramic, through these various qualities.
Durable - a properly installed ceramic tile will surpass and outlast nearly any other floor covering product created for the same application.
But what about the care? – and that’s for you, right? Glazed ceramic tile resists stains, odors, and dirt and can be cleaned up with a damp mop or sponge or common household cleaners.
Ceramic tiles are fundamentally a low-maintenance material. However, even glazed tiles are somewhat porous, and require care and attention, especially in heavy traffic areas.
In our ceramic maintenance segment A & H Floors will share ideas on how to keep tiled surfaces looking brand new, and performing well for you year after year.
Scratch resistant - GradeIIIand Grade IV glazed ceramic tiles are extremely resistant to scratching and you should not have to worry about a cut or tear like you do with some other types of floors.
What about the environment you ask - ceramic tile is manufactured using natural materials and does not retain odors, allergens, or bacteria.
Attractive and versatile - modern ceramic manufacturing technology has created an endless number of colors, sizes, styles, shapes and textures that will add rich beauty and character to any home’s decor.
Fire resistant - ceramic tile doesn't burn nor emit toxic fumes. Even hot kitchen pans or skillets will not burn or melt the surface of glazed ceramic tile.
Water resistant - most glazed ceramic tile has a dense body that permits most to be installed outdoors. This also means spills from common liquids found in a kitchen are not a big worry.
In summary, ceramic tile is a convenient, functional choice for your floor that offers you a unique opportunity for self-expression because of its beauty, flexibility and design potential.
Ceramic tile exhibits a versatility of colored glazes and decoration, and can range from simple terra cotta tiles to highly decorated individual ceramic tiles creating intricate mosaics. Your choices are almost endless.
But whether it be a simple layout, or a decorative patterned design, ceramic tile is important in defining the character of the home.
Their simple geometric design make ceramic tile easy to design into different sized spaces and in a diverse range of home styles, and explains much of the popularity of ceramic tile throughout history.
The extensive range of colors, textures, sizes and styles will allow you to reflect your personal style, to create a living space that is a true reflection of you and your lifestyle.
Or you can opt for an understated look with more universal appeal, which will help add value to your home.
Unrivaled in visual appeal and lasting beauty, ceramic tile will elevate and enhance any room in virtually any style home. We hope our entire section on ceramic products will add to your knowledge and understanding, and make you a smarter shopper.
Buying ceramic tile can be challenging, unless you know this. The good news is that ceramic flooring offers you a multitude of styles, textures, patterns and price points. However, all that variety, and decisions, can be real challenging for the unknowing shopper.
In this section we’ll introduce you to information on topics such as ceramic tile trim, color and shading, moisture absorption and grout. All in our effort to make you a smarter shopper long before you open your checkbook or get out the charge card.
That way your final decision not only creates a warm, beautiful living environment but also delivers what ceramic floors are noted for: excellent durability and easy maintenance.
So we invite you to read on. Come learn the ins and outs, the tips and hints, the delights and discoveries of this unique product called ceramic tile.
For those who love to customize, ceramic rules. The beauty of ceramic tile is the flexibility you have with design options, especially through the use of the accent pieces: trim work and decorative tiles.
However, if you’re interested in applying trim work and decorative tiles you should know that there is a definite step-by-step procedure.
The correct order of this process is to first identify the room and its application, select the type of tile, then its color and shade, and then its texture and size.
Finally, a layout pattern is designed, the trim and decorative patterns are determined, and the grout color and type are chosen.
Adhering to this process will ensure a smooth installation without any missing elements.
To help you insure a smooth understanding of floor tile trim terminology, allow us to cover a few definitions.
Floor Tile TrimsBullnose. It has one rounded finished edge on the tile to give a nice finishing touch. Sometimes it is also used as a substitute for cove base.
Corner Bullnose. It has two rounded finished edges on the tile to be used to complete a corner.
Sanitary Cove Base. It has a rounded finished top like a bullnose to cover up the body of the tile.
Important tips on variation, texture, shading and color.Many of today’s popular styles of ceramic tile are designed to look and feel like natural stone, emulating their rugged surface and color variations.
It’s important that you understand these variations when designing with ceramic tile.
These tiles are intended to show color and texture variations, just like natural stone. Since the composition of the tile’s glaze also varies, different tile styles will also exhibit different gloss levels.
You should also be aware that solid color tiles provide a consistent look, however shade variation is inherent in all fired ceramic products and certain tiles will show greater variation within their dye lots.
Shade variation is usually listed on the back label of each sample with a low, moderate, high or random rating. Here, to help you, are the definitions:
Low. Consistent shade and texture
Moderate. Moderate shade and texture variation
High. High shade and texture variation
Random. Very high shade and texture variation
The color of the body of the tile is determined by the color of the clay used by the manufacturer that is available in their geographic region.
Look at the body of the tile to see if the color is red or white. The quality of the tile is more related to the quality of the manufacturer, not the color of the body.
Color variations will also be present between manufacturers’ samples of the same color and throughout installed countertops, wall tile or ceramic floors.
Color consistency is something you should understand and carefully consider when selecting ceramic tile. Our sales associate will be happy to review with you what to expect from different ceramic tiles.
What smart shoppers should know about moisture absorption and tile density. As the composition of glaze varies, different styles of tile will exhibit different gloss levels and surface textures. This is important to note when choosing your ceramic tile flooring.
For example, in areas that are used while wet, such as your shower or bathroom floor, they should have low moisture absorption and good slip resistance.
Moisture Absorption means that, as the density of the tile increases, the amount of moisture that tile can absorb becomes less.
Tile Density means that, as the weight or the density of the tile increases, it becomes a stronger tile.
Tile density and moisture absorption have an indirect relationship to each other. What this means is that as the density of the tile increases the moisture absorption rate becomes less.
Tile density and moisture absorption is important for you to understand when selecting tile for different applications. Here is some information to help in your decision making process.
Non-Vitreous Tiles are tiles that absorb 7% or more moisture. They are suited for indoor use only.
Semi-Vitreous Tiles are tiles that absorb from 3% to 7% moisture. They are applicable for indoor use only.
Vitreous Tiles are tiles that absorb less that 3% moisture. They are referred to as frost resistant tiles but cannot be used in exterior areas where freeze- thaw conditions could cause tile cracking.
Impervious Tiles are tiles that have less than .5% moisture absorption. These tiles are frost proof and can be used in exterior areas or on the outside of building facades.
The ins and outs of grout.Grout is typically mixed on site, but slight color variations can occur within different areas of the same installation with the same grout color, and can vary from the manufacturer’s sample you saw in the store.
This can be attributed to variations in temperature and humidity at the time of grouting and it’s just a fact of life.
It is also common to see grout variations when comparing the grout color in a tile floor and the same grout color on the tile countertop or wall.
When choosing a grout color you can select a color that blends in with the overall color of the tile to minimize the appearance of the grout.
Or you can select a grout color that is lighter or darker than the tile.
If the tile is installed in a high traffic area then you may want to select a darker grout.
Exact layouts, type of grout and grout joints widths are determined by the tile setter at the time of installation and are governed by the actual size and shape of the tile, and the exact dimensions of the areas to be covered.
Once the tile has been laid and grouted, it is your responsibility to maintain all caulked areas to guard against water damage. Grout may also darken over time in areas with heavy water use.
Also, changes of season can cause surfaces adjoining the tile to expand and contract, causing the grout to crack and separate.
A word or two about subfloors. No subfloors are perfectly level. So, you may hear hollow sounds where your subfloor’s surface dips and ridges.
Be assured that this does not affect the integrity or installation of the ceramic tile. Hollow sounds are normal and are not considered a product or installation defect.
Get on top of the bottom line. Know the entire cost of ownership. The “cost per square foot” of your ceramic floor is just one component of the entire project cost. To ensure there are no surprises, and the ceramic you select fits within your overall project budget, be sure to ask us to calculate the total cost of your floor covering project.
Here’s a list of potential additional expenses you may incur:
Demolition/disposal of old floor covering. Depending on the existing floor covering, this can be an expensive item; also, be sure to include the cost to dispose of the old floor covering.
Subfloor preparation. Depending on the condition of the subfloor, it may require additional work.
Installation. Determine the cost per square foot to install it.
Materials required to complete the installation. Your new floor may require additional materials to install it properly.
Also, don’t forget to ask the retailer and consult the manufacturer’s warranty and care guide for directions on how frequently your floor should be cleaned and the cost to clean it.
There’s a lot to know and consider before buying your ceramic tile floor, but it’s well worth the effort.
If you’re a smart and knowledgeable ceramic tile shopper it will put us in fine spirits. And, hopefully, put your home into showcase status.
Installation day is coming, know this to prepare. So, you’ve reviewed this site, smartly shopped our store and have made your ceramic purchase decision. Well done, but you’re not completely done.
Allow us to offer two more words of advice: be prepared. Get ready for the day your new ceramic flooring will arrive for installation.
Being prepared and involved will help insure that the installation process is done smoothly and efficiently, and, hopefully, eliminate expressions of “I wish I’d asked about…”.
Knowing what to expect will also be a lot less stressful on you, your family and your home.
To that point, we’ve built this section around many of the things you should be aware of, plan ahead about, and carefully consider.
Let the pros do the job.Installing this type of floor is difficult work, labor intensive and extremely exacting.
We strongly recommend you call upon a reliable, seasoned, dedicated professional to install your ceramic floor. That way you can be assured of a beautiful, efficient and correct installation.
However, while installing ceramic tile flooring is a skill that is developed through years of experience, your understanding of the basics of installation will increase your knowledge of the process and enhance your confidence in the professionals working in your home.
Ceramic tile installers are craftsman with age-old skills. Expertise has been handed down from one generation to the next over dozens of centuries.
The substrate is where it all begins. Over the years, new methods and materials have been introduced, but tile setting remains the same hand-operated, labor-intensive process that it has been since ancient times.
That process begins with the preparation of the tile foundation, or what’s called the substrate.
Common materials used as tile substrates in home installations include concrete, plywood, and drywall.
Each substrate has its own unique set of issues, yours included, and is prepared according to industry and manufacturer guidelines. So you can rest assured it’s done to recognized standards.
The first step in your ceramic tile installation involves the cleaning of the substrate. Dirt, moisture, and oil can interfere with the adhesion of the tile, so care is taken to remove all foreign debris prior to beginning.
Next the installers will level the surface of the substrate. Why is this step necessary? It’s to provide a strong support base for the tile, and to ensure that the individual tiles will appear flat when installed.
Flat, obviously, is the goal. If the substrate is not level or flat, the result could be tiles not being set correctly that can cause chipping or cracking when weight is applied.
Once the substrate has been leveled it may have a waterproofing layer applied to it. This is important in installations where the tile is frequently exposed to moisture, like kitchens, bathrooms, and exteriors.
Through thick and thin, tile setting has progressed.In the past, ceramic tile was installed using what is called the thickset or mud set method.
In this method, a thick layer of mortar was applied to a waterproofed and steel reinforced substrate.
This provided a strong, flat base onto which the tile was installed.
The thickset method is effective, but it’s an involved and labor-intensive process. An alternative method was searched for – and found.
Today, many tile installers have opted for the industry accepted and more efficient thin set method, where the tile is adhered directly onto a backer board that is nailed to a plywood or concrete substrate using a much thinner layer of mortar.
This backer board is called a CBU, or cement backer unit, which provides a supportive and water resistant layer between the porous substrate and the mortar and tile applied on top of it.
The best-laid ceramic floors are planned. Once the substrate has been prepared, the next step is to create a layout plan.
This plan shows the dimensions of each room, and will help determine the amount of ceramic tile and other materials needed for the installation.
The installer will use this plan to estimate the amount of product needed, and to anticipate any installation issues that may be caused by architectural features like stairs, transitions, and cabinets.
The installers will also use the layout plan to determine the pattern and orientation of the installed tile.
Chalk keeps things straight. A chalk line is commonly used to lay down a guide for the installer to work from.
This leaves a temporary line that can be used as a straight guide.
Forget point “A”, installers start at point “T”. Next, a single row or column of tile is laid directly on the substrate without adhesive.
This step gives the installers a better sense of how the tile will fit into the room.
Another row or column is then added perpendicular to the first, forming the shape of a ‘T’, giving the installer a starting point for their tile setting.
Once the installer has determined the correct layout, the next step is to apply the adhesive mortar to the substrate.
Next, grout comes into play. Once the tiled floor has been set into place and left to fully cure, usually 12 to 24 hours, the grout is applied.
Grout is available in a wide range of colors, and in sanded and unsanded forms.
Sanded grout is commonly used for grout joints that are wider than 1/8th of an inch. This type of grout joint is typically used with floor tile because it helps strengthen tile joint and it will not sag after it is cured.
Unsanded grout is used with narrow grout joints typically found with wall tile and many natural stone installations.
So, you may be wondering, how long before I can walk on my new floor?
The mortar and grout need 24 hours to cure before walking on the tile.
This ensures that the tiles won’t shift or become loose before the adhesive thinset mortar and grout have a chance to set.
In some installations the tile may be mopped daily for several days to prevent the grout from cracking, pulling moisture from the underlying mortar, or curing unevenly.
And that is how your new ceramic floor would be professionally installed.
What to know and do before installation dayFurniture is first on your to do list.Remove all furniture and other objects and materials from the areas where the installation will take place. Some installers will move your furniture, but there may be an additional charge for doing so.
Before moving, you’ll also need to empty the contents of china cabinets, closets and the like.
Be aware that the area of installation must be climate controlled (heated or air conditioned). Indoor humidity should be maintained between 45-65%.
Make a decision on your old floor covering.Please consider how your old floor covering will be taken up and disposed of. We recommend that you check with us about the cost and the method of disposal.
If you prefer to remove your present floor covering, do it at least one day prior to installation to allow for cleanup and floor preparation. If removing old carpet, please leave tack strips in place and pull the staples out of the floor from the original pad.
Now turn your attention to the trim. In many cases, moldings and baseboards need to be removed for installation. Your installer may do this but at an additional charge and they will probably not be responsible for damage or breakage due to dry or brittle wood.
Painted baseboards, woodwork and paint may need retouching after the installation is complete. If necessary, this is your responsibility.
Next on the list is the subflooring.Your existing subfloor may need to be prepared to receive the ceramic, or a new subfloor may be required. We suggest you discuss this with us and, if subfloor work is necessary, that it be done by qualified professionals. It is important that the subfloor be as clean and level as possible.
Know this about your doors.When your new floor is installed, there’s always the possibility that the doors, especially closet, basement and bedroom doors, may not clear the new floor and swing free.
Some installers will remove doors in order to install the new floor and re-hang them if possible. They probably won’t shave or cut down doors to insure clearance. You should check with us as to their policy and the cost. You may need to arrange for a qualified carpenter to provide this service after the installation of your new floor.
Check up on the clean-up. Installing new ceramic will produce waste.
Usually, these materials are collected by your installer and left at your trash collection site. Check with us before the day of installation so you’re clear about the clean up, if there are added costs to do so, and ask about the plan for remnants.
What to know and do during installation dayPlan on being home.Be prepared to be at home the day of installation and be available in case the installation crew has questions. Your presence will insure that the correct ceramic is installed in the right areas. Because it is difficult to estimate the length and circumstances of each job, some installers may not be able to give you an exact time of arrival. We suggest you be flexible and keep in touch with us.
We insist on wall-to-wall safety. Your installers will use a variety of tools and techniques that can make the work area hazardous. Please make sure that your children and pets are kept out of the work area on installation day.
Walk through, don’t run.We recommend that, prior to the completion of the installation, you walk through the job with the chief installer. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and be clear on any final details.
What to know and do after installation dayIf you are sensitive to dust and odors, good ventilation should be established for 48 to 72 hours after installation.
When it comes to preparing for your ceramic tile installation, we want you to know. Know all about the steps to take and the issues to consider. That way, installation day is a positive experience and the first of many days of enjoying your beautiful ceramic tile.
Sooner or later, time and traffic, life and living, will take its toll on any floor covering. Ceramic tile is no exception. But take heart, keeping your tile as clean and beautiful as its first days in your home just takes know-how.
In fact, understanding the best methods to care for your ceramic flooring will help maintain its beauty and keep it close to its original condition.
Plus, knowing what’s expected of you regarding upkeep can be a determining factor in which type of ceramic tile to purchase.
All reasons why we called on our years of experience and created this section on ceramic upkeep.
Ceramic tile should be swept and not beaten. It’s important to sweep a tile floor regularly. Dirt can adhere to the surface of tile, particularly styles with a textured surface. Regular sweeping loosens and removes most of this dirt.
Don’t forget those labor saving devices, either. Feel free to use a vacuum cleaner to sweep, but be sure to use one without a beater bar to avoid dulling and scratching the tiles.
However, the attachments that accompany vacuum cleaners are useful to collect dirt along edges or in between tiles.
Don’t let dirt have its way.Be sure to use walk-off mats to minimize and contain dirt being tracked in at entryways. And shake them often.
This reduces the amount of dirt being tracked across the tile floor, and reduces the wear to the finished surface.
Ceramic tile floors should be damp-mopped regularly using the manufacturer’s recommended grout and tile cleaners.
For heavier soil, you can spot clean the floor with a sponge or clean cloth using the recommended cleaners.
Rinse well and wipe dry for more shine. Textured tiles may require mild scrubbing with a soft brush or electric polisher/scrubber.
After cleaning with a mild detergent rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water to help remove any leftover residue. If needed, wipe dry with a clean towel to remove any film.
For soft water situations you may need to use an all-purpose cleaner.
Apply to the floor, let stand for 3 - 5 minutes, lightly scrub with a sponge, rinse well and you’re home free – dirt free too.
For heavier cleaning tasks there are cleaning products available from your local grocery store that can be used to remove soap scum, hard water deposits, and mildew stains.
You’ll want to consult the cleaning product’s instructions to make sure the product is compatible with your type of tile.
After cleaning, rinse well and wipe dry for optimum shine. And maximum pride.
Cautions and considerations. Avoid using steel wool, scouring powders, or other abrasives that can scratch the finish of the tile.
Don’t use bleach or ammonia-based cleaners, as these products can discolor your grout if used too often.
Also, do not clean glazed tile with oil-based cleaners.
Be fast on your feet. Try to clean up spills as quickly as possible so that the grout or tile doesn’t become stained.
While ceramic tile is considered very durable, it’s not indestructible and may crack or chip under extreme force.
Take the proper precautions when moving heavy objects across your tile floor. Get a small army to help you move that grand piano.
Cover furniture and table legs with protectors to guard your floor against damage.
Keep in mind that if a repair is necessary in the future, the replacement product may be a slightly different dye lot and/or texture than the initial installation.
However, the good news is that, with time and usage, the repair will blend in with the original product.
Two measures for prevention: caulking and sealing. Once the tile has been laid and grouted, it’s your responsibility to maintain areas exposed to water by caulking.
Caulking will prevent expensive subsurface damage, as well as keep the tiled areas looking their best.
Depending on your lifestyle, sealing new tile and grout may be an option.
After the installation process is complete and the grout has had ample time to cure, sealing the grout and tile can provide protection from dirt and spills by slowing down the staining process.
Today there are also innovative grout colorants you should be aware of.
These products can transform the original color of grout and in some cases can act as a form of sealant. Please be aware that non-epoxy grout joints should be treated with a silicone sealer.
Knowing how to care for and maintain your ceramic floor will help keep your investment beautiful, durable and a source of pride for years to come.
For more maintenance information specific to your ceramic tile flooring, remember to consult the manufacturers’ recommendations.
For definitions of other terms not listed here, please go to these sections:
How Tile Is Made, Tile Styles and Before You Buy Tile.
Most manufacturers will have a rating system that is based on or supported by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM). Many times you can find these ratings on the tile sample or in the product catalog. The most common system rates ceramic tile abrasion resistance or the overall durability of the tile. Other ratings might include: scratch resistance, moisture absorption, chemical resistance and breaking strength.
Ceramic tiles are fired in a kiln at temperatures around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Biocuttura Tiles are first fired after the green tile is dried and then fired again after the glaze is applied. Also call Double Fired.
When you look at a glazed tile from the side you can see 2 layers. The body of the tile, or largest layer, is called the bisque. The top layer is called the glaze.
A ceramic floor tile trim that has one rounded finished edge on the tile to give a nice finishing touch. Sometimes it is also used as a substitute for cove base.
Ceramic tiles are created from natural products extracted from the earth that are shaped into tiles and then fired in kilns at extremely high temperatures.
Today, many tile ceramic tile installers have opted for the industry accepted and more efficient thin set method, where the tile is adhered directly onto a backer board that is nailed to a plywood or concrete substrate using a much thinner layer of mortar. This backer board is called a CBU, or cement backer unit, which provides a supportive and water resistant layer between the porous substrate and the mortar and tile applied on top of it.
Class 1: no foot traffic. These tiles are suggested for interior wall applications only and not for the floor.
Class 2: light traffic. These tiles are suggested for interior wall applications and for residential bathroom flooring only.
Class 3: light to moderate traffic. These tiles can be used for residential floor and wall applications including bathrooms, kitchens, foyers, dining rooms and family rooms. They’re a good all-around performer.
Class 4: moderate to heavy traffic. These tiles are recommended for residential, medium commercial and light industrial floor and wall applications including shopping malls, offices, restaurant dining rooms, showrooms and hallways.
Class 5: heavy/extra heavy traffic. These tiles can be installed anywhere. They will hold up in floor and wall applications at airports, supermarkets and subways.
Most manufacturers will have a rating system that is based on or supported by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM). Many times you can find these ratings on the tile sample or in the product catalog. One rating system measures Slip Resistance, which is measured by its Coefficient of Friction (COF). The higher the COF the more slip resistant the tile. This is important when selecting a floor tile for areas that get wet, such as your shower or bathroom floor. Other ratings listed by the manufacturer might include: scratch resistance, moisture absorption, chemical resistance and breaking strength.
A ceramic floor tile trim that has two rounded finished edges on the tile to be used to complete a corner.
Extruded tiles are formed by forcing the clay material through a mold for the desired shape versus pressing the tile.
When creating a pattern with different ceramic tiles, the more prominent tile that is throughout the largest areas is called the “field tile”.
The fifth step in the manufacturing of ceramic tile. The tiles are fired in the kiln at temperatures around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Part of the fourth step (glazing) in the manufacturing of ceramic tile. The glaze liquid is prepared from a glass derivative called frit and colored dyes. The glaze is applied by either a high-pressure spray or is poured directly onto the tile.
Glazed ceramic tiles are coated with glass-forming minerals and ceramic stains. Typically, they have a matte, semi-gloss or high-gloss finish. They can offer better stain and moisture resistance than unglazed tile. When you look at a glazed tile from the side you can see 2 layers. The body of the tile, or largest layer, is called the bisque. The top layer is called the glaze. Glazed tiles have a hard non-porous, impermeable surface after firing.
The fourth step in the manufacturing of ceramic tiles. Glazing liquid is prepared from a glass derivative called frit and colored dyes. The glaze is applied by either a high-pressure spray or is poured directly onto the tile.
The third step in the manufacturing of ceramic tile. Here, clay is pressed or formed into a tile shape. These pressed tiles are called green tiles at this stage.
Grout is a type of cement that is used to fill the space and provide support in tile joints. There are two types of grout commonly used in home installations; Portland cement based, and epoxy based. Both of these grout compounds may have sand added to provide additional strength to the tile joint. Pigment is added to the cement at the job site when the grout is mixed.
Tiles that have less than .5% moisture absorption. These tiles are frost proof and can be used in exterior areas or on the outside of building facades. You can use these where winter is for real.
As the density of the tile increases, the amount of moisture that tile can absorb becomes less. Tile density means that, as the weight or the density of the tile increases, it becomes a stronger tile. Tile density and moisture absorption have an indirect relationship to each other. What this means is that as the density of the tile increases the moisture absorption rate becomes less. Tile density and moisture absorption is important for you to understand when selecting tile for different applications.
Ceramic tiles are fired in a kiln at temperatures around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Tiles that are fired once after the glaze is applied are called Monocuttura Tile or single fired.
In addition to ceramic tile styles, manufacturers also offer decorative inserts, medallions and mosaics that are used to create intricate patterns and beautiful borders. Tile size 2”x2” and smaller are usually referred to as mosaics and are often used with different colors to create a pattern or decorative inset. Some of these smaller tiles also come in different shapes, such as hexagon.
Tile is usually referred to by its nominal size, not its actual size. During the firing process, ceramic tile will shrink, on average, by about 10% in size. For example a 12” by 12” floor tile will actually measure 11-7/8 inches square. Currently, the most popular ceramic floor tile are the larger sized tiles such as 13” by 13”, 16” by 16” and 18” by 18” sizes.
Tiles that absorb 7% or more moisture. They are suited for indoor use only.
Porcelain tile is made up of 50% feldspar and is fired at a much higher temperature than regular ceramic tile. This makes porcelain tile much harder and more dense than other tile products. Because of its highly durable make-up, porcelain is more resistant to scratches and can withstand temperature extremes. Also, because porcelain is non-porous, it’s very stain resistant, has very low water absorption ratings (Less than 0.5%) and thus can be used for interior and exterior applications as well as heavy-use and commercial areas. Finally, because porcelain’s color goes all the way through, small scratches or chips are less noticeable.
The third and most common step in the manufacturing of ceramic tile. The clay is pressed or formed into a tile shape. These pressed tiles are called green tiles at this stage.
There are two types of grout commonly used in home installations; Portland cement based, and epoxy based. Both of these grout compounds may have sand added to provide additional strength to the tile joint. Sanded grout is recommended for tile joints 1/8th of an inch and larger.
Sanitary Cove Base
A ceramic floor tile trim that has a rounded finished top like a bullnose to cover up the body of the tile.
Tiles that absorb from 3% to 7% moisture. They are applicable for indoor use only.
Shade variation is inherent in all fired ceramic products and certain tiles will show greater variation within their dye lots. Shade variation is usually listed on the back label of each sample with a low, moderate, high or random rating. Low: consistent shade and texture.
Moderate: moderate shade and texture variation.
High: high shade and texture variation.
Random: very high shade and texture variation.
The process for installing a ceramic floor begins with the preparation of the tile foundation, or what’s called thesubstrate. Common materials used as tile substrates in home installations include concrete, plywood, and drywall.
In the past, ceramic tile was installed using what is called the thickset or mud set method. In this method, a thick layer of mortar was applied to a waterproofed and steel reinforced substrate. This provided a strong, flat base onto which the tile was installed. The thickset method is effective, but it’s an involved and labor-intensive process.
Today, many tile installers have opted for the industry accepted and more efficient thinset method, where the tile is adhered directly onto a backer board that is nailed to a plywood or concrete substrate using a much thinner layer of mortar.
Unglazed tiles that are a solid color all the way through and do not have a top layer of glaze are often referred to as through-body construction. (See Unglazed.)
Tile density means that, as the weight or the density of the tile increases, it becomes a stronger tile. Moisture absorption means that, as the density of the tile increases, the amount of moisture that tile can absorb becomes less. Tile density and moisture absorption have an indirect relationship to each other. What this means is that as the density of the tile increases the moisture absorption rate becomes less. Tile density and moisture absorption is important for you to understand when selecting tile for different applications.
Unglazed tiles are a solid color all the way through and do not have a top layer of glaze. This is often referred to as through-body construction. They have no additional surface applications and are typically more dense and durable than glazed tile. Thus they are more suitable for interior and exterior applications. Unglazed tiles do have good slip resistance, however please note that they do require sealing to help prevent staining. They come in various surface treatments and textures.
There are two types of grout commonly used in home installations; Portland cement based, and epoxy based. Both of these grout compounds may have sand added to provide additional strength to the tile joint. Unsanded grout is typically used in joints that are smaller than 1/8th of an inch.
Tiles that absorb less that 3% moisture. They are referred to as frost resistant tiles but cannot be used in exterior areas where freeze- thaw conditions could cause tile cracking.