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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Tile is the Healthy Choice?

Tile is a healthy choice, ceramic and porcelain tile is made from natural ingredients and free from toxic chemicals that can make you sick. Tile is the smart choice for a healthy home from the ground up! Tile is a hypoallergenic flooring option, naturally resistant to dust and other harmful pollutants that are known to cause a variety of health issues. Tile is a great choice if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Tile is impervious, meaning it's inhospitable to dust mites, bacteria, fungi, mold and other irritants. Tile is inherently inorganic, emitting zero VOCs. VOC's are emitted by virtually all other types of flooring. VOCs are harmful gases that can cause headaches, nausea, and nose, eye and throat irritation. VOC emissions are also a leading cause of "sick building syndrome".  Tile is also a solid material meaning tile does not contain the binders common to other flooring and wall surfaces- binders like formaldehyde. Tile is also free from PVC, a resin commonly used in other surfaces to improve mechanical flexibility and heat stability. PVC contains phthalates and organotin, both regularly a subject of concern and discussion among health experts. PVC link.

Why Tile is the Green Choice

  • Tile is a sustainable building material, Certified Green. 
  • No other flooring or wall covering choice can compare to tile when it comes to longevity. When installed correctly Tile will last for many generations. This combined with tile being a zero-waste manufacturing material maked it the most eco-friendly choice when it comes to flooring or wall coverings. 
  • Ceramic tile is plastic-free and completely recyclable.
  • There are many tile options available that are made from recycled materials.  Find some examples here or here.
  • Tile is Energy Efficient. Tile's inherent thermal mass reduces peak heating and cooling, which helps moderate temperature swings in your home. This means less work for you HVAC system and more energy savings for you.
  • Manufacturers of tile have the lowest carbon footprint of any flooring choice! Tile manufacturers typically use materials found within 500 miles of manufacturing facilities, dramatically reducing the energy and emissions that come from long-distance shipping of materials.

Why tile is the classic choice?

Over the centuries, tile has represented the perfect union of art and architecture. The richness of tile adorns our greatest buildings and historical icons. Whether you are looking for a durable surface for your flooring or something with a wow factor, tile can and should fulfil both desires!

Is Tile Waterproof?

Short answer No. Why is this important? When considering a tile contractor to construct and tile your shower or bathtub surround please keep in mind that your shower will have an average of 1100" or water ran per year, in comparison the average rainfall for Seattle Washington is 36" per year! Make sure that whomever you choose to install your new shower tile has a plan for waterproofing before installing tile!

Types of Tile

  • Porcelain Tile, porcelain tile is impervious, meaning its water absorption is 0.5% or less. A great choice for any application. Easy to maintain and very durable.
  • Ceramic Tile, similar to porcelain ceramic tile is fired clay. Ceramic is not fired as hot and long as porcelain making it a softer product. Ceramic tile also absorbs water at a much higher rate, making it a poor choice for most outdoor applications.
  • Mosaic Tile, tiles having a facial area of less than 9 in². Typically mounted on sheets or strips with other mosaic tiles.
  • Encaustic Tile, tile decorated with coloured clays, inlaid and fired. Often referred to as Cement Tile.
  • Marble Tile, marble that has been cut into tile sizes.
  • Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs; Large format tile that is gauged to a certain thickness, often only half the thickness of standard tiles and up to 63"x 126".
  • Natural Stone, tiles cut from naturally occurring material, travertine, marble etc.
  • Feature Tile; tile that is used strictly to make a statement, express your artistic taste and beautify your home. The choices are endless and as unique as you are! 3D tile, metallic tile, stone-look tile are just a few of the options.

Tile Terms

  • Brick joint or Running bond, Tile installation with each row offset, typically with half it's length. (If the side to be offset is greater than 15", a maximum offset of ⅓ is recommended.
  • Bullnose, trim tile with a radius on one edge, used for finishing an edge.
  • Backerboard; An underlayment material used as a substrate for tile. Some backerboards are waterproof and some need to be waterproofed for proper shower construction.
  • Grout; the material used for filling tile joints.
  • Honed; a satin surface with little or no gloss.
  • Lippage; A detectable change in elevation between the edges of tiles sharing the same grout joint.
  • Membrane; An underlayment material, usually in the form of a sheet or trowelable liquid applied to the substrate prior to tile installation. A couple common uses of membranes would be to isolate substrate cracks from the tile and mortar (crack isolation membranes), waterproofing (waterproof membranes).
  • Thinset mortar; A blend of cement, sand, and additional compounds to improve adhesion and add strength. 
  • Rectified Tile; A tile that has had all edges mechanically finished to achieve a more precise facial dimension. 
  • Trim; Various shapes of bases, caps, corners, mouldings, angles etc. to finish or trim tile.

What tile organizations exist?

  • ANSI, American National Standards Institute, a standards development organization.
  • ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials International, a standards development organization.
  • NTCA, National Tile Contractors Association, Established in 1947, the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the professional installation of ceramic tile and natural stone.  It is widely recognized as the largest and most respected tile contractors association in the world.
  • TCNA, Tile Council North America. TCNA is a trade association representing manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation materials, tile equipment, raw materials, and other tile-related products.  
  • Coverings, The largest event dedicated strictly to tile. Experience nine miles of the latest tile and stone trends. https://www.coverings.com/
  • CTDA, Ceramic Tile Distributor Association,
  • CTEF, Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, 
  • TCAA, Tile Contractors Association of America.
  • TCA Team, The TCA Team, a subsidiary of the TCNA, was launched to address the growing demand for tile installation consultations, inspections and expert witnesses.
  • Tile Heritage Foundation, For research and preservation of ceramic surfaces
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