abrasion resistance
Degree to which a tile’s glaze withstands foot traffic wear
Percentage amount of moisture absorbed by weight.
acid wash
A treatment applied to the face of a stone to achieve a texture or finish that is distressed. Chemical processes have been replaced by mechanical methods for the texturing of the stone face.
used for bonding tile to a surface.
A metal fastener used for securing dimension stone to a structure.
antique finish
A finish that replicates rusticated or distressed textures. Produced through mechanical or chemical means to simulate the naturally occurring effects of the aging process.


The process of slathering the back of a stone tile with thinset in order to ensure proper mortar coverage. This prevents hollow areas and subsequent future cracking of tiles. Also helpful to ensure a level installation.
The area located between the countertop and upper cabinets.
A dark-colored, igneous rock commercially known as granite when fabricated as dimension stone.
The bottom course of a wall, or the vertical first member above grade of a finished floor.
the Italian term for a bull nose trim piece.
1. The top or bottom of a joint, natural bed; surface of stone parallel to its stratification. 2. In granites and marbles, a layer or sheet of the rock mass that is horizontal. Sometimes also applied to the surface of parting between rock sheets. 3. In stratified rocks, the unit layer formed by sedimentation; of variable thickness, and commonly tilted or distorted by subsequent deformation. It generally develops a rock cleavage, parting, or jointing along the planes of stratification.
biocuttura tile
Ceramic tiles are fired in a kiln at temperatures around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Biocuttura Tiles are first fired after the green tile is dried and then fired again after the glaze is applied. Also called Double Fired.
When you look at a glazed tile from the side you can see 2 layers. The body of the tile, or largest layer, is called the bisque. The top layer is called the glaze.
The proper positioning of adjacent floor slabs, or tiles, by their predominant color.
Adherence of one material to another; i.e., between the tile and mortar
a strip of tile with design, texture or contrasting color that creates a design concept.
bright glaze
Colorless or colored ceramic glaze–high gloss
brushed finish
Obtained by brushing a stone with a coarse rotary-type wire brush.
A trim tile with a convex radius or finished edge on one side. Used for finishing top of wainscot, turning of an outside corner, or floor base.
bush hammering
A mechanical process which produces textured surfaces that vary from subtle to rough.
Placing mortar on stone units with a trowel before setting them into position.
butt joint
An external corner formed by two stone panels with one head.


The first step in the finishing process of a stone tile. Coarse abrasives pads are mounted to the bottom of rotating wheels that under extreme pressure and rotation speed are applied to the face of the stone. This process grinds the stone to a uniform and consistent thickness of ±1 mm tolerance, which is crucial for the installation of tile in a thin-set application. Calibration is applicable only to dense stones that can take a honed or polished finish, such as limestone, marble, and granite tile. The term is often erroneously applied to slates, quartzites, and other cleftface stones, where the precision of the calibration process is not possible. Sawn-back or ground-back techniques are applied to these types of stones, and are correctly called "gauging," which is not as precision-oriented as calibration.
A volcanic, quartz-based stone with qualities similar to adoquin, but not as dense. Quarried in Mexico.
a soft, water resistant plastic material used for sealing joints.
Closing a joint by sealing with an elastic, adhesive compound.
ceramic tile
A thin surfacing unit composed of various clays fired to hardness. The face may be glazed or unglazed.
An exterior veneer stone covering.
chiseled edge
A process of mechanically chipping the tile edge, thus giving the stone a rustic, aged appearance.
cleft finish
Rough-surfaced stones such as slates that are cleaved or separated along a natural seam are referred to as natural cleft. These types of stones were formed as a result of metamorphic foliation.
COF - coefficient of friction
Most manufacturers will have a rating system that is based on or supported by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM). Many times you can find these ratings on the tile sample or in the product catalog. One rating system measures Slip Resistance, which is measured by its Coefficient of Friction (COF). The higher the COF the more slip resistant the tile. This is important when selecting a floor tile for areas that get wet, such as your shower or bathroom floor. Other ratings listed by the manufacturer might include: scratch resistance, moisture absorption, chemical resistance and breaking strength.
color body porcelain tile (aka. thru color porcelain tile)
Technically-advanced glazed porcelain. The porcelain body and surface glaze are colored with the same pigments. The result is a glazed tile with consistent color throughout the body. The tile is fired in a kiln at approximately 2,000 degrees, creating a hard, non-porous, impermeable tile with a water absorption rate of 0.5% or less. 
Company or person that erects and installs fabricated dimension stone.
A flat stone used as a cap on freestanding walls.
cove base 
A trim tile with one edge a concave radius.  Used to form a junction between the bottom wall course and the floor or to form an inside corner.
cove molding
A concave molding, typically found at the sloped or arched junction of a wall and ceiling.
Fine hairline cracking which appears on the glazed face of a tile
A process of end-cutting blocks of stone which yields a less-linear, more rounded, "wavy" pattern.
cure time
The time required for the thin-set below the tile to become hard and set.


DCOF - dynamic coefficient of friction
Dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) is the frictional resis­tance one pushes against when already in motion. According to the ANSI A137.1–2012 standard, ceramic tiles selected for level interior spaces expected to be walked upon when wet must have a minimum wet DCOF AcuTest value of 0.42. Tiles with a lower value are not necessarily restricted to dry areas only, but rather are restricted to applications where they are kept dry when walked upon. In the case of residential bathrooms, the common use of bathmats can accomplish this. Similarly, in entranceways, the use of entrance mats can ac­complish the same.
A decorative accent piece.
decorative tile
any tile face with a decoration on the surface.
dry set mortar 
cement based setting material for thin–bed installations.


The European Ecolabel is a voluntary scheme, established in 1992 to encourage businesses to market products and services that are kinder to the environment. Products and services awarded the Ecolabel carry the flower logo, allowing consumers - including public and private purchasers - to identify them easily.
The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a management tool for companies and other organizations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance.
epoxy adhesive
a two part adhesive system consisting of epoxy resin and epoxy hardener. Used for bonding ceramic tile or stone to backing material.
epoxy grout
a two–part grout system consisting of epoxy resin and epoxy hardener. Made to have impervious qualities, stain and chemical resistant. Used to fill joints between tiles.


Used in reference to dimension stone, it means manufactured and ready for installation.
field tile
the primary tile used to cover a wall or floor.
Final surface applied to the face of dimension stone during fabrication.
Bright, high gloss, satin, matte, glazed, unglazed, flashed, textured, raised, embossed, etched, scored, ribbed, orange peel
fire bisque
Kiln-firing ceramic ware prior to glazing
fire single
Kiln-firing ceramic ware with glaze
The fifth step in the manufacturing of ceramic tile. The tiles are fired in the kiln at temperatures around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
A hairline opening in the face of stone demonstrating stones natural characteristics; a lineal or non-directional void in the face and crystalline structure of stone that typically is very thin and irregular. See: Dry Seam.
Thin slabs of stone used for paving surfaces such as walks, driveways, and patios. They are generally fine-grained bluestone, other quartz-based stone, or slate, but thin slabs of other stones may also be used.
An aggressively-textured finish, achieved by exposing certain types of stones to intense flame.
a method of aligning mortar with the float strips or screeds using a straightedge.
floor tile
a ceramic tile or natural stone tile durable enough to withstand traffic and abrasion.
frost resistant
Vitreous tile that absorbs .5% to 3%
frost proof
impervious tile that absorbs 0% to 0.5%.  Strongest tile for outdoor use.


gauged & ungauged
Refers to slate cleft out of blocks into tile. Gauged slate is ground or sawn to produce a more uniform thickness. Ungauged slate is hand-cleft and can have variations in thickness up to 5/8 of an inch.
glazed porcelain tile
A colored, liquid glaze is applied to the surface of a porcelain body. The tile is fired in a kiln at approximately 2,000 degrees. The glazing process defines the color and surface texture and produces a hard, non-porous, impermeable tile with a water absorption rate of 0.5% or less.
The fourth step in the manufacturing of ceramic tiles. Glazing liquid is prepared from a glass derivative called frit and colored dyes. The glaze is applied by either a high-pressure spray or is poured directly onto the tile.
A visibly granular, igneous rock; generally ranging in color from near-white through the spectrum of golds, pinks, greens and blues, to grays and blacks. Granite consists primarily of quartz, mica and feldspar. Granites are the hardest architectural stone, making them ideal for counter tops and high-traffic areas.
The material used to fill the joints between tiles.


honed finish
A smooth, satin (but not shiny) finish on the stone.


impervious tiles
Tiles that have less than .5% moisture absorption. These tiles are frost proof and can be used in exterior areas or on the outside of building facades.
Applying a chemical containing stain inhibitors that penetrates below the surface of the stone.


The space between tiles that is filled with grout.
jointing scheme
Architectural drawing detailing dimensions, location, and configuration of stone units and joints as related to structure.


manufactured stone / agglomerate stone
This is a synthetic stone made from natural stone chips suspended in a binder such as cement, epoxy resins or polyester. Some of the most popular types of manufactured stone products are those made mostly of quartz. The natural quartz gives the product depth and radiance while at the same time strength and consistency. Manufactured Stone is strong, it has four times the flexural strength of granite, so there's less chance of chipping or cracking. It's also called Agglomerate Stone. The most well known agglomerated stone is poured-in-place terrazzo, used in building for thousands of years.
A metamorphic rock possessing a distinctive crystalline texture. Marble is composed principally of the carbonate minerals calcite and dolomite, singly or in combination. Marbles are typically softer than granite, and are available in a wide spectrum of color and veining.
a ready to use organic glue.
matte glaze
Colorless or colored glaze with low gloss
Tiles of different sizes that can work together in a pattern.
moisture absorption
As the density of the tile increases, the amount of moisture that tile can absorb becomes less. Tile density means that, as the weight or the density of the tile increases, it becomes a stronger tile. Tile density and moisture absorption have an indirect relationship to each other. What this means is that as the density of the tile increases the moisture absorption rate becomes less. Tile density and moisture absorption is important for you to understand when selecting tile for different applications.
Decorative stone deviating from a plane surface by projections, curved profiles, recesses or any combination thereof.
Glazed tile produced by the single-fired method in which the raw tile body and glaze undergo a single pass through the kiln.
In addition to standard tile styles and sizes, decorative inserts, medallions and mosaics that are used to create intricate patterns and beautiful borders are also available. Tile size 2"x2" and smaller are usually referred to as mosaics and are often used with different colors to create a pattern or decorative inset. Some of these smaller tiles also come in different shapes, such as hexagon.
mounted tile
Tile assembled into units or sheets
slang term referring to thick–bed mortar consisting of sand and cement.


natural stone
A product of nature. A stone such as granite, marble, limestone, slate, travertine, or sandstone that is formed by nature, and is not artificial or manmade.
nominal size
Tile is usually referred to by its nominal size, not its actual size. During the firing process, ceramic tile will shrink, on average, by about 10% in size. For example a 12" by 12" floor tile will actually measure 11-7/8 inches square. Currently, the most popular ceramic floor tile are the larger sized tiles such as 13" by 13", 16" by 16" and 18" by 18" sizes.
non-vitreous tiles
Tiles that absorb 7% or more moisture. They are suited for indoor use only.


A stone molding with a reverse curved edge: concave above, convex below.
A semi-precious sedimentary gemstone of calcite variety with an extremely fine crystal formation. Onyx is valued for its translucent quality and can be backlit for dramatic effect.


When the surface of a material has changed in color or texture due to age or exposure to various elements, it is referred to as patina.
A single unit of fabricated stone for use as an exterior paving material.
paver tile
Unglazed porcelain or natural clay tile
PEI rating
This rating is established by the Porcelain Enamel Institute to rate the resistance of glazed ceramic tile to visible surface abrasion. Commonly referred to as "abrasion resistance", this is probably the most commonly used industry rating for wear.
A tile finish that features softly rounded edges, thus giving the tile a pillowed look.
polished finish
A high-gloss finish attained by machine-grinding and buffing the stone.
porcelain tile
Porcelain tile is made up of 50% feldspar and is fired at a much higher temperature than regular ceramic tile. This makes porcelain tile much harder and more dense than other tile products. Because of its highly durable make-up, porcelain is more resistant to scratches and can withstand temperature extremes. Also, because porcelain is non-porous, it's very stain resistant, has very low water absorption ratings (Less than 0.5%) and thus can be used for interior and exterior applications as well as heavy-use and commercial areas. Finally, because porcelain's color goes all the way through, small scratches or chips are less noticeable.
The amount and size of the pores in a stone. Travertine is very porous and granite is not.
The third and most common step in the manufacturing of ceramic tile. The clay is pressed or formed into a tile shape. These pressed tiles are called green tiles at this stage.


The location of an operation where a deposit of stone is extracted from the earth through an open pit or underground mine.
quarry block
Generally, a rectangular piece of rough stone as it comes from a quarry, frequently dressed (scabbed) or wire-sawed for shipment.
quarry tile 
a slang term usually 6x6 or 8x8 impervious unglazed tile.
A silicon dioxide mineral that occurs in colorless and transparent or colored hexagonal crystals or in crystalline masses. One of the hardest minerals that compose stones such as sandstone, granite, and quartzite.
A highly hardened, typically metamorphosed member of the sandstone group. Quartzite contains a minimum of 95% free silica. Quartzite can look similar to slate, but is actually harder and denser. Also available in slabs.


rectified edge
Rectification is a process wherein finished tiles are ground on each side to a precise final dimension.
red body
The color of the body is determined by the color of the clay used by the manufacturer. The body of a red body tile will be red in color. The quality of the tile is more related to the quality of the manufacturer rather than the color of the body.
A fabrication technique, often called "rodding," that refers to the strengthening of unsound marble and limestone by cementing rods into grooves or channels cut into the back of the stone unit. Another method of reinforcement is the lamination of fiberglass to the back of tile units.
Carving or embossing raised above a background plane, as in a bas-relief.
rock (pitch) faced
Similar to split faced, except that the face of the stone is pitched to a given line and plane, producing a bold appearance rather than the comparatively straight face obtained in split face.
A term applied to dimension stone used chiefly for walls and foundations, consisting of irregularly squared pieces, partly trimmed or squared, generally with one split or finished face, and selected and specified with a size range.


A finishing process of blasting the surface of stone with sand, which yields a rough, porous finish.
sanded grout
There are two types of grout commonly used in home installations; Portland cement based, and epoxy based. Both of these grout compounds may have sand added to provide additional strength to the tile joint. Sanded grout is recommended for tile joints 1/8th of an inch and larger.
A sedimentary rock composed mostly of mineral and rock fragments. Sandstone contains a minimum of 60% free silica. Sandstone is a soft, loose-knit stone that has a natural, rustic look.
sanitary cove base
A ceramic floor tile trim that has a rounded finished top like a bullnose to cover up the body of the tile.
a penetrate applied to prevent the absorption of liquids or other debris. Used with porous materials including: quarry tile, grout, and natural stone. Sealer is not necessary for glazed ceramic tile.
1. To make a veneer joint watertight with an elastic adhesive compound. 2. Application of a treatment to retard staining.
semi-vitreous tiles
Tiles that absorb from 3% to 7% moisture. They are applicable for indoor use only.
The trade of installing dimension stone.
shade variation
Shade variation is inherent in all fired ceramic products and certain tiles will show greater variation within their dye lots. Shade variation is usually listed on the back label of each sample with a low, moderate, high or random rating.
shell stone
A sedimentary stone found in Florida and Central America, sharing characteristics of limestone, with fossils and shells embedded in its body. Shell stone is a relatively soft, porous stone that retains less heat than denser stone. Often used in exteriors near pools.
shop drawing
A detailed fabrication and installation drawing showing dimensions and methods of anchorage.
Large, thin, flat pieces of stone cut from large blocks of stone. Usually 2 centimeters (¾ inch) or 3 centimeters (1-¼ inch) thick, slabs are often fabricated into kitchen counter tops or used as cladding on vertical surfaces.
A micro crystalline metamorphic rock commonly derived from shale. Slate is primarily composed of mica, chlorite and quartz. Slates are predominantly available in cleft-finished tiles; ideal for use in exterior, non-freeze settings.
A talc-rich stone with a "soapy" feel, used for hearths, tabletops, kitchen countertops, farmhouse sinks, chemical-resistant laboratory tops and stove facings. It is known for its heat, chemical and stain-resistant properties. It is highly recommended to use a stone enhancer and sealer on soapstone.
plastic pieces that are used in installation to evenly separate tile. Manufactured in various thicknesses and shapes.
split-faced stone
Stone on which the face has been broken to an approximate plane.
square foot
The unit of measure that most tile is sold by.
stacked bond
Stone that is cut to one dimension and installed with unbroken vertical and horizontal joints running the entire length and height of the veneered area.
stone tile
The typical natural stone floor tile sizes are 12"x12", 13"x13", 16"x16" and 18"x18".
The underlayment for the ceramic tile installation. The process for installing a ceramic floor begins with the preparation of the tile foundation, or what's called the substrate. Common materials used as tile substrates in home installations include concrete, plywood, and drywall.


Traditional Italian raw material–surfaces may be rustic or smooth and waxed for luster
A flooring surface of marble or granite chips in a cementitious or resinous matrix, which is ground and finished after setting.
textured finish
A rough surface finish.
Installation method–cement mortar applied in minimum thickness of 1/4" to create the backing surface on which tiles will be installed
Today, many tile installers have opted for the industry accepted and more efficient thinset method, where the tile is adhered directly onto a backer board that is nailed to a plywood or concrete substrate using a much thinner layer of mortar. It is made of sand, cement and usually a latex additive.
A flat strip of stone projecting above the floor between the jambs of a door. Also known as a "saddle."
through body porcelain tile  (AKA. thru body porcelain tile)
A solid porcelain tile consisting of no surface glaze. The color pigments are consistent throughout the body of the tile - top to bottom. The tile is fired in a kiln at approximately 2,000 degrees, creating a hard, non-porous, impermeable tile with a water absorption rate of 0.5% or less.
1. a ceramic unit, usually thin in relation to facial area. Made from clay or a mixture of clay and other ceramic material. Has a glazed or an unglazed face. 2. A thin modular stone unit, generally less than 3/4" thick.
tile density
Tile density means that, as the weight or the density of the tile increases, it becomes a stronger tile. Moisture absorption means that, as the density of the tile increases, the amount of moisture that tile can absorb becomes less. Tile density and moisture absorption have an indirect relationship to each other. What this means is that as the density of the tile increases the moisture absorption rate becomes less. Tile density and moisture absorption is important for you to understand when selecting tile for different applications.
Dimensional allowance in the fabrication process.
A type of crystalline or micro crystalline limestone with a distinctive layered structure. Some layers contain pores and cavities which create an open texture. Depending on the product selected, pores in travertine may be filled or unfilled. Travertine is available in warm, earth tones, making it one of the most popular stones for interior and exterior flooring.
A flat stone used as the top walking surface on steps.
The framing or edging of openings and other features on the interior or exterior of a building, including baseboards, picture rails, cornices, and casings.
tumbled finish
A weathered, aging finished created when the stone is tumbled with sand, pebbles, or steel bearings.
tumbled stone
Marble, travertine, and slate tumbled in a solution of water, sand and river rock, producing tiles with an old-world, weathered look.


unglazed tile
Unglazed tiles are a solid color all the way through and do not have a top layer of glaze. This is often referred to as through-body construction. They have no additional surface applications and are typically more dense and durable than glazed tile. Thus they are more suitable for interior and exterior applications and have good slip resistance. They come in various surface treatments and textures.
unsanded grout
There are two types of grout commonly used in home installations; Portland cement based, and epoxy based. Both of these grout compounds may have sand added to provide additional strength to the tile joint. Unsanded grout is typically used in joints that are smaller than 1/8th of an inch.


A layer, seam, or narrow irregular body of mineral material different from the surrounding formation.
A process opposite of cross-cutting, where the vein in the stone is shown as a linear pattern.
vitreous tile
A tile with less than 3% water absorption. These tiles are usually frostproof and ideal for most wet areas such as pools and spas.


An interior veneer of stone covering the lower portion of an interior wall.
wall tile
glazed tile with a body suitable for interior use. Not expected to withstand excessive impact or be subject to freezing/thawing conditions. It is not appropriate for use on a floor.
water-jet finish
A surface treatment performed by using water under extreme high pressure.
white body
The color of the body is determined by the color of the clay used by the manufacturer. The body of a white body tile will be white in color. The quality of the tile is more related to the quality of the manufacturer rather than the color of the body.