Tiling glossary and Technical Terms

Trying to make sure you are not left behind in the conversation by tile jargon?  As the leading supplier of Porcelain & Ceramics in Buckinghamshire, we’re here to help you! It’s always helpful to know some of the terms used when you are purchasing tiles. Learn some of the key phrases you might hear.

You might even come across some of these terms while browsing our website – make sure you’re familiar with them so you can make informed decisions about your tile choices.

Ceramic tile

Clay and sand are ground into a fine powder before water is added and the mixture is compressed to make a “Biscuit”. This is then dried out, primed, painted then glazed, before being fired in a kiln at approximately 1000°C.

Porcelain tile

Similar to a ceramic tile but using Koalin clay which is much denser. Thanks to the introduction of Feldspar and being fired at temperatures up to 1400°C, Porcelain is a much harder material than ceramic.

What does Glazed Porcelain mean? 

Glazed porcelain tiles have a single layer porcelain base which is primed and painted before a layer of glassware is coated over the top. The tile is then fired to harden the surface – AKA Semi Vitrified tiles.

What is a matt finish tile?

This tile has a dulled surface offering little to no reflection regardless of atmospheric lighting.

What is a satin finish tile?

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

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. All natural stone is subject to shading as this is a characteristic within any irregular stone.

What is meant by water absorption in tiles?

Water absorption is the amount of moisture that can be taken in by a tile. Most porcelain has an absorption rate of less than 0.5% and is 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.

What is a wet area or wet room?

A wet room is a shower area created in which the floor is angled to promote water flow to a drain system situated directly into the floor.

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 complement or highlight the colour of a tile.

Rectified Tiles

A rectified tile is a tile that, in its production, has been finished so that all sides are exactly the same size, making the tile uniformed with precision. This allows for a minimum grout joint to make the floor appear as one large tiled area. In doing this, the tiles require less grout.

Non-Rectified Tiles

A non-rectified tile has uneven edges. This makes for a more natural-looking tile, but requires a wider grout joint, giving a more traditional tiled look.

Choosing a rectified or non-rectified tile is down to preference and the type of space you are tiling. Rectified can look more modern with their seamless finish whereas non-rectified gives you more opportunity to use decorative grouts. Whichever you choose, we’re sure you will love your finished, tiled space.

Get in Touch

Remember, if you want to speak to a member of our expert team you can call us on 01494 442268 or email us on info@lunatileandstone.co.uk. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

image: Shutterstock/DUO Studio