Tiling Jargon Buster

Within this jargon buster we cover the common jargon and phrases used while installing or replacing tiles within your bathroom or kitchen. If you’re looking to replace the tiles within your kitchen or bathroom, then we recommend you take a look at, or even print this list, to help avoid common pitfalls. Don’t forget to check out our other jargon busters in the series, as well as our fitted kitchen and bathroom refit cost guides.

Abrasion Resistance

The ability of an adhesive to resist wearing due to contact with another surface by friction and rubbing.

Absorption

Absorption is amount of water absorbed by a tile usually expressed as a percentage.

Adhesive

An adhesive is a material, usually in a liquid or semi-liquid state (e.g grout), that adheres or bonds items together.

Bevelled Edge

The bevelled edge forms a gap between tiles that helps allow for slight differences in edge height typically used to soften the edge of a tile.

Biscuit (Biscuit Tile)

The biscuit of the tile is the main base of the tile which the glazing layer is applied on top of.

Bonding Agent

A substance that is applied to a layer or surface to create a bond between it and a succeeding layer.

Bowing

Bowing or warping within tiles is usually caused during the manufacturing of the tile and its cooling processes.

Brushed Finish

Any tile that usually has a riven finish can sometimes be harsh or sharp finish against your feet, so a stone surfaced tile uses Brushing a technique which is a coarse rotary brush to smooth down the surface, but still keeps the natural stone finish.

Butt Joint

Is a joint where the placing two tiles together closely to create a small grout joint.

Ceramic Tiles

A ceramic tile is made up of sand, natural products, and clays and once moulded into shape they will be fired in a kiln, the tiles can either be glazed or unglazed.

Cove Tiles

Cove base tiles are usually used at the base of tiled walls to form a transition between the wall and the floor, creating the joint between the two surfaces.

Crackle Glaze Tile

A tile that has a cracked or aged effect, made by deliberately having the tile glaze cracked, this is usually achieved by certain glazes being made to shrink during the drying process.

Cushion Edge Tiles

A tile where the facial edges have a curvature that creates a slightly recessed joint on the tile.

Glazed Porcelain

Porcelain tiles are made of a porcelain clay that has been fired at high heat, a Glazed tile has layer of glaze which is then applied to the tile in most cases this is a coloured glaze and applied during the manufacturing process.

Grout

Grout is a material that is used to fill the gaps between tiles once the adhesive has dried and the spacers have been removed

Heavy Duty Tile

A tile which is suitable for areas (e.g, Flooring) where heavy pedestrian traffic is common.

Honed

Where the surface of a tile has been refined by high speed machines to produce a flat smooth surface, leaving edges of the tile square.

Honed and Filled

Usually natural stone tiles that have had any holes filled with a resin and the top surface polished to produce a smooth surface finish.

Iridescent Tiles

A tile that will appear to display other colours different to its base colour when viewed from different angles and under alternative lighting.

Matt Finish

A tile that has a dull surface and offers virtually no reflection regardless of surrounding lighting.

Micropores

A pore in a particular material where the diameter is less than 2 nm (nanometers).

Mitered Edges

When a tile is cut at an angle to meet its installation needs.

Nippers

Special pliers that nibble away at little bites of ceramic tile to create small, curved or irregularĀ cuts.

Nominal Sizes

A manufacturing term used to describe the approximate facial size / thickness of tile for general reference.

Polished Finish Tile

Commonly a polished tile is made from porcelain or natural stone, that have been highly polished by grinding the surface of the tile with a diamond wheel creating the highly polished finish.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tiles are fine-grained, dense, usually impervious, smooth with sharply formed face.

Pot Life

The length of time you have to use the grout or adhesive since mixing, once this pot life is reached it should be discarded.

Rectified Tile

A tile that has had a further machining processing applied, which then affects the edges of the tile to create a clean cut / perfectly squared edge to the tile.

Riven Tiles

Riven tiles are natural in appearance and have a rough, anti-slip surface.

Rustic Edge

A non-uniform and fairly random edge that is designed to give a tile a handmade look.

Sealant / Tile Sealant

A sealant is a liquid coating that is applied to the porous area of the tile or grout, they are used to protect unglazed tiles and grouts from absorbing stains and protect from oxidation and daily wear.

Slip Resistant / Non-slip Tiles

Non-slip tiles are different to your regular tiles smooth surface by providing an extra grip in areas where people are prone to slipping, this achieved by applying a matt glaze and texturing (patterns / grooves) the surface of the tiles, also the tiles are now given a resistance rating which ranges from R9 to R13 to help grade the non slip level.

R9 tile rating being similar to the tiles used within your home bathroom or kitchen and the R13 tile rating being used in professional work areas such as shower / changing rooms.

Splashback Tiles

Commonly a panel or area behind a sink or cooker that protects the walls from splashes.

Split Face Tiles

Split face tiles consist of strips of material cut to different heights, widths and depths, and randomly arranged to create multi-levelled surface.

Tile Density

Tile density means as the weight or the density of the tile increases, then becoming a stronger tile.

Tile Spacers

Small pieces of plastic used during any tiling job to allow constant and consistently even spacing between tile edges.

Upstand Tiles

When a tile or coving tile is used within a upright fashion commonly used as skirting around a kitchen worktops.