A. The main ingredients for a ceramic tile are Clay and Sand. These materials are ground down into a fine powder, water is added and the mixture is then compressed in a mould at high pressure making the “Biscuit”. These are then dried out, primed, painted then glazed, before being fired in a kiln at approximately 1000oC.

A. The way porcelain tiles are made is similar to how ceramic tiles are made. But the Clay used in porcelain (called Kaolin) is much denser than the clay used in a ceramic. With the introduction of Feldspar and being fired at temperatures up to 1400oC, this makes Porcelain much harder than ceramic.

A. Glazed porcelain tiles have a single layered porcelain base that is primed and printed before a layer of hardening glassware is coated over the top. The tile is then fired to harden the surface.

A. Full bodied porcelain tiles are also referred to as Fully Vitrified tiles. They are made from a single layer of porcelain, for which the pigmentation used to create the face pattern present through the full depth of the tile.

A. Most common with slate tiles or any tile that would normally have a riven finish which can sometimes be quite sharp or harsh under foot. “Brushing” a tile, will soften the rough edges and smooth down some of the texture, without losing the overall characteristics of the natural finish.

A. A polished tile is most commonly a porcelain or natural stone, that is mechanically polished with a fine abrasive diamond wheel to give it an extremely high shine. Not to be confused with a high glazed tile that has the glaze coating layered over the surface.

A. A tile with a dull surface offering virtually no reflection regardless of any atmospheric lighting.

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

A. Also known as “Lappato”, a semi-polished tile will go through a similar process to a fully polished tile. A tile when first made will have a slight textured surface. This is partially polished with an abrasive diamond wheel, just enough to give approximately 50% of the surface an evenly spread polished finished, whilst the other 50% will remain textured.

A. Split face tiles are medium to large tiles that are made from smaller rectangular pieces of natural stone, normally slate or quartzite. The pieces are glued and butted together to make a single tile that does not require grouting. However this means they are only recommended for dry areas.

A. The press feeds not one but two colours onto the tile’s bisque. This creates a thick layer of design on top of it. When this twin charged method is use, the design is typically 3 to 4mm thicker; making twin charge porcelain tiles perfect for use in heavy traffic projects, such as busy airports, hotel lobbies, or train stations. Here are some benefits of using twin charged porcelain tiles in your project: they have a very long life compared to traditionally made tiles, they are ideal for areas with heavy traffic, and they are budget friendly compared to full-bodied porcelain tiles.

A. A tile that has a subtle slope or slant down to a thinner edge. It helps to add more definition to a tile, and its angled edges help to bounce light around a room.

A. Bullnose in now frequently referred to as Round edge. A single round edge tile (or RE) has one side slightly curved whereas a double round edge (or REX) will have two sides curved in an “L” shape. These types of tiles are present within a lot of quarry tile and plain colour ceramic ranges and can be used for steps or windowsills, without the need for tile trim.

A. The traditional method of printing a tile was via a series of different coloured rollers to create the pattern. Nowadays, Inkjet printing is more commonly used as it is more accurate, easier for the factory to set up and cheaper costs. Similar to a computer printer for your documents, the principle of printing tiles is the same..

A print head will “jet” the required amount of ink when and where required as the tile passes under it on a conveyor belt. It is an essential method for creating ultra realistic, high-definition and non-uniform patterns like a natural marble effect where every tile needs a different layout of veining, or Moroccan style tiles that have wide variation of pattern and colour

A. 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. But due to the calibration of machinery between printing runs, one batch of tiles to the next may also contain variation in colour or pattern.

A. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are nationally recognized organizations, which provide the testing procedures and standard values, respectively for ceramic tile produced in the United States.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed over 17000 technical standards. European tile manufacturers follow and test production using the ISO standards for ceramic tile.

Industry Test



Slip Resistance

ASTM C 1028  (COF)


Abrasion Resistance  – Glazed

ASTM C 1027

ISO 10545-7

Abrasion Resistance – Through body


ISO 10545-6

Frost Resistance

ASTM C 1026

ISO 10543-12

Water Absorption

ASTM C  373

ISO 10545-3

Chemical Resistance

ASTM C  650

ISO 10545-13

Break Strength

ASTM C  648

ISO 10545-4

Stain Resistance

ASTM C 1378

ISO 10545-14

Scratch Hardness

MOHS Scale Rating

MOHS Scale Rating

A. Neither ANSI nor ASTM establishes an industry standard identifying a minimum coefficient of friction (COF) value whereby ceramic tile is labeled “Slip resistant”. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends a minimum static COF of 0.60 (wet and dry) for accessible routes and 0.80 (wet and dry) for ramps. OSHA recommends a minimum static COF of 0.50 (wet and dry) for slip resistant walking and working surfaces.
The COF may vary within and between production runs because of the inherent characteristics of fired clay products.  COF can also vary from its original state due to the presence of contaminants, floor finishes and other factors.
Italian tile manufacturers often perform the American tests (ASTM C1028) at the request of American distributors who are commercially specifying tile in the US.
DCOF AcuTest: ANSI 137.1 now includes a method for measuring Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) and a recommended value of 0.42 for interior, level floors that are likely to be walked upon when wet.  
DCOF AcuTest differs from SCOF (Static COF Wet and Dry) in that the shoe material moves across the flooring surface and the resistance to movement is constantly recorded and averaged.
According to this standard, tiles of a DCOF AcuTest value of less than 0.42 are only suitable for floor areas that will be kept dry. Tiles with a lower value are not restricted to dry areas only, but rather are restricted to applications where they are kept dry when walked upon. In the case of a residential bathroom, the common use of bathmats can accomplish this. Similarly, in entrance ways, the use of entrance mats can accomplish the same. The tile industry expects this transition to be fully in place January 2014.

A. Abrasion resistance is the capacity of the glazed surface to resist the wear caused by foot traffic or the abrasion caused by mechanical equipment.  The wear action determines the suitable applications for each tile. 
P.E.I.: Porcelain Enamel Institute, responsible for research, testing and analysis of ceramic materials in the United States. PEI is only applicable in terms of glazed ceramic and porcelains. 
Class PEI 5    Heavy Commercial: suitable for intense commercial and all residential
Class PEI 4     Commercial: suitable for medium commercial and all residential 
Class PEI 3     Heavy Residential, Light Commercial; suitable for all residential,   average abrasion
Class PEI 2     Residential: suitable for residential excluding kitchen, entryways, and stairs
Class PEI 1     Light Residential: barefoot traffic and traffic without abrasive dirt.
Class PEI 0     Wall tile only; not suitable for floors
    Through body porcelain tile does not have a glaze and does not receive this test. It receives the deep abrasion test 10545-6. (Conform or not conform)

A. Frost resistance is directly related to water absorption. Frost resistance is a quality tiles have when they are subjected to water at temperatures lower that 0 degrees C without being damaged by stress generated by their moisture content freezing. If tiles absorb water and freeze the tile may fracture as the tile expands. Tiles may be rated as frost resistant or not.
Any tile that meets ISO 10543-3 at <.5% water absorption also meets ISO standard 10545-12 for frost

A. Absorption is the product capacity for water penetration. Porcelain tile is an impervious, very dense product with a very low absorbency rate. Ceramic tiles are more porous and generally less durable than porcelain tiles due to a less dense body composition. Ceramic wall tiles are the least dense and can have a water absorption rate of over 10% of its weight.
Porcelain tile is less than .5% absorption by definition.

A. The ISO standard 10545-13 tests a tiles resistance to chemical interaction. Tiles, which are going to be exposed to aggressive chemical, should be evaluated based on the performance of the test. (Commercial kitchens, swimming pools)

A. Tests the tiles resistance to heavy loads. The breaking strength is the force needed to break the tile.

A. Method applicable to all working surface of ceramic tiles to determine their resistance to stains.  Each staining agent must remain on at least 5 testing samples, for at least 24 hours.  Removal of the staining agent takes place in subsequent steps using various agents and cleaning procedures.
Class 5      Stain removed with hot water
Class 4      Stain removed with weak cleaner
Class 3      Stain removed with strong cleaner
Class 2      Stain removed with specific solvents
Class 1      Stain not removed
To meet the standard a tile must be rated Class 3 or higher.

A. Moh’s scale: Scale used to express the measure of a materials hardness. Talc’s rating on Moh’s is a 1 where a diamond is 10.
Porcelain tile often has a rating of 7, 8 or 9, while other, less scratch resistant non-porcelain tiles are rated at 5 or 6. In the Moh’s scale, each rating is 10 times harder than the previous number. For a point of reference, natural granite is usually 6 or 7.