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Tile Glossary

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Substance used to secure tile to floor or wall before being grouted. Thin-set mortar, epoxy mortar, and mastic.

Mesh Backing

A durable mesh that is applied to the back of mosaic tiles to maintain the design. Having a mesh-backed mosaic allows for decorative tile to be used without laying each piece out individually.


The area behind a stove or sink designed to protect the wall from splash damage. The use of tile on a backsplash reduces the maintenance and makes for an easy cleaning process.

Beveled Edge

The edge of a flat surface that features an incline.


Curved edge of a tile that gives the piece a rounded finish. This type of tile is frequently used on corners and shower niches.


Tile material made of a blend of clay, water, and other elements that is shaped into a piece of tile, then fired in a kiln to harden it. Glaze is typically applied to add resistance to water and for a glossy appearance.

White Body Ceramic

Ceramic made with higher quality materials, however it is typically only used on walls since it’s a lighter ceramic

Red Body Ceramic

Ceramic made with more affordable materials and can be used on walls and floors

Cove Base

Trim piece typically used at the base of the wall to conceal the small gap between the wall and floor.


Decorative pieces that can be used as inserts, trim, or as a field installation.


The effect on the surface of the tile. Finishes vary and include matte, gloss, and honed.

Frost Proof

Tile that is frost proof will not expand in freezing temperatures and break.


Coating applied to the surface of ceramic and porcelain tiles that give it a glassy sheen.


Mixture filling the space between each tile that helps the tiles bond to eachother. This prevents water from getting in between the tiles. Grout comes in an array of colors.

Honed Finish

A natural stone finish that has been smoothed out, but isn’t shiny and retains a slightly textured feel.


Printing process that dispenses ink on the surface of the tile to give it a graphic effect.


Varying patterns in which tiles can be laid including offset, stacked, and herringbone.


A hard sedimentary rock used as building material like tile and is available in different neutral shades.


Border tile with decorative features. This can be a solid piece with embellishments or a mosaic piece.


Natural stone with veining in varying degrees used as a building material like tile. Marble comes in a variety of colors and finishes.


When two edges are cut at a 45° angle and placed together to form a 90° angle.


Pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces of hard material, such as stone, tile, or glass.

Mylar Face

Mosaic that features a Mylar film placed on the front of the mosaic rather than the back. The mosaic pieces to adhere directly to the adhesive and allows for individual chip adjustment.


Stands for Porcelain Enamel Institute. A PEI Rating is given to tile based on the durability of its glaze

Polished Finish

A natural stone finish that has been smoothed out to a glossy sheen.


A durable ceramic that is commonly used for floor applications.


A substance applied to natural stone tile to prevent staining.


Small pieces of plastic applied in between tiles during installation to keep an even and equal distance between each tile.


An adhesive for tile made up of water, sand, and cement. TILE: Tiles are usually thin, square or rectangular coverings manufactured from hard-wearing material such as ceramic, stone, metal, baked clay, or even glass.

Trim Pieces

Finishing tile pieces that cover gaps, round out edges, or simply add a decorative touch.

Tumbled Finish

Buffed finish that features a smoother look, but retains a rustic and distressed look.

Gloss Finish

Shiny finish that’s applied through a glaze rather than from being polished.

Undulated Surface

Irregular wavy surface that has a handmade appearance.