Our Definitive Guide to Tile Terminology: M - R | Fireclay Tile
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Our Definitive Guide to Tile Terminology: M - R

Our Definitive Guide to Tile Terminology: M - R


Our Crush 100% Recycled Glass Tile mosaic in Forget Me Not, Icicle, Dusty Olive, Plankton, and Island Flower

It's week three of our month of Tile Terminology!  This week we are covering the M's throught the R's!  Study up and be sure to let us know if we are missing anything!


Mastic – A ready to use organic glue.

Monocottura – Method of producing tile by a single firing in which body and glazes are fired in kilns at temperatures over 2000 degrees.

Mortar – The setting material used to bond tiles to a given surface. Different types of mortar are suitable for different backing and conditions.

Mosaics – Ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal or stone tile mounted on mesh for ease of installation. May come in squares, octagons, hexagons or random shapes.

Mounted Tiles – Tiles assembled into units or sheets by the manufacturer for easier installation. Back and edge mounted tiles are bonded to material (mesh, paper, resin or other) that becomes part of the installation. Face mounted tiles are bonded to a material that is removed prior to grouting.

Mud – A slang term referring to thick–bed mortar consisting of sand and cement.


Natural Stone – A stone such as granite, marble, limestone, slate, travertine, or sandstone that is formed by nature

Nominal Size – During the firing process, ceramic tile will shrink, on average, by about 10% in size.

Non-Vitreous Tile – Tiles that absorb 7% or more moisture. They are suited for indoor use only.


Our Debris Series in Ogee


Ogee – A stone molding with a reverse curved edge: concave above, convex below.


Patina – When the surface of a material has changed in color or texture due to age or exposure to various elements, it is referred to as patina.

PEI Rating – This rating is established by the Porcelain Enamel Institute to rate the resistance of glazed ceramic tile to visible surface abrasion. Commonly referred to as "abrasion resistance", this is probably the most commonly used industry rating for wear.

Pillowed – A tile finish that features softly rounded edges, thus giving the tile a pillowed look.

Porcelain Tile – Characterized by a dense and impervious body generally made of the dust–pressed method.

Pointing – The act of cleaning the mortar between the tile using a pointed trowel tool

Porosity – The amount and size of the pores in a stone.


Quarter Round 


Quarry Tile – A slang term usually 6x6 impervious unglazed tile.

Quarter Round or Bead – A narrow, convexly curved piece designed to create continuity where 90 degree angles occur.


Rectified Edge – A process wherein finished tiles are ground on each side to a precise final dimension.

Red Body – The color of the body is determined by the color of the clay used by the manufacturer. The body of a red body tile will be red in color.

Return – The right-angle turn of a molding.