Tiling Glossary A–K – Tiling Terminology

Tiling Glossary – A-K

Tiling Glossary - Tile Installation meeting ANSI specificationsAbrasion resistance.
Ability of a surface to resist being worn away by rubbing and friction
The relatio.nship of the weight of the water absorbed be a ceramic specimen
subjected to prescribed immersion procedure, to the weight of the dry
specimen, expressed in percent.
A substance which, when added to concrete, mortar, or grout, increases the
rate of hydration of the hydraulic cement, shortens the time of setting, or
increases the rate of hardening of strength development, or both.
A general class of resinous polymers derived from esters, amides or other
acrylic acid derivatives.
A term frequently (but improperly) used as a synonym for addition or
The state in which two surfaces are held together by interfacial forces
which may consist of valence forces or interlocking action, or both.
Adhesion, mechanical.
Adhesion between surfaces in which the adhesive holds the parts together
by interlocking action.
Adhesion, specific.
Adhesion between surfaces which are held together by valence forces of the
same type as those which give rise to cohesion.
A material other than water, aggregates, and hydraulic cement, used as an
ingredient of concrete or mortar, and added to the concrete immediately before
or during its mixing.
Granular material, such as sand, gravel, crushed stone, and iron
blast-furnace slag, used with a cementing medium to form a hydraulic-cement,
concrete or mortar.
A chemical substance which effectively neutralizes acid material so as to
form neutral salts. A base. The opposite of acid. Examples are ammonia and
caustic soda.
Any material used as a base over which a finished material is to be
Bisque cracks.
Any fractures in the body of a tile visible both on the face and back.
The adherence of one material to another. Effective bonds must be achieved
between the mortar and scratch coat, between the tile and mortar, and between
the adhesive and backing.
Bond strength.
The force per unit area or length necessary to rupture a bond.
Bonding agent.
A substance applied to a suitable substrate to create a bond between it
and a succeeding layer as between a subsurface and a terrazzo topping or a
succeeding plaster application.
Bright gloss.
Colorless or colored ceramic glaze have a high gloss.
Broken joint.
Ceramic tile installation featuring each row offset for half its length.
A trim tile with a convex radius on one edge. This tile is used for
finishing the top of a wainscot or for turning an outside corner.
Bullnose corner.
A type of bullnose trim with a convex radius on two adjacent edges.
Butt joint.
A plain square joint between two members
Buttonback tile.
Tile that have projections on the bondable side. Many of these projections
are round and therefore the term buttonback.
Butyl rubber.
A copolymer of about 98% isobutylene and 2% isoprene. It has the poorest
resistance to petroleum oils and gasolines of any rubber. Excellent resistance
to vegetable and mineral oils: to solvents such as acetone, alcohol, phenol
and ethylene glycol; and to water and gas absorption. Heat resistance is above
average. Sunlight resistance is excellent. It’s abrasion resistance is not as
good as natural rubber. Usually low permeability to gases.
Substance which markedly speeds up the cure of an adhesive when added in
minor quantity as compared to the amounts of primary reactants.
Caulking Compound.
A soft, plastic material consisting of pigment and vehicle, used for
sealing joints in buildings and other structures where normal structural
movement may occur. Caulking compound retains its plasticity for an extended
period after application. It is available in forms suitable for application by
gun and knife and in extruded preformed shapes
Ceiling mortar.
Extra-rich wall mortar.
Usually refers to portland cement which when mixed with sand, gravel, and
water forms concrete. Generally, cement is an adhesive; specifically, it is
that type of adhesive which sets by virtue of a chemical reaction.
Ceramic tile.
A ceramic surfacing unit, usually relatively thin in relation to facial
area, made from clay or a mixture or clay; and other ceramic material, called
the body of the tile, having either a “glazed” or “unglazed” face, and fired
about red heat in the course of manufacture to a temperature sufficiently high
to produce specific physical properties and characteristics.
Colored grout.
Commercially prepared grout consisting of carefully graded aggregate,
portland cement, water dispersing agents, plasticizers and color fast
Composition tile.
A hard tile surfacing unit made from a mixture of chemicals. The finished
surface can be the mixture of chemicals or can be marble chips to create a
terrazzo finish. The unit is made hard by the set of the chemicals and the
product is not fired as in the manufacture of ceramic tile.
A composite material which consists essentially of a binding medium within
which are embedded particles or fragments of aggregate; in portland cement
concrete, the binder is a mixture of portland cement and water.
A trim tile having a concave radius on one edge and a convex radius with a
flat landing on the opposite edge. This base often is used as the only course
of tile above the floor tile.
The cracking which occurs in fired glazes or other ceramic coatings due to
critical tensile stresses.
Cure time.
The time required to produce vulcanization of hydration at a given
temperature. The cure time varies widely, being dependent on the type of
compounding used, the thickness of the product, etc.
Maintenance of humidity and temperature of freshly placed concrete during
some definite period following placing, casting, or finishing to assure
satisfactory hydration of the cementitious materials and proper hardening of
the concrete.
Cushion-edged tile.
Tile on which the facial edges have a distinct curvature that results in a
slightly recessed joint.
Dead load.
A constant load that in structures is due to the mass of the members, the
supported structure, and permanent attachments or accessories.
Decorative tile.
Tile with a ceramic decoration on the surface.
The ratio of the mass of a body to its volume, or the mass per unit volume
of the substance. When G.G.S. units are used, the density of a substance is
numerically equal to the specific gravity of the substance referred to water a
4 degrees C, the maximum density (1,000) of water. For ordinary practical
purposes, density and specific gravity may be regarded as equivalent.
Double bullnose.
A type of trim with the same convex radius on two opposite sides.
Dry pack.
Concrete or mortar mixtures deposited and consolidated by dry packing.
Dry packing.
Placing of zero slump, or near zero slump, concrete, mortar, or grout by
ramming into a confined space.
Dry spots.
Small areas on the face of tile which have been insufficiently glazed.
A cut tile used as a filler in the run of a wall or floor area.
Eagle Beak.
A 6 inch X 3/4 inch outside corner trim shape. (AC106)
The residue deposited on the surface of a material by the crystallization
of soluble salts.
Tile decorated with colored clays inlaid and fired. Also colored tile laid
in a wall or floor to form a pattern.
Epoxy grout.
A two-part grout system consisting of epoxy resin and epoxy hardener,
especially formulated to have impervious qualities, stain, and chemical
resistance, used to fill joints between tile units.
Epoxy mortar.
A two-part mortar system consisting of epoxy resin and epoxy hardener used
to bond tile to back-up material where chemical resistance of high bond
strength is a consideration.
Projected cost of materials and labor for a construction project or
portion of a project.
Expansion joint.
A joint through tile, mortar, and reinforcing wire down to the substrate.
Extruded tile.
A tile or trim unit that is formed when plastic clay mixtures are forced
through a pug mill opening (die) of suitable configuration, resulting in a
continuous ribbon of formed clay. A wire cutter or similar cut-off device is
then used to cut the ribbon into appropriate lengths and widths of tile.
Field tile.
An area of tile covering a wall or floor. The field is bordered by tile
Fire, bisque.
The process of kiln-firing ceramic ware prior to glazing.
Fire, single.
The process of maturing an unfired ceramic body and its glaze in one
firing operation.
Flat trowel.
The flat trowel is used in conjunction with the hawk for the transferring
of mortar from the mortarboard to the wall or to other vertical surfaces. It
is frequently used for spreading pure cement on the finished float coat. The
flat trowel also is used for spreading mortar on floor surfaces before tiles
are set.
Float strip.
A strip of wood about 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/4 inch wide. It is used as a
guide to align mortar surfaces.
Floor tile.
A ceramic, glazed or unglazed paver, quarry or mosaic tile resistant to
abrasion and impact.
Frost proof tile.
Tile produced for use where freezing and thawing conditions occur.
Glass mosaic tiles.
Tiles made of glass, usually in sizes not over two inches square and 1/4
inch thick, mounted on sheets of paper. Usually sheets are twelve inches
A ceramic coating matured to the glassy state on a formed ceramic article.
The term glaze also refers to the material or mixture from which the coating
is made.
Glazed tile.
Tile with a fused impervious facial finish composed of ceramic materials,
fused into the body of the tile which may be a non-vitreous, semi-vitreous,
vitreous, or impervious body. The glazed surface may be clear, white, or
A rich or strong cementitious or chemically setting mix used for filling
tile joints.
Grout saw.
The grout saw is a saw-toothed carbide steel blade mounted on a sometimes
wooden handle. It is used to remove old grout.
The degree of vitrification evidenced visually by complete resistance to
dye penetration.
Impervious tile.
Has water absorption of 0.5 percent or less.
In/Out corner.
Trim tile for turning a right-angle inside or outside a wall corner.
Kiln cracks.
Cracks in tile, flat or trim, occurring when the tile is fired. Typically,
the cracks are from one outer edge and do not go clear across the tile.
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