Terminology & Glossary

Request a Sample

Terminology, a glossary of tile & related terms

AdhesiveGlue used to stick tiles to wall or floorCommon brands RLA, Davco, ASA, Laticrete
BicotturaTwice fired/double firedFire the base once, then glaze and fire again – makes the body much harder
BiscuitThe clay from which a tile is pressedPeople often describe a glazed tile as having a red or white biscuit (or bisque.)
Body TileMain tile AKA Field tileEither the plain tile where a decorator or feature tile is used with, or describes the bulk of the tile
BullnoseEither a round edge or return edgeUsually used on steps, or to finish a top course of tiles
Capping Tile Usually used to finish a top course of tiles, usually rounded or decorative profile
CoveTrim with one edge a concave; used to form a junction between the bottom wall course and the floorPrevents dirt building up in the joint between wall and floor, also provides a harder skirting than glazed wall so prevent damage to walls when cleaning (from mop/brooms hitting)
CrazingWhen glazed cracksSometimes can be decorative, or may result from age and exposure to the environment
Decorative tile Anything used for aesthetics only
Extruded TilesRaw materials are forced through a mold then cut into shapeE.g. Terracotta
FaceThe top of the tile 
Field TileMain tile AKA Body tileEither the plain tile where a decorator or feature tile is used with, or describes the bulk of the tile
GlazeThin glassy ceramic coatingmatt, Satin, gloss etc can be wall or floor – floor glazed strength measure PEI
GlossGlazed tile with high shine finishSee Futuris Series glazed walls
GroutMaterial used to fill in joints between tilesCan be white or coloured, may be modified or epoxy
Impervious TileHas water absorption of less than 0.5%AKA vitrified, or porcelain
JollyTile edges cut at 45 degrees to make a neat external edgeSee M15 Helsinki, AKA Mitred Edge
ListelloPencil tile, feature strip tilesSee CRM series (200x12mm)
Matt FinishDull finish to glazed or unglazed tileSee Glennon M15 series, and FM6…
Mesh backedMosaics joint together by the factory to form a sheetTo enable easier and neater fixing, mesh can be paper, cotton, fibre, resin…
Mitred TilesSee jollyE.g.
MonocotturaOnce fired 
MosaicSmall tiles, supplied on sheetsCan be glass, glazed, unglazed marble etc (Glennon Glass Mosaic & Bauhaus series)
Paper facedMosaic tiles sheeted by the factory with paper on the front, which is removed after adhering to the surfaceSee Glennon glass mosaics, benefit of paper faced sheeting is that tile adhesive can cover 100% of the back of the tile, where mesh backed cannot achieve this, the paper does not go to the edge of the sheet of tiles, so fixers can still line up the joints between the sheets
PEIPorcelain Enamel InstitutePEI 1-5 (5 being strongest) Measures glaze durability 
Porositylevel of water absorption 
PorcelainTiles with water absorption levels <.5%, durable tiles may be glazed or unglazed 
Pressed TilesClay is pressed into shape before firing 
Quarry TilesTiles made by extrusion, natural clay tiles with water absorption level <6%E.g. Terracotta.  Other tiles are usually PRESSED
Ramp testTest using a ramp and oil, inclined and measured by a person walking up the ramp to establish slip resistanceResults either R9 (least slip resistant) to R12 (most resistant) Check HB197 to see recommended rating for particular areas
RectifiedEdges of tile cut back after firingcut edges, usually very straight, often allows a narrower grout joint, can be on glazed (F725) or unglazed tiles (see Pietra Series)
Skirting tilesBottom row of wall tilesCan be coved or not, can be floor or wall tile, usually used to protect the wall
SpacersPlastic pieces used to ensure even joint widthsUsually tile Crosses or wedges (standard sizes 1.5mm 3mm and 5mm
Slip resistant tilesTiles manufactured to reduce slipperinessCan be glazed (usually have grit added to the glaze), or unglazed, unglazed may have a textured surface.  In Australia slip resistance is measured by 3 tests.  Ramp test, Wet pendulum test, and Wet barefoot test.  Standard for measuring slip resistance is AS/NZS 4586:2004
Step TreadsTrim tiles for stairs featuring ribs or abrasive strips to prevent slippingSee 2 examples Glennon ST9 with ribs and Glennon Q10RL512.  On commercial projects a contrasting colour steptread needs to be used to highlight the edge and reduce chance of people tripping
Tactile IndicatorsStudded tiles used to assist vision impaired people, can be hazard (studs) or directional (ribbed)AS1428 – part 4 & Building Codes of Australia.  General notes: Must be a contrasting colour to its surrounds, used at top and bottom of ramps and stairs.  Either 300 or 600mm widths to denote top or bottom of ramp/steps etc – check standard
TerracottaUnglazed porous tile (has high water absorption)Usually different shades of Red
Unglazed tileHard Fired glazed tile that has colour that runs throughout the body of the tile 
Vitreous (vitrified) TileTiles with water absorption levels <.5%, durable tiles may be glazed or unglazed 
Wall TilesUsually glazed as mechanical strength & abrasion & impact resistance not usually a consideration although unglazed also suitable 
Wet Barefoot TestAustralian test to determine slip resistance in areas were people are normally barefoot and water is presentResults from A-C (A lowest, C highest), all suitable for certain areas, normally pools, and pool surrounds or showers. Check HB197 to see recommended rating for particular areas
Wet Pendulum TestAustralian test using a pendulum to determine slip resistanceResults from V – Z, V highest slip resistance to Z lowest.  Check HB197 to see recommended rating for particular areas

Have a project in mind?


+61 9698 2799


121 McEvoy Street
Alexandria NSW 2015