Technical Terms Explained – a long read

 

Technical terms explained 

Porcelain – Tiles that are made with white clay, fired at a high temperature making them dense, hardwearing and perfect for floors. Porcelain tiles have extremely low water absorption of less than 0.5% and can be glazed or unglazed. 

Ceramic – Tiles that are made with red, brown or white clay, they are softer and less dense meaning they are easier to cut, drill and ideal for wall applications. Ceramic tiles have much higher water absorption and are always glazed. 

Rectified Glazed Porcelain – Tiles that have been cut during the manufacturing process to meet exact size requirements. They can come in a variety of finishes from matt, glazed, metal effect or satin. 

Rectification – the process of finishing the tiles by removing the edges to give a cleaner finish and meet exact sizing requirements. As each tile is the same size these can be fitted with minimal grout joints. 

Non-Rectified – Non-rectified tiles, on the other hand, are tiles with natural, uneven pressed edges that may vary slightly in size and require a wider grout gap. 

Ink-Jet – A term that refers to the print or pattern on the tile which has been applied using an ink-jet printer. 

Full-bodied – This refers to tiles whose surface colour is the same all the way through the tile. Also known as ‘through bodied’ or ‘technical’ porcelain, these tiles are made of a single material with no glaze applied making them extremely hard wearing and perfect for any and every application. 

Double Loaded – These tiles are also unglazed but are made of two layers of different porcelain material with the visible layer comprising the top few mm of the tile. These are also extremely hardwearing but lower cost than full-bodied porcelain. 

Variegated – When a tile face has a wide variety of colours and tones.

Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) wear ratings for glazed porcelains and ceramics, in line with ISO 10545-7 

PEI 2  – Floor coverings in areas that are walked on by soft soled or normal footwear with low traffic and occasional scratching 

PEI 3 – Floor coverings in areas that, with normal footwear, are walked on more often
with small amounts of scratching and dirt. Suitable for residential kitchens, halls and corridors 

PEI 4 – Floor coverings that are walked on by regular traffic with some scratching dirt. Suitable for entrances, commercial kitchens etc 

PEI 5 – Floor coverings that are subject to severe pedestrian traffic over sustained periods with some scratching dirt. Suitable for shopping centres, airport concourses, hotel foyers etc

Large Formats – We do not recommend the use of large format ceramic or porcelain tiles in a 50:50 brickbond pattern installation. The reason for this is that slight curvature in the tile may become noticeable and may not be deemed to be visually acceptable. For installation of tiles larger than 600mm we recommend the use of a levelling clip system to help reduce lipping at grout joints and assist in achieving the most level result. 

Shade variation – Shade variation is an inherent feature of porcelain and ceramic tiles. We recommend that tiles are loosely laid out and ‘blended’ prior to fixing to achieve the most pleasing distribution of shades. Differences between batches can be more marked, for this reason we recommend that you buy all the tiles at one time. No liability for shading issues can be accepted after installation. 

Adhesives, grouts and sealing – Always use high quality adhesives and grouts following manufacturers’ recommendations for their use and suitability for the type of tile, the application and the substrate being tiled. As with any polished surface, polished porcelain is susceptible to staining if it is not protected with an appropriate sealer such. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Installation, adhesives, grouts, sealants, cleaning and maintenance – Please refer to manufacturers’ fixing guide before commencing any installations as most cannot accept responsibility for any faults after tiles have been fixed. Manufacturers will not be held liable for any claims regarding the inappropriate use of sealing, adhesives or grouting materials. 

Photography – Owing to variations in studio lighting and printing inks, the tile colours shown in catalogues may differ slightly from those of the actual tiles. 

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