Selection FAQ — Selection of Tile and Stone — CTaSC

Selection FAQ - Selection of Tile and Stone - CTaSC

CTaSC

Common Questions

  1. If the breaking strength of a tile is only 250 pounds, will it support my weight? — Perhaps you can advise me regarding tile strength. I recently have been confined to a wheelchair and need to make accessibility changes to my home. I am thinking of having my bathroom converted to a «wet room» as it seems to be the best choice for access and ease of use. I was getting myself psyched (despite my circumstances) to start the process of shopping for materials and contractors when I noticed that tile has a weight rating. I am 6’6″ and weigh 340lbs. I noticed that tiles seem to be rated at 250lbs. Is there a type of tile that would accommodate someone of my size in a wheelchair?
  2. Can ceramic tile seconds be installed without problems? — Are «all bets off» when it comes to installation of seconds? I have a customer that bought seconds and is complaining of size and lippage. The tiles where sold as seconds ( AND THE CUSTOMER NEW THIS,)and are 24 x 124 polished and 12 x 12 polished Porcelain. They were not modular to each other. The 24″ x 24″ where different thickness’s as well as up to 3/32″ or more in size difference The have a slight chamfered edge. I told the dealer that Seconds are Seconds and that the cusrtomer gets what he buys. What are you thoughts?
  3. What kind of tiles should I buy for an exterior area application subjected to high and low temperatures? — I want to install ceramic tile over a 2′ x 20’concrete demi-wall/planter/retaining wall in Chicago. I want bright, colorful tiles. What kind of tiles do I buy to weather the hot summers & cold, snowy winters??
  4. What kind of Glass Tile can I use on my Counter top? I found a glass tile I love. I would like to use it on a bar top but have been told that is a bad idea because it scratches easily and could chip easily. Could I lay the glass tile on the bar top and then cover it with epoxy? Is that possible and would it protect it from chipping and scratching?
  5. What Tile is good for a basement that Floods? Flood resistent tile? Hi we live in NJ in an area with a high water table. We are water can come into the house once or twice a year if a power outage prevents our sump pump from working. I condiering tile for the basement floor instead of carapet. Is there a recommended kind of tile, that would withstand mold if wet in a floor?
  6. How do I obtain MSDS and Material Data Sheets for Natural Stone? — Are there MSDS sheets available for polished granite slabs?
  7. What is the Slip Resistant Requirement for Rental Units — Can you advise as to ADA compliance with the installation of polished marble and/or porcelain in rental units? There is question as to if it meets compliance due to the slip factor and Owners liability of such.
  8. What type of tile should I use around my wood stove? — I am removing my fireplace insert and installing a wood stove. I would like to surround the back and sides of the opening with wonderboard and tile. Is there a certain tile I need to use?
  9. Can I use Porcelain Tile on an Exterior Veneer in a Freeze Thaw Climate? — I am interested in using a «frost proof» porcelain ceramic tile application for about 3300 sf of exterior wall application for a light industrial building/office in the Buffalo, NY area. Though I read that porcelain ceramic is suitable for this application (a harsh freezing winter environment), I don’t seem to find either applications that have been done or contractors who have done this. I have become pretty skeptical that this is a viable option. I do like the aesthetic quality of Porc Ceramic tiles I have looked at but do not want to be the «guinea pig» for someone who has never done this. Do you have any information on case studies where this application has been successful (not forensic cases!). I have stripped the old facade on the building down to the CMU. I may go with brick or face brick if I cannot gain confidence in a Porc Ceramic system.
  10. Can I install a Marble Tile on a Kitchen Counter top? — I would like to use marble flooring tile for my kitchen counter tops. My house contractor, told me that they would work but I would need to seal the tiles and the grout. I have NO idea what to use. or if I really need to. Web sites were conflicted on that point. I plan to use forrest green honed marble (12×12) tiles.
  11. How do I find a Stone Consultant for specifying natural stone? — I am trying to find out how your industry operates—how and where to obtain material for a stone baseboard (slate, bluestone, granite, or similar—rough texture). Is this something that one has to have custon-cut from tiles or slabs, or is it sold in stock lengths, with some choice of profile shapes and sizes? Please explain how this works and refer me to sources of supply (dealers, fabricators, etc. who deal with architects in the Cambridge Boston, MA area.
  12. Are Darker Tiles more Passive Solar Effective? — I consider installing porcelain tile in our family room(which is facing south and gets a lot of sunlight) to take advantage of the passive solar affect. For that purpose, is the passive solar effect increased if the tile is a dark color? Also, I came across avaire interlocking floating porcelain floors. Do you have any information on the quality, passive solar capacity? It seems it would leave a lot of flexiblity of we want to sell our house in the future and new owners would not like the floor. Thank you for your time.
  13. Selecting Ceramic Tile for Countertop — We have a tile countertop and want to replace it with another on. It has a slightly slippery feel but no shine to it. This makes it very easy to clean as opposed to others that have no slip. What type of tile should we be looking for? I though it would be glazed but some glazed finishes has no slip.
  14. Using Ceramic Tile Near Wood Stove — I am looking at putting tiles around my wood stove that currently has a very outdated stone surround. I am curious if there is a specific kind of tile I should use on the wall around the wood stove.
  15. Salt Water Pools and Spalling Stone — Do you have a rule or industry standard that travertine tile » Must Not » be used on the water line area for a salt water pool?
  16. Customized Photos and Designs on Tile — Need to replace backsplash in kitchen in cottage. Would like to have a few tiles painted by members of family such as handprint from grandsons,etc. How would I do this and what type of tile would I need to use.
  17. How to Keep Icy Tile from being Slippery — We have a ceramic tile outside porch/steps. In the summer it is great. In the winter it becomes a skating rink. What can we do??
  18. Is shiny tile surfaces slip resistant — We live in Canada. Just purchased a condo in Fl. We want to Put down ceramic floor shiny, BUT AFRAID OF FALLING. (WE ARE SENIORS.) ANY SUGGESTIONS?
  19. Slip Resistancy (COF) of Polished Tile — I have a client who is considering putting Crossville Empire Series (Polished) down in a chapel area of a housing community. While the unpolished product has a slip coefficient greater than 0.6 when it’s wet or dry, the polished product only exceeds 0.6 when it’s dry. Since the chapel is not a “wet area,” does the Empire tile meet ADA Standards?
  20. Using Different Tiles Together — I was given a bunch of different tiles that were left over from various tiling jobs. Without any original packaging for reference, how can I determine each tile’s hardness rating? I want to redo my floor and am willing to mix and match, but shouldn’t I make sure that all the different tiles I use have the same hardness rating?
  21. Buying Direct — I am wondering if you know of a direct location were to purchase tile instead of going through a distributor or a wholesaler?
  22. Talavera Tile use in Restaurant — Is there astm testing or a report on using talavera tile as backsplash for restaurant in kitchen?
  23. Slip Resistant Tile Floor — What is the criteria for specifying «slip resistant» ceramic floor tile?
  24. Floor Rating — Is there a «rating» for ceramic tiles and does the rating really matter for my project? One store told me the rating is 1 through 5 with 5 being the best.
  25. Using Ceramic Tile or Stone outside — I would love to install ceramic tile on my existing concrete front porch. However am not sure if the Northwest Ohio weather in winter we have is a good idea to use ceramic tile? do you know of a good tile? what type of grout you use. or even IF this is a thinkable idea?
  26. I don’t easily visualize change and was hoping to find a book or site that might have all kinds of patterns in differnt colors to look at?
  27. Slippery Tile — Is there a bathroom wall tile that should NOT be placed on the floor because it is too slippery?
  28. Difference between Granite, Travertine, and Porcleain Tile — I was just wondering the difference between the following kinds of tiles: granite travertine porcelain I believe travertine tiles tend to have »holes’or ‘imperfections’ for effect. Do these need to be grouted? If it is not grouted what is the outcome? thanx
  29. Metal Tile — I would like to use metallic tile on the wall over my cooktop. I have narrowed it down to either 1)what looks like a ceramic tile glazed with a metallic glaze (this one happens to be from Am Olean) or the real metal-infused tile that is made by companies like Questech. How can I tell if I will have trouble with the metallic part of the tile melting due to the heat from the gas cooktop? Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
  30. Italian Tile — Is Italian porcelain floor tile really superior to other tiles? If so, why?
  31. Shower Floor Selection — Are there written specifications or standards for residential shower floors? I am only concerned with product recommendations for residential applications.
  • If the breaking strength of a tile is only 250 pounds, will it support my weight? — Perhaps you can advise me regarding tile strength. I recently have been confined to a wheelchair and need to make accessibility changes to my home. I am thinking of having my bathroom converted to a «wet room» as it seems to be the best choice for access and ease of use. I was getting myself psyched (despite my circumstances) to start the process of shopping for materials and contractors when I noticed that tile has a weight rating. I am 6’6″ and weigh 340lbs. I noticed that tiles seem to be rated at 250lbs. Is there a type of tile that would accommodate someone of my size in a wheelchair?
  • Can ceramic tile seconds be installed without problems? — Are «all bets off» when it comes to installation of seconds? I have a customer that bought seconds and is complaining of size and lippage. The tiles where sold as seconds ( AND THE CUSTOMER NEW THIS,)and are 24 x 124 polished and 12 x 12 polished Porcelain. They were not modular to each other. The 24″ x 24″ where different thickness’s as well as up to 3/32″ or more in size difference The have a slight chamfered edge. I told the dealer that Seconds are Seconds and that the cusrtomer gets what he buys. What are you thoughts?
  • What kind of tiles should I buy for an exterior area application subjected to high and low temperatures? — I want to install ceramic tile over a 2′ x 20’concrete demi-wall/planter/retaining wall in Chicago. I want bright, colorful tiles. What kind of tiles do I buy to weather the hot summers & cold, snowy winters??
  • What kind of Glass Tile can I use on my Counter top? I found a glass tile I love. I would like to use it on a bar top but have been told that is a bad idea because it scratches easily and could chip easily. Could I lay the glass tile on the bar top and then cover it with epoxy? Is that possible and would it protect it from chipping and scratching?
  • What Tile is good for a basement that Floods? Flood resistent tile? Hi we live in NJ in an area with a high water table. We are water can come into the house once or twice a year if a power outage prevents our sump pump from working. I condiering tile for the basement floor instead of carapet. Is there a recommended kind of tile, that would withstand mold if wet in a floor?
  • How do I obtain MSDS and Material Data Sheets for Natural Stone? — Are there MSDS sheets available for polished granite slabs?
  • What is the Slip Resistant Requirement for Rental Units — Can you advise as to ADA compliance with the installation of polished marble and/or porcelain in rental units? There is question as to if it meets compliance due to the slip factor and Owners liability of such.
  • What type of tile should I use around my wood stove? — I am removing my fireplace insert and installing a wood stove. I would like to surround the back and sides of the opening with wonderboard and tile. Is there a certain tile I need to use?
  • Can I use Porcelain Tile on an Exterior Veneer in a Freeze Thaw Climate? — I am interested in using a «frost proof» porcelain ceramic tile application for about 3300 sf of exterior wall application for a light industrial building/office in the Buffalo, NY area. Though I read that porcelain ceramic is suitable for this application (a harsh freezing winter environment), I don’t seem to find either applications that have been done or contractors who have done this. I have become pretty skeptical that this is a viable option. I do like the aesthetic quality of Porc Ceramic tiles I have looked at but do not want to be the «guinea pig» for someone who has never done this. Do you have any information on case studies where this application has been successful (not forensic cases!). I have stripped the old facade on the building down to the CMU. I may go with brick or face brick if I cannot gain confidence in a Porc Ceramic system.
  • Can I install a Marble Tile on a Kitchen Counter top? — I would like to use marble flooring tile for my kitchen counter tops. My house contractor, told me that they would work but I would need to seal the tiles and the grout. I have NO idea what to use. or if I really need to. Web sites were conflicted on that point. I plan to use forrest green honed marble (12×12) tiles.
  • How do I find a Stone Consultant for specifying natural stone? — I am trying to find out how your industry operates—how and where to obtain material for a stone baseboard (slate, bluestone, granite, or similar—rough texture). Is this something that one has to have custon-cut from tiles or slabs, or is it sold in stock lengths, with some choice of profile shapes and sizes? Please explain how this works and refer me to sources of supply (dealers, fabricators, etc. who deal with architects in the Cambridge Boston, MA area.
  • Are Darker Tiles more Passive Solar Effective? — I consider installing porcelain tile in our family room(which is facing south and gets a lot of sunlight) to take advantage of the passive solar affect. For that purpose, is the passive solar effect increased if the tile is a dark color? Also, I came across avaire interlocking floating porcelain floors. Do you have any information on the quality, passive solar capacity? It seems it would leave a lot of flexiblity of we want to sell our house in the future and new owners would not like the floor. Thank you for your time.
  • Selecting Ceramic Tile for Countertop — We have a tile countertop and want to replace it with another on. It has a slightly slippery feel but no shine to it. This makes it very easy to clean as opposed to others that have no slip. What type of tile should we be looking for? I though it would be glazed but some glazed finishes has no slip.
  • Using Ceramic Tile Near Wood Stove — I am looking at putting tiles around my wood stove that currently has a very outdated stone surround. I am curious if there is a specific kind of tile I should use on the wall around the wood stove.
  • Salt Water Pools and Spalling Stone — Do you have a rule or industry standard that travertine tile » Must Not » be used on the water line area for a salt water pool?
  • Customized Photos and Designs on Tile — Need to replace backsplash in kitchen in cottage. Would like to have a few tiles painted by members of family such as handprint from grandsons,etc. How would I do this and what type of tile would I need to use.
  • How to Keep Icy Tile from being Slippery — We have a ceramic tile outside porch/steps. In the summer it is great. In the winter it becomes a skating rink. What can we do??
  • Is shiny tile surfaces slip resistant — We live in Canada. Just purchased a condo in Fl. We want to Put down ceramic floor shiny, BUT AFRAID OF FALLING. (WE ARE SENIORS.) ANY SUGGESTIONS?
  • Slip Resistancy (COF) of Polished Tile — I have a client who is considering putting Crossville Empire Series (Polished) down in a chapel area of a housing community. While the unpolished product has a slip coefficient greater than 0.6 when it’s wet or dry, the polished product only exceeds 0.6 when it’s dry. Since the chapel is not a “wet area,” does the Empire tile meet ADA Standards?
  • Using Different Tiles Together — I was given a bunch of different tiles that were left over from various tiling jobs. Without any original packaging for reference, how can I determine each tile’s hardness rating? I want to redo my floor and am willing to mix and match, but shouldn’t I make sure that all the different tiles I use have the same hardness rating?
  • Buying Direct — I am wondering if you know of a direct location were to purchase tile instead of going through a distributor or a wholesaler?
  • Talavera Tile use in Restaurant — Is there astm testing or a report on using talavera tile as backsplash for restaurant in kitchen?
  • Slip Resistant Tile Floor — What is the criteria for specifying «slip resistant» ceramic floor tile?
  • Floor Rating — Is there a «rating» for ceramic tiles and does the rating really matter for my project? One store told me the rating is 1 through 5 with 5 being the best.
  • Using Ceramic Tile or Stone outside — I would love to install ceramic tile on my existing concrete front porch. However am not sure if the Northwest Ohio weather in winter we have is a good idea to use ceramic tile? do you know of a good tile? what type of grout you use. or even IF this is a thinkable idea?
  • I don’t easily visualize change and was hoping to find a book or site that might have all kinds of patterns in differnt colors to look at?
  • Slippery Tile — Is there a bathroom wall tile that should NOT be placed on the floor because it is too slippery?
  • Difference between Granite, Travertine, and Porcleain Tile — I was just wondering the difference between the following kinds of tiles: granite travertine porcelain I believe travertine tiles tend to have »holes’or ‘imperfections’ for effect. Do these need to be grouted? If it is not grouted what is the outcome? thanx
  • Metal Tile — I would like to use metallic tile on the wall over my cooktop. I have narrowed it down to either 1)what looks like a ceramic tile glazed with a metallic glaze (this one happens to be from Am Olean) or the real metal-infused tile that is made by companies like Questech. How can I tell if I will have trouble with the metallic part of the tile melting due to the heat from the gas cooktop? Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
  • Italian Tile — Is Italian porcelain floor tile really superior to other tiles? If so, why?
  • Shower Floor Selection — Are there written specifications or standards for residential shower floors? I am only concerned with product recommendations for residential applications.

    If the breaking strength of a tile is only 250 pounds, will it support my weight? — Perhaps you can advise me regarding tile strength. I recently have been confined to a wheelchair and need to make accessibility changes to my home. I am thinking of having my bathroom converted to a «wet room» as it seems to be the best choice for access and ease of use. I was getting myself psyched (despite my circumstances) to start the process of shopping for materials and contractors when I noticed that tile has a weight rating. I am 6’6″ and weigh 340lbs. I noticed that tiles seem to be rated at 250lbs. Is there a type of tile that would accommodate someone of my size in a wheelchair?

    Updated: May 13th 2014

    Can ceramic tile seconds be installed without problems? — Are «all bets off» when it comes to installation of seconds? I have a customer that bought seconds and is complaining of size and lippage. The tiles where sold as seconds ( AND THE CUSTOMER NEW THIS,)and are 24 x 124 polished and 12 x 12 polished Porcelain. They were not modular to each other. The 24″ x 24″ where different thickness’s as well as up to 3/32″ or more in size difference The have a slight chamfered edge. I told the dealer that Seconds are Seconds and that the cusrtomer gets what he buys. What are you thoughts?

    ANSWER — There is no standard for seconds other than it doesn’t meet the ANSI A137.1 standards in some respect. On the other hand it isn’t expected to represent any unlimited degree of flaws. In the past seconds normally were slight facial flaws. I wouldn’t expect them to be excessively warped or off sized unless it was specifically represented that way when it was sold. So the question is was it miss-represented when it was sold or was it clearly documented to have the type of variations as described? On the other hand, lippage tends to be caused more by the installer than the tile. A good tile job can minimize lippage and a bad tile job can have excessive lippage with a tile that does meet the standards. fyi

    What kind of tiles should I buy for an exterior area application subjected to high and low temperatures? — I want to install ceramic tile over a 2′ x 20’concrete demi-wall/planter/retaining wall in Chicago. I want bright, colorful tiles. What kind of tiles do I buy to weather the hot summers & cold, snowy winters??

    ANSWER — For Chicago weather you need to use a tile that is freeze thaw stable. Generally speaking that is any ceramic tile that has less than 3% absorption, but you need to test the tile to be sure if it is near the 3% value. To be safe you should use a porcelain ceramic tile which should be 0.5% or less and considered impervious.

    www.ctasc.com/Resources_and_Links/Installation_Products/. Of course the concrete walls need to be properly prepared to make sure they are clean and contaminate free and square and plumb. If you got to our FAQ section on our website at www.CTaSC.com and look under installation guidelines you can download a guide to help you through the process. Good Luck.

    Updated: February 5th 2012

    What kind of Glass Tile can I use on my Counter top? I found a glass tile I love. I would like to use it on a bar top but have been told that is a bad idea because it scratches easily and could chip easily. Could I lay the glass tile on the bar top and then cover it with epoxy? Is that possible and would it protect it from chipping and scratching?

    ANSWER — There are different types of glass tile. Cast glass tiles and fused glass tiles generally are not prone to chipping and scratching, but of course any tile can chip and scratch under the wrong conditions. So if the manufacturer of the glass tile is saying they are not suitable for a bar top application then you have to assume they are correct. I would not coat it with epoxy or any type of coating. That is not likely to make them more chip or scratch resistant. I would take a harden sheet of glass, like what would be used on a coffee table and put it over the glass tiles that you want to use. Good Luck.

    Updated: February 5th 2012

    What Tile is good for a basement that Floods? Flood resistent tile? Hi we live in NJ in an area with a high water table. We are water can come into the house once or twice a year if a power outage prevents our sump pump from working. I condiering tile for the basement floor instead of carapet. Is there a recommended kind of tile, that would withstand mold if wet in a floor?

    ANSWER — A glazed porcelain ceramic tile if installed correctly would be very resistant to water. If there is hydrostatic water pressure, meaning water from the ground is pushing up through the basement concrete slab then that could be problematic. If that isn’t a concern then you can apply a special tile waterproof membrane over the concrete slab and then install tile over it with a thin-set mortar. If the tile is installed correctly then it should perform well with floods. The ceramic tile and cement based adhesive (thin-set mortar) does not promote the growth of mold.

    Updated: September 11th 2011

    How do I obtain MSDS and Material Data Sheets for Natural Stone? — Are there MSDS sheets available for polished granite slabs?

    ANSWER — Generally speaking importers or quarries don’t provide MSDS info (Material Safety Data Sheets) or product data sheets for stone. Some will have product data sheets showing the respective ASTM physical properties, but not many even do that, as they should to verify the stone meets the ASTM requirements for a standard grade material.

    Technically you would have to have at least a geological petrographic evaluation of that particular supply of stone to determine its composition. Even though the stone may have the same geological classification and name, its physical properties may be significantly different. For small projects it may not be practical to afford the testing, but should be done on larger projects. For more information on our testing services visit www.CTaSC.com .

    www.genuinestone.com/env_researchandresults.php. They have a Material Fact Sheet for Granite and other geological classifications of stone. Perhaps that will suffice for you. Good Luck.

    Updated: April 14th 2011

    What is the Slip Resistant Requirement for Rental Units — Can you advise as to ADA compliance with the installation of polished marble and/or porcelain in rental units? There is question as to if it meets compliance due to the slip factor and Owners liability of such.

    ANSWER - ADA has taken the numeric value out of their recommendation for slip resistant floors, so there isn’t a specific number you have to meet. The general rule is to meet a .6 COF wet or dry per ASTM C1028 test. Although you can’t test polished tiles or stones with this protocol because it gives a false high value due to the suction created from a polish surface. There are other tests that are more realistic to determining slip resistance, but they are currently not referenced to the various current codes.

    Wet areas or exterior areas need to be slip resistant to avoid safety issues and liabilities. The more texture your tile has the more slip resistant it will be, but also the more texture the more it will tend to pick up dirty and require more effort in cleaning.

    Updated: November 20th 2010

    What type of tile should I use around my wood stove? — I am removing my fireplace insert and installing a wood stove. I would like to surround the back and sides of the opening with wonderboard and tile. Is there a certain tile I need to use?

    ANSWER - Using a ceramic tile (which includes porcelain ceramic tiles) around heat is not a problem because most ceramic tiles are fired well above 1200 F and more like 2000 F.

    What is important is to select a tile that is chip resistant so when logs and other equipment are dropped on them they don’t chip. Of course it is important that the tile is installed correctly and that there are no voids under the tile to make it resistant to dropping items on it.

    It is also important that the tile is easy to maintain. If it is porous then it can be stained by smoke and it can be more difficult keeping clean.

    Using a either a glazed ceramic tile, or dense unglazed ceramic tile or a dense natural stone can work. To keep it stain resistant use a tile that is either impervious or vitreous to moisture, which is also normally an indication it will have a denser body and be more chip resistant. A glaze tile is normally impervious in the glaze on the surface, but the body of the tile could be more absorbing. Porcelain tiles had clay bodies that are impervious. Granite, slate, and quartzite are very dense stones that can perform well. Be sure to seal the tile and grout afterwards to make it more stain resistant and easier to maintain. Above all, make sure it is installed correctly because it will not perform any better than how well it is installed. Good luck.

    stone can work. To keep it stain resistant use a tile that is either impervious or vitreous to moisture, which is also normally an indication it will have a denser body and be more chip resistant. A glaze tile is normally impervious in the glaze on the surface, but the body of the tile could be more absorbing. Porcelain tiles had clay bodies that are impervious. Granite, slate, and quartzite are very dense stones that can perform well. Be sure to seal the tile and grout afterwards to make it more stain resistant and easier to maintain. Above all, make sure it is installed correctly because it will not perform any better than how well it is installed. Good luck.

    Updated: June 27th 2010

    Can I use Porcelain Tile on an Exterior Veneer in a Freeze Thaw Climate? — I am interested in using a «frost proof» porcelain ceramic tile application for about 3300 sf of exterior wall application for a light industrial building/office in the Buffalo, NY area. Though I read that porcelain ceramic is suitable for this application (a harsh freezing winter environment), I don’t seem to find either applications that have been done or contractors who have done this. I have become pretty skeptical that this is a viable option. I do like the aesthetic quality of Porc Ceramic tiles I have looked at but do not want to be the «guinea pig» for someone who has never done this. Do you have any information on case studies where this application has been successful (not forensic cases!). I have stripped the old facade on the building down to the CMU. I may go with brick or face brick if I cannot gain confidence in a Porc Ceramic system.

    ANSWER - I know there have been lots of exterior veneers where porcelain tile has been used in freeze thaw climates over the last 20 plus years. We have worked on several ourselves over the years.

    Not all porcelains are created equal, so you should get a data sheet from the manufacturer of the porcelain tile indicating it is suitable for your Buffalo, NY conditions. You can have it tested in a laboratory to verify its performance. Technically a porcelain tile should have an absorption rate of 0.5% or less, which makes it impervious by definition, but you should still test it to verify.

    I would apply a liquid applied waterproof/crack isolation membrane over the CMU after it has been properly scarified, cleaned, and prepared the substrate, as required by industry standards. I would use a single source installation product system from a manufacturer who provides a minimum 10 year labor and material warranty for those conditions. Go to our website at www.CTaSC.com and go to the resources and links page for a list of manufacturers with links to their websites.

    Most important is that you provide quality control during the installation to make sure the installers are installing the tile per architect’s specifications, industry standards, and product manufacturer’s requirements.

    We do provide quality control services to verify the suitability of the tile and the application, to make sure the installation specifications are appropriate and clear, and to provide onsite quality control services and training during the installation. We do have inspectors in the New York area. Please visit our website at www.CTaSC.com for more information.

    Updated: June 9th 2010

    Can I install a Marble Tile on a Kitchen Counter top? — I would like to use marble flooring tile for my kitchen counter tops. My house contractor, told me that they would work but I would need to seal the tiles and the grout. I have NO idea what to use. or if I really need to. Web sites were conflicted on that point. I plan to use forrest green honed marble (12×12) tiles.

    ANSWER - No problem using a stone tile on a kitchen counter top. Marble is normally avoided on kitchen counter tops because although marble is dense it is very chemical sensitive and can easily stain and etch. You can seal the marble to make it more resistant to staining, but it doesn’t protect it from etching.

    Green marbles normally are a serpentine marble and they tend to be moisture sensitive and may require an epoxy adhesive for bonding to the counter top substrate.

    Better to use a granite or soap stone for counter tops.

    All stones are different to some degree so you can test them to see how sensitive they are to various foods and liquids. Good luck.

    Updated: June 9th 2010

    How do I find a Stone Consultant for specifying natural stone? — I am trying to find out how your industry operates—how and where to obtain material for a stone baseboard (slate, bluestone, granite, or similar—rough texture). Is this something that one has to have custon-cut from tiles or slabs, or is it sold in stock lengths, with some choice of profile shapes and sizes? Please explain how this works and refer me to sources of supply (dealers, fabricators, etc. who deal with architects in the Cambridge Boston, MA area.

    ANSWER - There are many options in using stone for a baseboard depending on what you want and your budget.

    You can have it custom fabricated with most any quality stone in any thickness or you can take a thinner 12×12 inch or whatever size tile stone and cut it down to fit at the job by the installers. You can bullnose or polish the edges for a more finished look or not.

    Your best bet is to visit a local tile and stone showroom or stone fabrication shop to see some of the various stone types and options. Or call in one of your tile sales reps to give you some options. Most ceramic tile distributors also sell stone. You can visit our website at www.CTaSC.com in the Resources and Links section to find a list of distributors and importers in your area.

    If this is a larger project it or is high risk application you may want to consider hiring an expert consultant such as our company who can help you determine your options, what products are suitable for the application and how to provide the installation specifications and quality control specifications. For more information visit our website at www.CTaSC.com under Quality Control Services. Good Luck.

    Updated: April 6th 2010

    Are Darker Tiles more Passive Solar Effective? — I consider installing porcelain tile in our family room(which is facing south and gets a lot of sunlight) to take advantage of the passive solar affect. For that purpose, is the passive solar effect increased if the tile is a dark color? Also, I came across avaire interlocking floating porcelain floors. Do you have any information on the quality, passive solar capacity? It seems it would leave a lot of flexiblity of we want to sell our house in the future and new owners would not like the floor. Thank you for your time.

    ANSWER - Ceramic (porcelain) tile or stone tile are passive solar effective to the extent of its mass. The thicker the tile the more mass. The more mass the more heat/cold stored, the more effective it will be. The darker the color of the tile the more heat it will absorb faster versus lighter colors reflecting radiant energy and taking longer to absorb the radiant heat.

    The tile assembly is further passive solar effective if it is being installed with cementitious adhesives and if the subfloor is cementitious. So to bond directly to wood or to have a plastic interlocking back will limit the passive solar capabilities. If it is installed over a cementitious backer board or over a concrete slap it can store more heat. Good luck.

    Updated: February 14th 2010

    Selecting Ceramic Tile for Countertop — We have a tile countertop and want to replace it with another on. It has a slightly slippery feel but no shine to it. This makes it very easy to clean as opposed to others that have no slip. What type of tile should we be looking for? I though it would be glazed but some glazed finishes has no slip.

    ANSWER - Glazed ceramic tiles are considered the most suitable for kitchen countertops because the glazed surface is somewhat impervious and more stain resistant. Porcelain tile is a type of a ceramic tile. Most glazed ceramic tiles have porcelain clay bodies today, which is a more durable clay body. Although vitreous clay body tiles are very durable too.

    Selection FAQ - Selection of Tile and Stone - CTaSC

    As you have noticed the smoother the surface the easier it is to clean, but the more slippery it is. Since the tile isn’t being walked on slip resistance isn’t a concern. On the other hand the more texture the tile the more slip resistant and the more effort required to clean it and keep it clean.

    Since there are different degrees of smoothness and texture then respectively the maintenance varies to a different degree. So ultimately it is up to you in terms of what aesthetic look you want to achieve and what trade offs you are willing to accept.

    Updated: October 2nd 2009

    Using Ceramic Tile Near Wood Stove — I am looking at putting tiles around my wood stove that currently has a very outdated stone surround. I am curious if there is a specific kind of tile I should use on the wall around the wood stove.

    ANSWER - Any type of a clay based ceramic tile, which includes porcelain tile, is suitable around heat. Most quality ceramic tiles are fired in kilns near 2,000 degrees F, so they can withstand the heat. Just make sure you are bonding it to a stable stone or cement surface, and not to wood or any other type of material that is sensitive to heat. Also make sure you do not use an organic mastic adhesive and only use a cementitious thin-set adhesive. Good Luck.

    Updated: September 29th 2009

    Salt Water Pools and Spalling Stone — Do you have a rule or industry standard that travertine tile » Must Not » be used on the water line area for a salt water pool?

    ANSWER — There is no standard addressing stone and salt water pools. Salt Water pools are relatively new and recently more popular, so we are just now starting to see some problems with certain stones and salt water pools.

    More porous stones subjected to salt water can result in the water migrating to its surface and evaporating leaving the resultant salt residue that expands and can cause spalling within the stone surface. Travertine is a more porous stone, so I would not recommend it being submerged at the waterline. Even if it is not submerged but relatively close to the pool edge, water can migrate to other areas near the pool particularly if there are voids under the stone.

    Some more porous limestones could be problem too. A true granite or quartzitic sandstone might work, but there are stones sold as granite or sandstone that are not true granites or quartzitic sandstones. It is possible to install the various stones in such a way utilizing waterproof membranes and water stops that could protect the stones from the migrating salt water, but you would need to hire a qualified consultant as our company to accomplish that. Good Luck.

    Updated: September 23rd 2009

    Customized Photos and Designs on Tile — Need to replace backsplash in kitchen in cottage. Would like to have a few tiles painted by members of family such as handprint from grandsons,etc. How would I do this and what type of tile would I need to use.

    ANSWER - Best bet is to go to a local distributor of ceramic tile and get references from them. Tiles can be hand painted and fired in kilns, and today ceramic tiles and stones can be laser printed or ink printed so you can transfer actual photos or designs to the tiles. Good Luck.

    Updated: August 12th 2009

    How to Keep Icy Tile from being Slippery — We have a ceramic tile outside porch/steps. In the summer it is great. In the winter it becomes a skating rink. What can we do??

    ANSWER - Tile can be slippery when wet or icy. There are floor warming systems that could have been installed with the tile so you could keep ice from forming. Depending on the construction of the porch, you might be able to install electrical warming under the porch between the floor joists.

    You should place slip resistant mats on the porch when icy or wet. You could put salt on the surface of the tile to keep ice from forming, but it might harm the tile, depending on the type of tile it is.

    Updated: August 6th 2009

    Is shiny tile surfaces slip resistant — We live in Canada. Just purchased a condo in Fl. We want to Put down ceramic floor shiny, BUT AFRAID OF FALLING. (WE ARE SENIORS.) ANY SUGGESTIONS?

    ANSWER - The general rule is the more texture the floor surface has the more slip resistant it will be, but also the more texture the floor surface it will tend to get dirty easier, will tend to require more frequent cleaning, and will tend to be more difficult to clean to some degree. Of course there are many degrees of textured and smooth finishes and the slip resistance and maintenance will vary respectively.

    Floors are generally more slippery when wet or when dirty. If you keep the floor dry and clean it will be safer.

    If you are primarily more interested in having a smooth and less maintenance floor, then use floor rugs at potential wet areas such as entrances, kitchens and bathrooms. Some grout and tile sealers will help make the floor more slip resistant to some degree. If you are more concerned about having a floor that is more slip resistant, then use a tile that has a slip resistant texture, but not too textured to cause excessive maintenance. Putting an appropriate tile and grout sealer over the textured tile will help minimize its tendency to pick up dirt and will be easier to maintain. Good Luck.

    Updated: July 12th 2009

    Slip Resistancy (COF) of Polished Tile — I have a client who is considering putting Crossville Empire Series (Polished) down in a chapel area of a housing community. While the unpolished product has a slip coefficient greater than 0.6 when it’s wet or dry, the polished product only exceeds 0.6 when it’s dry. Since the chapel is not a “wet area,” does the Empire tile meet ADA Standards?

    ANSWER - Americans with Disability Act (ADA) states that the minimum dry static Coefficient of Friction (COF) of 0.60; ramps: 0.80. Based on the other industry recommendations I would say it needs to be a minimum 0.60 wet or dry.

    The ASTM C1028 test is not valid for polished surfaces. It gives a false reading that does not represent its propensity for slipping.

    Considering that the floor could get wet due to a spill, I would let the owner or architect determine if the polish tile is suitable for the application or not based on their interpretation of the ADA recommendations.

    Updated: May 25th 2009

    Using Different Tiles Together — I was given a bunch of different tiles that were left over from various tiling jobs. Without any original packaging for reference, how can I determine each tile’s hardness rating? I want to redo my floor and am willing to mix and match, but shouldn’t I make sure that all the different tiles I use have the same hardness rating?

    ANSWER - Using different types of tiles in the same installation can be done if you like the blend of colors. You do need to adjust for different facial dimensions and different thicknesses from one tile to the next.

    If they are all floor tiles it probably isn’t a big concern if the hardness of their glaze and body are different, as long as they are not significantly different. If they are more recently made floor tiles they are probably all vitreous or impervious type of tiles. I assume they are all glazed floor tiles. Unglazed floor tiles would not be a concern even if they have different harnesses, because they are all designed to be more durable.

    Old Italian button-back glazed floor tiles could be a concern because those tiles had very porous bodies that were not as hard and they tended to be more prone to chipping. The rule was if the hardness of the glaze was more than 2 calibrations different than the hardness of the body that it would tend to be prone to chipping. You can use a Mohs Hardness kit that uses different minerals to determine the hardness of a tile body or glaze by scratching it with the mineral. You can have a testing laboratory do it, but it will cost $150 or so for each tile you test.

    A simple qualitative test to perform would be to put a dimes amount of water on the back of the tile and if it readily absorbs then it is a softer tile. If it sits there and doesn’t absorb right away then it would be a harder tile.

    Good luck!

    Updated: January 17th 2009

    Buying Direct — I am wondering if you know of a direct location were to purchase tile instead of going through a distributor or a wholesaler?

    Most manufacturers will not sell direct to the consumer and they require large container quantity orders.

    For your protection you are better off working through a distributor who can stand behind the product and is located in the USA. Plus having a good quality showroom to work out of will help you better visualize and design a special room.

    There are a list of importers and manufactures with links to their website on our website under Resources and Links. (click here to go there ).

    Good Luck!

    Updated: October 29th 2008

    Talavera Tile use in Restaurant — Is there astm testing or a report on using talavera tile as backsplash for restaurant in kitchen?

    ANSWER - Talavera tiles are typically glazed tile on a porous red body that is irregular in size with excessive warpage that doesnt meet ANSI A137.1 standards. The products physical properties will vary depending on who and how it is manufactured.

    There are tests to determine how stain and chemical resistant a glaze surface will be, which I think is probably the most important factor for a restaurant use in terms of making sure it is hygienic and easy to keep clean. The glaze on this type of tile is normally not real durable and will tend to chip and wear. There are hardness tests that can be performed, but I would expect the values to be low.

    The tile has been used in restaurants before and gives a nice traditional Mexican look, and as it wears it adds to the character of the tile.

    Good Luck,

    Updated: October 6th 2008

    Slip Resistant Tile Floor — What is the criteria for specifying «slip resistant» ceramic floor tile?

    ANSWER - Slip resistance is measured in different ways, and there is some controversy in terms of what is a true indication of a safe surface.

    Testing Background: The ASTM C1028 Static Coefficient of Friction test has been the norm for testing slip resistance in the Canadian and USA ceramic tile and stone industry for many years. Most agencies call out codes and recommendations based on this test. Manufacturers use this test to imply the slip resistance of their tiles. The test had been withdrawn from ASTM testing standards, although it was eventually renewed. It has been reported by various testing laboratories and the Ceramic Tile Institute of America (CTIOA) that the C 1028 testing is unreliable in determining if a ceramic tile or stone surface will have a tendency to be slippery or not. The CTIOA is now recommending the allegedly more reliable Tortus Dynamic Test or the British Pendulum Test for the field testing of tile to determine if they have a tendency to be slippery or not. The Tile Council of America of North America (TCNA) recommends the use of the ASTM C1028 test to determine the coefficient of friction and has verbally stated that the ASTM C1028 test is only a measure of the texture of the tile, and does not suggest whether it will be slippery or not. For these reasons we recommend testing the flooring with both test methods.

    ASTM C1028 Testing Summary: Test method ASTM C1028 Standard Test Method for Determine the Static Coefficient of Friction. Generally speaking minimum value is 0.60 for wet surfaces and 0.80 on ramp surfaces:

    Surtronic Testing Summary: Test method using the Surtronic 10 digital profilometer used to measure the potential for hydroplaning. A reading below 10 microns is interpreted as likely having an unacceptable potential for hydroplaning:

    Tortus Tribometer Testing Summary: Test method using the Tortus Tribometer to measure the dynamic coefficient of friction replicating someone in motion at walking speed, which is a better indicator of the slip potential of a floor than is static friction. The minimum safety standard for this test is 0.50 average whether wet or dry. Reading was based on both a hard rubber material that is close to the rubber on the bottom of typical dress shoes, and based on a soft rubber that simulates a much softer shoe sole typical of athletic shoes:

    Keep in mind that slip resistancy on a floor is substantially affected by how clean it is kept. Dirty floors will cause a slip resistant surface to be more slipperly. Generally speaking the more textured the surface the more slip resistant it will be, but also the more textured the surface the more difficult it will be to clean and to keep clean. It is recommended that entrances of buildings have at least 15 foot mat walk-off areas in all directions inside the building from the door entrance to allow shoe bottoms to adequately dry before contacting a dry surface.

    CTaSC does provide installation specification services, quality control services during the installation, and inspection and testing services for projects.

    Good Luck,

    Updated: September 25th 2008

    Floor Rating — Is there a «rating» for ceramic tiles and does the rating really matter for my project? One store told me the rating is 1 through 5 with 5 being the best.

    There is a PEI rating for glazed ceramic tile that goes from 1 to 5. 1 is wall application only, 2 is light traffic floor use i.e. residential bathroom, 3 is all residential use, 4 is light commercial use, 5 is heavy commercial use, and 5+ is extra heavy commercial use. The rating has to do with the wearability of the glaze surface.

    Updated: September 23rd 2008

    Using Ceramic Tile or Stone outside — I would love to install ceramic tile on my existing concrete front porch. However am not sure if the Northwest Ohio weather in winter we have is a good idea to use ceramic tile? do you know of a good tile? what type of grout you use. or even IF this is a thinkable idea?

    You can install ceramic tile or stone outside in a freeze thaw climatic condition if you use the appropriate tile.

    First, the ceramic tile or stone can’t have an absorption rate greater than 3% or it will be subject to damage from the freeze thaw conditions. Next, you need to make sure the ceramic tile or stone is slip resistant enough for wet conditions. It can be very dangerous walking on wet surfaces in terms of the risk of slipping. Some say a minimum coefficient of friction of .5 is safe enough and others say a minimum of .6 is better. Keep in mind that the more slip resistant the surface the more maintenance that is required. It gets dirty more frequently and it is more difficult to clean. For the grout that you use, I would suggest using a latex admix in lieu of water which will make the grout more dense and less absorbing because you want the absorption rate of the grout to be 3% or less. Good Luck!

    Updated: September 23rd 2008

    I don’t easily visualize change and was hoping to find a book or site that might have all kinds of patterns in differnt colors to look at?

    Design is very subjective, although there are various motifs that can be created with ceramic tile or stone; that’s one of the benefits of using ceramic tile.

    Visualizing is difficult for someone new to ceramic tile. Your best bet is to either hire an experienced interior designer if you want to afford that or go to the various ceramic tile showrooms in your area where they have vignettes displaying the different tiles and motifs to help you visualize. If you go to my web site there are a limited number of major distributors listed at our Ceramic Tile Distributors Resource Section and perhaps there is some in your area. If not, check out your local yellow pages. Good Luck!

    Updated: September 23rd 2008

    Slippery Tile — Is there a bathroom wall tile that should NOT be placed on the floor because it is too slippery?

    ANSWER - There are ceramic tiles designated only for wall applications and they should not be used on a floor due to its limited durability. All floor tiles can be used on walls.

    Whether the tile is designated as a floor or wall tile it should be considered slip resistant for inside showers and general public areas. It should have a COF rating of .6 or greater when wet. There are no codes that I’m aware of for slip resistance outside of the shower area for the bathroom floor.

    Ceramic tile surfaces vary in the degree of slip resistance and there are trade-offs. The more texture the tile surface has the more slip resistant the more readily it gets dirty, the more difficult it is to clean and the more frequent you have to clean it. The smaller the tile with many more grout joints will help make it more slip resistant to some degree, but can not be measured.

    On the other had the smoother the surface of the tile the more slippery it will be, the less it will pick up dirt, the easier it will be to clean and the less frequent you have to clean it. People will often go with this selection and use area rugs for step-offs to dry off to keep the floor dry.

    Updated: November 2nd 2006

    Difference between Granite, Travertine, and Porcleain Tile — I was just wondering the difference between the following kinds of tiles: granite travertine porcelain I believe travertine tiles tend to have »holes’or ‘imperfections’ for effect. Do these need to be grouted? If it is not grouted what is the outcome? thanx

    ANSWER — Granite is an igneous natural stone (cooled slowly in the deep upper part of the Earth’s crust) that has very high physical properties and is considered very durable in most cases. There are products sold as granite that are not geologically true granites and don’t have as good of physical properties.

    Travertine is a type of limestone sedimentary natural stone that is more porous and softer but can perform very well for residential applications. It is necessary to fill the holes so dirt doesn’t collect, and seal the travertine to minimize staining. Some travertines have less holes and are more dense than others.

    Porcelain Ceramic Tile is a clay based material that is very durable and can exceed the physical properties of granite. It is impervious but can stain, but it can have a glaze surface to make it more stain resistant. With the current technology it can do a good job of imitating at natural stone look.

    Good Luck!

    Updated: August 27th 2006

    Metal Tile — I would like to use metallic tile on the wall over my cooktop. I have narrowed it down to either 1)what looks like a ceramic tile glazed with a metallic glaze (this one happens to be from Am Olean) or the real metal-infused tile that is made by companies like Questech. How can I tell if I will have trouble with the metallic part of the tile melting due to the heat from the gas cooktop? Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Metal tiles are relatively new, so there isn’t a lot of experience with them. Metal glazed ceramic tiles have been around for awhile, but they may have changed over the years.

    Either one should not be affected by household heat, but be sure to check out the manufacturer’s written recommendations and limitations. The ceramic tiles are fired at about 1200 degrees F or more and the metal tiles are probably made at relatively high temperatures.

    Metal glazes have been known to be easy to scratch and might me sensitive to acidic material. The metal tiles have been known to scratch and dent since they are hollow inside.

    Again be sure you have the manufacturer’s recommendations and limitations in writing and only use the product according to their recommendations.

    Good Luck!

    Updated: April 24th 2006

    Italian Tile — Is Italian porcelain floor tile really superior to other tiles? If so, why?

    The Italians have more experience, they created the current technologies, and they tend to be the leaders in design.

    Other quality companies from other countries do make good products, and they are using Italian equipment and normally have hired Italian technicians to assist them.

    Updated: September 14th 2005

    Shower Floor Selection — Are there written specifications or standards for residential shower floors? I am only concerned with product recommendations for residential applications.

    There is no industry standard that says what type of ceramic tile can be used on a residential shower floor. There are some ADA recommendations and some city codes for public areas that say you should have a slip resistant surface for a shower wet area. There is little agreement on what is suitable, but it is normally accepted to have an average Coefficient of Friction rating of .6 for wet and dry surfaces. Rules of thumb: The more textured the tile the more slip resistant — the more slip resistant the more dirty the floor gets and the more maintenance required. The smaller tiles 2″ x 2″ or smaller have more grout joints and are more slip resistant. A slip resistant tile is not slip proof. Good Luck!


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