When you are faced with picking out new tile for your bathroom, kitchen or entryway, you quickly come to realize there is a lot more to tile than just squares, rectangles and neutral whites. Tiles these days come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and materials from small glass mosaics, to large format wood-look planks. Beyond just finding a collection that matches your décor, there are a few terms you are likely to come across when it gets down to the details. Here is a quick guide to help you read between the (grout) lines:
Through Body Porcelain vs. Color Body Porcelain
Through body porcelain (sometimes referred to as unglazed porcelain) tiles are produced using colored raw materials that permeate the entire tile, incorporating uninterrupted color and pattern features seen on the surface all the way through the tile body. The surface design is evident in a cross-section of the tile body, providing outstanding abrasion resistance and durability.
Color body porcelain tiles are created with continuous colored stains from the glaze surface throughout the body of the tile. Synchronizing the color of both the glaze and body lessens the visibility of any impact chips that may occur. The color remains consistent throughout the tile, but any surface design does not continue through the tile body.
Wall Tile vs. Floor Tile
Generally speaking, any tile designated by the manufacturer as floor tile can be installed on vertical surfaces and countertops.
The reverse is not true, however. Wall tile is not suitable for use on floors as it is not created to withstand excessive impact (aka foot traffic).Rectified Tile
A tile that has been rectified has had all its edges precisely cut. This allows for installation of tile with very narrow grout joints, creating a more seamless look across walls and floors. Thanks to rectified edges permitting minimal grout lines, the latest large format wood-look porcelain planks are even more difficult to decipher from natural wood.
Shade & Caliber
A tiles shade refers to the coloration and reflectivity of a tile. A tiles caliber refers to its size and is measured with a tool called a caliper (often the terms are confused). Since natural materials are used in both the body and glazes of the tile, slight variations in shade and caliber are normally inherent from one production run to the next. Typically, tile shades are indicated by either an alpha/numeric combination or a three or four-digit numeral (i.e. A16, 3408, 250, etc.) while caliber sizes are normally shown as 07, 08, 09, 00, 01, 02, etc.
It is important to purchase tile that has the same shade (dye lot) and caliber, if at all possible, to ensure a pleasing aesthetic appearance as well as consistent grout joints. This is especially important for larger tiles.
Even with these terms under your belt, dont hesitate to ask questions when working with a designer or installer. They may have ideas for unique applications you never imagined possible.
For more information on the beautiful designs seen in this post, please visit Marazzi USA.