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~ Term ~ ~ Definition ~ ~ Additional Information ~
Abrasion Resistance The ability of a surface to resist being worn away by rubbing and friction.  
Absorbtion The relationship of the weight of the water absorbed by a ceramic specimen subjected to prescribed immersion procedure, to the weight of the dry specimen, expressed in percent.  
Acid A chemical substance usually corrosive to common metals.  
Acrylic A general class of resinous polymers used as additives for thin-set mortars and grout.  
Admixture Enhancements added to concrete or mortar to improve technical properties.  
Agglomerate Marble Marble chips bonded together with polyester resins.  
Alkali A chemical substance which neutralizes acid material so as to form neutral salts.  
Backbutter An even application of bond material to the back of the tile before tile is set.  
Backsplash Usually the wall area at the back of a counter extending the full length.  
Bullnose Tiles Can be called caps. Tiles shaped to define the edges of an installation.  
Buttering or Back Buttering Applying mortar on stone or tile with the flat edge of a trowel before installation.  
Casing The trimming around doors, windows or any other opening.  
Caulk Any one of a variety of compounds used to seal seam and joints against the infiltration of water and air  
Cement Board Panels which are composed of an aggregated portland cement core, sandwiched between layers of reinforcing glass-fibre mesh.  
Expansion Joint The space built into a structure between two surfaces or structual elements to allow materials to expand and contract during temperature changes without damage.  
Field Tiles Flat tiles, in contrast to trim tiles that are shaped to turn corners or define the edges of an installation.  
Flush On the same plane as, or level with, a surrounding surface.  
Glazing A protective and decorative coating, often coloured, that is fired onto the surface of some tiles.  
Granite A quartz-based stone with a tough, glossy appearance; granite is harder than marble.  
Greenboard Similar to regular drywall, this product is moisture resistant, though not waterproof.  
Grout A thin mortar mixture used to fill the joints between tiles.  
Grouting Float A rubber-backed trowel used for pressing the grout into the joints.  
Isolation Membrane A sub-surface layer for the tile installation.  
Jamb The top and side frames of a door or window opening.  
Joint Compound A synthetic formula used in combination with paper or fiber-glass mesh tape to conceal joints.  
Lippage Lippage is a condition where edges of the tile are not at the same plane with each other. Lippage should not exceed 1 mm when setting square edge tile with narrow joints (3 mm or less). More lippage can be tolerated when wider grout joints are used or the tile doesn't have a square edge, but lippage should not exceed 1 mm per 3 mm joint width.
Marble A hard and durable limestone characterized by varied patterns and colours of veins.  
Masonry Cement A special mix of portland cement and hydrated lime used for preparing mortar. The lime adds to the workability of the mortar.  
Mexican Paver Unglazed tile most often used on floors.  
Mortar A mixture of masonry cement, masonry sand, and water.  
Mosaic Tile Small (1" or 2") vitreous squares or hexagons, mounted on sheets or joints with adhesive strips.  
Nominal Dimension The stated size of a tile, which usually includes a standard grout joint. The actual dimension is somewhat smaller.  
Nonvitreous Tile Porous ceramic tiles that should be used indoors in dry locations.  
Pavers Vitreous floor tiles, usually 3/8" thick and glazed or unglazed.  
Plumb When a surface is at true vertical level.  
Quarry Tile Unglazed, vitreous tile, usually 1/2" thick, used on floors.  
Sand Mix Used where the thickness does not exceed 2". For mortar beds.  
Screed To use a straightedge, for leveling mortar as it's applied for a mortar bed.  
Sealant Coating used to protect tile and grout from water and staining.  
Semivitreous Tile Semiporous ceramic tile that can be used indoors, in dry to occasionally wet locations.  
Slate A rough-surfaced tile that has been split rather than sliced from a quarried stone.  
Stone Tile Marble, granite, flagstone, and slate. Dimensioned (or gauged) stone is cut to uniform size.  
Subfloor Usually plywood, OSB, or another sheet material covering the floor joists.  
Substrate The setting bed and other layers beneath a tile surface.  
Terrazzo Small pieces of granite or marble set in mortar and then polished.  
Thin-set Mortar A setting adhesive for tiles.  
Vitreous Tile Ceramic tile with a low porosity, used indoors or outdoors, in wet or dry locations.  
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