Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5 Common Tile Terms (And Why You Should Know Them)

So you’ve decided to retile your bathroom or kitchen. That’s great. If you’re like most homeowners, though, you probably aren’t all that familiar with many common tile terms. Is that a problem? It could be, yes. Whether you’re doing research online or talking with a tile installation professional, it’s important to know basic tile terms so you can fully understand the product, the installation process, and proper maintenance techniques. The following are five of the most common tile terms, what they mean, and why they are important.

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1. Impervious
What it means: The degree to which tile can resist liquid penetration, usually measured with colored dye.
Why it’s important: Tile that is highly impervious is more resistant to water damage and mold, especially in the bathroom. Always ask about the imperviousness of tile before making a purchase.

2. Leaching
What it is: In short, leaching is when liquids ooze out of the joint between ceramic tile veneer and run down the entire tile surface.
Why it’s important: Leaching can be a big problem for homeowners, especially in rooms with high humidity, like bathrooms. Being able to recognize leaching as soon as it occurs means you can minimize the damage it can do to your tile.

3. Live Load
What it is: The amount of total weight a building can withstand, including people, furnishings, and other movable objects.
Why it’s important: Knowing your home’s live load is important for many applications, but especially when installing heaving floor coverings like tile. Some homeowners don’t take themselves, their families, or their furnishings into consideration when choosing flooring. If you choose a material that is too heavy, you will go over your live load limit and risk structural damage to your home.

4. Sealer
What it is: A film or adhesive used to fill voids and prevent the passage of liquids or gases.
Why it’s important: Not all sealers are created equal and, unfortunately, some tile installers will attempt to cut costs by using an inferior product. Knowing the different types of sealers and what they’re used for can be a big advantage during the installation process.

5. Shelf Life
What it is: Exactly what it sounds like – a product’s expiration date.
Why it’s important: All things go bad in time. If an installer is using caulk, grout, or any other necessary installation product that is past its shelf life, the chances of that product not performing correctly goes up dramatically.

These are just a few of the dozens of tile terms commonly used in the tile industry. For a complete list, visit the Stone Wood Outlet Tile Term Glossary.

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