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- Many tiles, both glazed and unglazed, are deliberately produced with a wide shade variation to capture the natural beauty of the product.
- A certain degree of shade variation is inherent in all ceramic tile.
- The manufacturers limit the amount of shade variation within a carton by sorting the tile as it comes off the production line. Also, the shade and run numbers are marked on each carton.
- To minimize any noticeable shade variations, the installers work out of several cartons simultaneously. In doing so, they are able to blend the tiles
- The sizes of the tiles will vary slightly. This is inherent with most tiles.
- Most manufacturers will keep sizing to an acceptable level by sorting the tile by size prior to packing it.
- The grout joints will conceal slight size variations.
NOTE: If either the sizing or shading is too apparent, the installer should not set the tile.
Normal vs. Actual Sizing:
Although most tile is advertised and sold by nominal sizes such as 8”x 8” or 12”x 12” the actual sizes will be more like 7 7/8” x 7 7/8” or 11 7/8” x 11 7/8”.
Facts about the Clay Body:
- The clay body, which is also called the bisque, consists of various types of clay and other minerals. Combined, these raw materials give the bisque its strength and stability.
- The strength of the bisque is also determined by its density. The strongest bisques, those suited for heavy commercial installations, have the smallest and least number of air pockets.
- The density of clay also determines if the tile is suitable for outdoor use. Tiles that are too porous, absorbing more than 3% moisture will freeze and crack if
installed outdoors in cold climates.
The density of the tile is measured by the amount of water it absorbs:
Non-Vitreous Tiles absorb 7% or more of their weight in water. Suited for indoor use only.
Semi – Vitreous Tiles absorb 3% to 7% water. Suited for indoor use only
Vitreous Tiles absorb 0.5% to 3% water. Suited for both interior and exterior use. They are frost resistant.
Impervious Tiles absorb between 0 and 0.5% of their weight in water. Suited for both interior and exterior use. They are frost resistant. They are also considered the strongest tile.
Facts about the Glaze:
- The glaze is a liquid glass that has been sprayed or poured onto the surface of the tile. It is then fused and hardened by means of tremendous heat.
- The colors of the glaze are made from a mixture of minerals such as gold, silver, zinc, copper, mercury, cobalt and many others.
- The strength and wear resistance of the glaze is determined by its hardness. The following factors may effect this hardness:
- The higher the temperature of the kilns (ovens) the harder the glaze.
- Dark color glazes such as blacks and blues are usually softer than light colored ones.
- Shiny glazes are usually softer than matte or satin finished glazes.