Tile Flooring Glossary Terms by

Tile Flooring Glossary Terms by

tile glossary

The ability of a flooring surface to resist abrasion when in contact with abrasive materials.


Absorbing or taking in a liquid or gas.


A chemical with a pH rating below 7.

Acrylic Resin

A transparent, synthetic resin made by polymerizing acrylic and methacrylic acid. It is fairly resistant to external contaminates.


When a material such as stone or cement is cut or sanded so that it is uniformly thick throughout the entire slab


A trim that usually goes around windows, doors, or entryways.


A flexible product that is spread into joints to provide a water and air barrier.

Cement Backer Unit / C.B.U.

A layer of material that is placed between a wooden subfloor and cement flooring to provide support and a moisture barrier.

Cement Board

Panels of aggregate cement reinforced on each side with glass-fiber mesh.

Cement Body Tile

Tiles made of cement and sand.


Ceramic tile is the most common type of tile flooring. They are formed from clay and other minerals, and then fired in a kiln. Ceramic tiles are available glazed or unglazed.

Coefficient of Friction / C.O.F.

Refers to a surface’s ability to resist objects slipping or sliding across.

Conductive Tile

A type of tile flooring that conducts electricity and can often transmit it safely to the ground below.

Conventional Installation

A tile flooring installation method using cement mortar to affix the tile to the subfloor.


A tile used as a trim around corners and where a baseboard would go that is concave on one edge.


A split or separation in the surface of a floor. Often must extend to a specific depth to be considered a crack.


Small cracks or checks that interlace in the surface of a finish.


When properties of an adhesive or cement are changed by a chemical reaction which allows it to reach its maximum strength. This is generally done by condensation, heat, or another catalyst.

Edge-Bonded Tile

See Pre-Grouted Tile


Salt deposits that form on the surface of concrete when sodium calcium hydroxide mixes with carbon dioxide.

Embossed (Tile)

A styling technique that consists of a three dimensional pattern or design in a surface.

Epoxy Adhesive

A type of adhesive that contains an epoxy resin and a hardener, used to adhere tiles to the surface beneath.

Epoxy Grout

A type of grout which contains an epoxy resin and a hardener, used to fill joints and grout lines.

Expansion Joint

A space left around the perimeter of the room or between sections of flooring that allows for the movement and expansion of the flooring.

Exposed Aggregate

Colored rocks or other aggregate exposed on the surface of concrete, generally by using abrasive materials or a pressure washer to remove the surface mortar. It is also seen on the surface of natural stone flooring.


A facility or area of operations where stone and other material is cut and customized to specific dimensions.

Facial Defect

A technique that involves firing decoration onto a flooring surface.

Fire Resistance

A term used to describe the ability of flooring to withstand fire.

Fire Retardant

A chemical used to make a floor more fire resistant.

Fire, Bisque

A procedure of firing ceramic flooring.

Flamed Finish

A finishing technique that is often used on stone flooring to achieve a rough, textured surface. The surface is heated by flame until it is very hot and then quickly cooled, causing the surface to pop and chip.

Floating Floor Installation

A common flooring installation method where the floor floats on an underlayment and planks are hooked together by their tongue and groove edges. Glue is sometimes used in the seams of the tongue and groove, but the flooring is not attached to the subfloor

Floor Tile

A tile that is strong enough to be installed on a floor for everyday use.

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