Ability of a surface to resist being worn away by rubbing and friction
Absorption The relationship of the weight of the water
absorbed be a ceramic specimen subjected to prescribed immersion procedure,
to the weight of the dry specimen, expressed in percent.
Accelerator A substance which, when added to concrete,
mortar, or grout, increases the rate of hydration of the hydraulic cement,
shortens the time of setting, or increases the rate of hardening of
strength development, or both.
Acrylic A general class of resinous polymers derived
from esters, amides or other acrylic acid derivatives.
Additive A term frequently (but improperly) used as
a synonym for addition or admixture.
Adhesion The state in which two surfaces are held together
by interfacial forces which may consist of valence forces or interlocking
action, or both.
Adhesion, mechanical Adhesion between surfaces in which
the adhesive holds the parts together by interlocking action.
Adhesion, specific Adhesion between surfaces which
are held together by valence forces of the same type as those which
give rise to cohesion.
Admixture A material other than water, aggregates,
and hydraulic cement, used as an ingredient of concrete or mortar, and
added to the concrete immediately before or during its mixing.
Aggregate Granular material, such as sand, gravel,
crushed stone, and iron blast-furnace slag, used with a cementing medium
to form a hydraulic-cement, concrete or mortar.
Alkali A chemical substance which effectively neutralizes
acid material so as to form neutral salts. A base. The opposite of acid.
Examples are ammonia and caustic soda.
Backing Any material used as a base over which a finished
material is to be installed.
Bisque cracks Any fractures in the body of a tile visible
both on the face and back.
Bond The adherence of one material to another. Effective
bonds must be achieved between the mortar and scratch coat, between
the tile and mortar, and between the adhesive and backing.
Bonding agent A substance applied to a suitable substrate
to create a bond between it and a succeeding layer as between a subsurface
and a terrazzo topping or a succeeding plaster application.
Bond strength The force per unit area or length necessary
to rupture a bond.
Bright gloss Colorless or colored ceramic glaze have
a high gloss.
Broken joint Ceramic tile installation featuring each
row offset for half its length.
Bullnose A trim tile with a convex radius on one edge.
This tile is used for finishing the top of a wainscot or for turning
an outside corner.
Bullnose corner A type of bullnose trim with a convex
radius on two adjacent edges.
Butt joint A plain square joint between two members
Buttonback tile Tile that have projections on the bondable
side. Many of these projections are round and therefore the term buttonback.
Butyl rubber A copolymer of about 98% isobutylene and
2% isoprene. It has the poorest resistance to petroleum oils and gasolines
of any rubber. Excellent resistance to vegetable and mineral oils: to
solvents such as acetone, alcohol, phenol and ethylene glycol; and to
water and gas absorption. Heat resistance is above average. Sunlight
resistance is excellent. It's abrasion resistance is not as good as
natural rubber. Usually low permeability to gases.
Catalyst Substance which markedly speeds up the cure
of an adhesive when added in minor quantity as compared to the amounts
of primary reactants.
Caulking Compound A soft, plastic material consisting
of pigment and vehicle, used for sealing joints in buildings and other
structures where normal structural movement may occur. Caulking compound
retains its plasticity for an extended period after application. It
is available in forms suitable for application by gun and knife and
in extruded preformed shapes
Ceiling mortar Extra-rich wall mortar.
Cement Usually refers to portland cement which when
mixed with sand, gravel, and water forms concrete. Generally, cement
is an adhesive; specifically, it is that type of adhesive which sets
by virtue of a chemical reaction.
Ceramic tile A ceramic surfacing unit, usually relatively
thin in relation to facial area, made from clay or a mixture or clay;
and other ceramic material, called the body of the tile, having either
a "glazed" or "unglazed" face, and fired about red
heat in the course of manufacture to a temperature sufficiently high
to produce specific physical properties and characteristics.
Colored grout Commercially prepared grout consisting
of carefully graded aggregate, portland cement, water dispersing agents,
plasticizers and color fast pigments.
Composition tile A hard tile surfacing unit made from
a mixture of chemicals. The finished surface can be the mixture of chemicals
or can be marble chips to create a terrazzo finish. The unit is made
hard by the set of the chemicals and the product is not fired as in
the manufacture of ceramic tile.
Concrete A composite material which consists essentially
of a binding medium within which are embedded particles or fragments
of aggregate; in portland cement concrete, the binder is a mixture of
portland cement and water.
Covebase A trim tile having a concave radius on one
edge and a convex radius with a flat landing on the opposite edge. This
base often is used as the only course of tile above the floor tile.
Crazing The cracking which occurs in fired glazes or
other ceramic coatings due to critical tensile stresses.
Cure time The time required to produce vulcanization
of hydration at a given temperature. The cure time varies widely, being
dependent on the type of compounding used, the thickness of the product,
Curing Maintenance of humidity and temperature of freshly
placed concrete during some definite period following placing, casting,
or finishing to assure satisfactory hydration of the cementitious materials
and proper hardening of the concrete.
Cushion-edged tile Tile on which the facial edges have
a distinct curvature that results in a slightly recessed joint.
load A constant load that in structures is due to the mass
of the members, the supported structure, and permanent attachments or
Decorative tile Tile with a ceramic decoration on the
Density The ratio of the mass of a body to its volume,
or the mass per unit volume of the substance. When G.G.S. units are
used, the density of a substance is numerically equal to the specific
gravity of the substance referred to water a 4 degrees C, the maximum
density (1,000) of water. For ordinary practical purposes, density and
specific gravity may be regarded as equivalent.
Double bullnose A type of trim with the same convex
radius on two opposite sides.
Dry pack Concrete or mortar mixtures deposited and
consolidated by dry packing.
Dry packing Placing of zero slump, or near zero slump,
concrete, mortar, or grout by ramming into a confined space.
Dry spots Small areas on the face of tile which have
been insufficiently glazed.
Dutchman A cut tile used as a filler in the run of
a wall or floor area.
Eagle Beak A 6 inch X 3/4 inch outside corner trim
Efflorescence The residue deposited on the surface
of a material by the crystallization of soluble salts.
Encaustic Tile decorated with colored clays inlaid
and fired. Also colored tile laid in a wall or floor to form a pattern.
Epoxy grout A two-part grout system consisting of epoxy
resin and epoxy hardener, especially formulated to have impervious qualities,
stain, and chemical resistance, used to fill joints between tile units.
Epoxy mortar A two-part mortar system consisting of
epoxy resin and epoxy hardener used to bond tile to back-up material
where chemical resistance of high bond strength is a consideration.
Estimate Projected cost of materials and labor for
a construction project or portion of a project.
Expansion joint A joint through tile, mortar, and reinforcing
wire down to the substrate.
Extruded tile A tile or trim unit that is formed when
plastic clay mixtures are forced through a pug mill opening (die) of
suitable configuration, resulting in a continuous ribbon of formed clay.
A wire cutter or similar cut-off device is then used to cut the ribbon
into appropriate lengths and widths of tile.
Field tile An area of tile covering a wall or floor.
The field is bordered by tile trim.
Fire, bisque The process of kiln-firing ceramic ware
prior to glazing.
Fire, single The process of maturing an unfired ceramic
body and its glaze in one firing operation.
Flat trowel The flat trowel is used in conjunction
with the hawk for the transferring of mortar from the mortarboard to
the wall or to other vertical surfaces. It is frequently used for spreading
pure cement on the finished float coat. The flat trowel also is used
for spreading mortar on floor surfaces before tiles are set.
Float strip A strip of wood about 1/4 inch thick and
1 1/4 inch wide. It is used as a guide to align mortar surfaces.
Floor tile A ceramic, glazed or unglazed paver, quarry
or mosaic tile resistant to abrasion and impact.
Frost proof tile Tile produced for use where freezing
and thawing conditions occur.
Glass mosaic tiles Tiles made of glass, usually in
sizes not over two inches square and 1/4 inch thick, mounted on sheets
of paper. Usually sheets are twelve inches square.
Glaze A ceramic coating matured to the glassy state
on a formed ceramic article. The term glaze also refers to the material
or mixture from which the coating is made.
Glazed tile Tile with a fused impervious facial finish
composed of ceramic materials, fused into the body of the tile which
may be a non-vitreous, semi-vitreous, vitreous, or impervious body.
The glazed surface may be clear, white, or colored.
Grout A rich or strong cementitious or chemically setting
mix used for filling tile joints.
Grout saw The grout saw is a saw-toothed carbide steel
blade mounted on a sometimes wooden handle. It is used to remove old
Impervious The degree of vitrification evidenced visually
by complete resistance to dye penetration.
Impervious tile Has water absorption of 0.5 percent
In/Out corner Trim tile for turning a right-angle inside or outside
a wall corner.
Kiln cracks Cracks in tile, flat or trim, occurring
when the tile is fired. Typically, the cracks are from one outer edge
and do not go clear across the tile.
A joint made by overlapping adjacent edge areas of two adherends to
provide facing surfaces which can be joined with an adhesive.
Latex A water emulsion of a synthetic rubber or plastic
obtained by polymerization and used especially in coatings and adhesives.
Latex grout A portland cement grout with a special
latex additive which results in a less rigid, less permeable grout than
regular portland cement grout.
Latex mortar A mixture of portland cement, sand, and
special latex additives which is used for bonding tile to back-up material.
It is less rigid than portland cement mortar.
Lath A wood strip or metal mesh, which acts as a background
or reinforcing agent for the scratch coat or mortar coat.
Layout stick A long strip of wood marked at the appropriate
joint intervals for the tile to be used. It is used to check the length,
width, or height of the tile work. A common name for this item is idiot
Leaching Leaching is a condition where liquids ooze
out of the joint between ceramic tile veneer, regardless of the veneer
is grouted or not, and runs down over the tile.
Lime Specifically, calcium oxide, also, loosely, a
general term for the various chemical and physical forms of quicklime,
hydrated lime and hydraulic hydrated lime.
Limestone A sedimentary carbonate rock, composed chiefly
of calcite, but sometimes containing appreciable dolomite.
Live load The moving load or variable weight to which
a building is subjected, due to the weight of the people who occupy
it, the furnishings and other movable objects.
Load A force provided by weight or mass (gravitational),
external or environmental sources such as wind, water and temperature,
or other sources of energy.
Marble tiles Marble cut into tile sizes twelve (12)
inches squares of less, usually 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch think. Several
types of finishes are made, polished, honed, split faced, etc.
Mastic Organic tile adhesive.
Mexican paver tile Terra cotta-like tile, used mainly
for floors, and handmade. These tiles vary in color, texture and appearance,
from tile to tile and within each tile. They are available in squares
up to 12 inches, and in various shapes. These tiles are coated with
various types of sealers because of their soft adsorptive characteristics.
The coatings provide a wearing surface on the pavers which would otherwise
powder away under wear.
Mixing time The period during which the constituents
of a batch of concrete are mixed by a mixer; for a stationary mixer,
time is given in minutes from the completion of mixer charging until
beginning of discharge; for a truck mixer, time is given in good mixing
in a specific speed or expressed in terms of total revolutions at a
specific mixing speed.
Monocottura (Single-fired) A term used for tile manufactured
by a process which allows the simultaneous firing of the clay with the
glaze producing a finished tile with a single firing.
Mortar A mixture of cement paste and fine aggregate;
in fresh concrete, the material occupying the interstices among particles
of coarse aggregate; in masonry construction, mortar may contain masonry
cement, or may contain hydraulic cement with lime (and possibly other
admixtures) to afford greater plasticity and workability than are attainable
with standard hydraulic cement mortar.
Mosaics Small tiles or bits of tile, stone, or glass.
These are used to form a surface design or an intricate pattern.
Mounted tile Tile assembled into units or sheets by
suitable material to facilitate handling and installation. Tile may
be face-mounted, back-mounted or edge-mounted. Face-mounted tile assemblies
may have paper or other suitable material applied to the face of each
tile, usually by water soluble adhesives so that is can be easily removed
after installation but prior to grouting of the joints. Back-mounted
tile assemblies may have perforated paper, fiber mesh, resin or other
suitable material bonded to the back and/or edges of each tile which
becomes an integral part of the tile installation. Back-mounted and
edge-mounted tile assemblies shall have a sufficient exposure of tile
and joints surrounding each tile to comply with bond strength requirements.
Tile manufacturers must specify whether back-mounted and edge-mounted
tile assemblies are suitable for installation in swimming pools, on
exteriors and/or in wet areas.
Mud A slang term for mortar.
Non-vitreous That degree of vitrification evidenced
by relatively high water absorption.
Notched trowels Notched trowels are available in the
serrated and square-tooth design. The teeth are made in various sizes.
The correct tooth size and depth must be used to apply the thickness
of bonding mortar specified. These trowels are used to apply all of
the various kinds of bonding materials for ceramic tile. When the teeth
become worn, the trowel has to be resharpened or replaced.
Open time The period of time during which the bond
coat retains its ability to adhere to the tile and bond the tile to
Organic adhesive A prepared organic material, ready
to use with no further addition of liquid or powder, used for bonding
tile to back-up material by the thin set method. Cures or sets by evaporation.
paper and wire mesh (or metal lath) that are used as a backing for the
installation of tile.
Paper mounted ceramic mosaics Ceramic mosaic tiles
mounted on paper. Paper is applied to face of tile in sheets approximately
twelve (12) inches wide, twenty-four (24) inches long.
Pavers Unglazed porcelain or natural clay tile formed
by the dust-pressed method and similar to ceramic mosaics in composition
and physical properties but relatively thicker with 6 inch square or
more facial area.
Permeability The quality or condition of allowing passage
of liquids or gasses through a rubber layer.
Plasticizer A material that increases plasticity of
a cement paste, mortar, or concrete mixture.
Pointing trowel The pointing trowel or pointer is probably
the most essential tool in the trade. It comes in sizes ranging from
4 to 6 inches in length, but the 6 inch trowel is the most popular.
The tile setter uses this trowel in every phase of the work, especially
for straightening tiles on walls and floors, marking floated surfaces,
filling small depressions on float coats, buttering tiles and trim work,
and placing mortar in areas that are too small the flat trowel. The
butt of the handle is used for tapping in tiles that are not on a true
plane with the rest of the tile work. The trowel's flat working surface
must be protected. The tile setter should not use it to pry or chop
hardened materials such as concrete or plaster.
Porcelain A glazed or unglazed vitreous ceramic whiteware
used for technical purposes. This term designates such products as electrical,
chemical, mechanical, structural, and thermal wares when they are vitreous.
Porcelain process The method of producing glazed ware
by which a ceramic body and glaze are matured together in the same firing
Porosity, apparent The relationship of the open pore
space to the bulk volume, expressed in percent.
Pot life The period of time during which a material
maintains its workable properties after it has been mixed.
Prefloat The term used to describe mortar that has
been placed and allowed to harden prior to bonding tile to it with thin-set
Rubber trowel The rubber trowel used for grouting is
a non-porous synthetic-rubber-faced float that is mounted on an aluminum
back with a wood handle. This trowel is used to force material deep
into tile joints and to remove excess material for a perfect finish.
Rubbing stone A Carborundum stone that is used to smooth
the rough edges of tile.
Sag A term used when a wall surface has developed a
Scratch A mixture of portland cement, sand, and water.
Sealer (1) A continuous film or penetrant to prevent
the passage of liquids or gaseous media; a high-bodied adhesive generally
of low cohesive strength to fill voids of various sizes to prevent passage
of liquid or gaseous media. (2) A coating used to seal the sand-scratched
surface of a primer in order to obtain a smooth uniform paint base over
rough metal. Sealers are products of low pigmentation.
Self-spacing tile Tile with lugs, spacers, or protuberances
on the sides. These devices automatically space the tile for the grout
Semi-vitreous 3 percent to 7 percent water absorption.
Set The condition reached by a cement paste, mortar,
or concrete when it has lost plasticity to an arbitrary degree, usually
measured in terms of resistance to penetration or deformation; initial
set refers to first penetration or deformation; initial set refers to
first stiffening; final set refers to attainment of significant rigidity;
also, strain remaining after removal of stress.
Shelf life Maximum interval during which a material
may be stored and remain in a usable condition.
Shower pan Terminology used in some areas for Waterproof
Skid resistance A measure of the frictional characteristics
of a surface.
Slab A flat (although sometimes ribbed on the underside)
reinforced concrete element of a building which provides the base for
the floor or roofing materials.
Spacers T, Y and X shaped, they are used in installation
to separate tile on walls and floors. They are manufactured in various
thickness from 1/16 to 1/2.
Splash walls The walls of a tile drainboard or bathtub.
Substrate The underlying support for the ceramic tile
cotta Hard baked clayware, including tile, of variable color,
averaging reddish red-yellow in hue and of high saturation.
Thin-set A term used to describe the bonding of tile
with suitable materials applied approximately 1/8 inch thick.
Tile cutter The tile cutter is one of the most efficient
and economic tools in the tile setting trade. A popular model is the
hand-drawn tile cutting board that is adjustable.
Tile nipper Special pliers that nibble away little
bites of ceramic tile to create small, irregular or curved cuts.
Underlayment An application of a relatively thin layer
of mortar primarily used to level out-of-plane surfaces such as concrete
Unglazed tile A hard, dense tile of homogeneous composition
throughout, deriving color and texture from the materials of which the
body is made. The colors and characteristics of the tile are determined
by the materials used in the body, the method of manufacture, and the
Vapor Barrier Waterproof membrane placed under concrete
floor slabs that are placed on a grade.
Vitreous 0.5 percent to 3 percent water absorption.
Wall tile A glazed tile with a body that is suitable
for interior use and which is usually non-vitreous, and is not required
nor expected to withstand excessive impact.
Waterproof membrane A membrane, usually made of built-up
roofing, to provide a positive waterproof floor over the substrate,
which is to receive a tile installation using a wire reinforced mortar
Weephole Opening at the base of a shower drain to collect
moisture collected above membrane and dispense it into drain.
Wet area Interior or exterior tiled areas subject to
periodic or constant wetting. Examples: showers, sunken tubs, pools,
exterior walls, roofs, exterior paving and interior floors.
Wood float The wood float is sometimes used in place
of the flat trowel for floating mortar. It is good for smoothing small
irregularities left on the mortar bed, working the surface of the mortar
before troweling on the pure coat, or compacting floor and deck mortar.