Types of Tile.

ColorBody Porcelain Tiles are extremely hard and impermeable, which makes the tiles highly resistant to moisture, staining and wear. In producing this type of porcelain tile, a color pigment is mixed with the clay body powder, giving the finished tile a consistent color throughout the body of the tile. This type of tile withstands temperature extremes, and may be used in exterior applications, including pool linings. However, before selecting any tile for an exterior application, please review the "Factors to Consider" information.

Glazed Porcelain Tile are extremely hard and impermeable, which makes the tiles highly resistant to moisture, staining and wear. In producing this type of porcelain tile, a colored glaze is added to the surface of the tile, enhancing the visual presentation. This type of tile withstands temperature extremes, and may be used in specific exterior applications, including pool linings. However, before selecting any tile for an exterior application, please review the "Factors to Consider" information.

Ceramic Mosaic Tiles are small tiles, generally 2" x 2" or smaller, and always less than six square inches in area. Mosaic tiles may be made from either a porcelain body or a clay body. Mosaic tiles may also be made with other materials, including glass and metal. Mosaic tiles are most often mounted on paper, mesh or dot-mounted sheets to facilitate easier handling and installation. Mosaic tiles are commonly used to create a design with other types of tile including porcelain, ceramic, or even natural stone.

Natural Stone. Unlike the types of tile described above, natural stones are not manufactured. They are cut and honed from large blocks of stone which are mined from large stone quarries. Natural stones are obtained from all over the world, and include granite, travertine, marble, limestone and slate. One beautiful characteristic of natural stone is that there may be extreme variation in color and veining from tile to tile. This characteristic is common in many types of stone, and is part of the inherent beauty of using a natural product in your home.

Quarry Tile is an unglazed tile manufactured from natural clays and shale. It has a thick, dense body with a high-resistance to moisture and staining. Like ColorBody porcelain tile, quarry tile has a consistent color throughout the body of the tile. The surface texture of the quarry tile provides a natural slip resistance, and abrasives can be added to further enhance the slip resistance qualities of the tile. For this reason it is commonly used in commercial applications.


Tile Size

Floor tile is usually 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick, manufactured in squares measuring 4 inches by 4 inches up to 24 inches by 24 inches. Other shapes are available such as rectangular "subway tile," octagonal and hexagonal shapes. Wall tile is thinner and comes in squares from 3 inches by 3 inches up to 6 inches by 6 inches.


4 Tips For Using Tile Sizes To Your Advantage.

Floor tile comes in many design, style, and size choices. From one-inch mosaics to huge 36-inch planks, there is a tile choice for any room size. Take a moment to evaluate the space or area you're planning on tiling, and consider the following tips when choosing tile sizes.

1. Larger Tiles Can Make a Small Room Seem Bigger.Visually, a smaller room can appear larger with the use of larger tiles. With a larger tile, grout lines are less frequent. This makes the floor look more streamlined and open. When following this rule, you should also consider proportionate tile for the size of the room. Tiles that are 18 or 24 inches will work well in a small family room or very large bathroom, but could be overwhelming in a very small mudroom or laundry room. It's also important to note that wall tile should never be larger than its complementary floor tile. This will upset the proportional look of the room.

2. Tiny Tiles Can Help a Small Room Flow. You can also help a small floor plan flow by using tiny tiles. This is especially helpful if the spacing between the sink, toilet, and other features is compact. Small mosaic tiles will require less cuts, thus offering a more streamlined look.

3. Plank Tiles Add Depth and Texture. Linear tiles, such as 9 x 36 inch planks, add depth to your room and come in a variety of styles. If you're looking to add the brightness and warmth of a hardwood floor with the resiliancy of tile, wood-look plank tiles are just what you need. You can also incorporate stone planks in herringbone, corridor, and brick-joint patterns to give your floor a modern twist.

4. Tile Shape Will Impact a Room. Instead of a common tile design, add interest and depth to a space by going with a unique shape or pattern. For example, diagonal tiles can make a narrow room appear wider. For an extra large room, you can add a border of contrasting rectangular-shaped tile to define the space you plan to use. There are also shaped mosaic tiles-like harlequin-which can be used to create a specialty design. You can use these unique shapes in a strip to offset traditional square tiles, or go bold and use them to create an accent wall. Tile sizes can greatly affect the feel of a space. You can use this to your advantage by making a room seem bigger or wider if you choose a tile that's the right size and shape. Before you commit to a tile size, consider these helpful tips.



The firing process affects the hardness of tile. Usually, the longer and hotter the firing, the harder the tile will be. The raw tile material, called bisque, is either single-fired or double-fired. For single-fired tiles, the glaze is applied to the raw material and baked once in a kiln. Double-fired tiles are thicker. The tile is baked a second time after additional color or decoration is added.


Care & Maintenance of
Ceramic/Porcelain Tile

With thousands of design possibilities, ceramic and porcelain tile boasts a variety of looks that endure. And with little more than dusting and damp mopping, it will maintain its original quality for years to come.

Routine Ceramic Tile Care

Wipe glazed wall tiles periodically using a cloth or sponge dampened with a non oil-based household cleaner. Vacuum glazed floor tiles regularly to remove dirt and other gritty particles, then damp mop or sponge with an all-purpose, non oil-based cleaner. Remember not to use ammonia, as it will discolor grout. Clean unglazed wall and floor tiles in a similar manner using a solution of water and soapless detergent instead of an all-purpose cleaner.

Grout Care

Once the tile has been cleaned and dried (shortly after installation), grout joints should be treated with a silicone sealer. Grout, the material used to fill the spaces between tiles, is porous, and sealing it at this time will simplify maintenance in the future (Epoxy and Pre-sealed grouts do not require a sealer). We recommend you apply a sealer at least twice a year for maximum stain protection.

Heavy Duty Cleaning

Neglected or heavily trafficked tile may require more intensive cleaning. Clean glazed wall tiles with a scouring powder or all-purpose cleaner applied to a non-metallic pad. Rinse and wipe dry. For glazed floor tiles, use a commercial tile cleaner, or apply a strong solution of an all-purpose, non oil-based cleaner or scouring powder paste. Let stand for five minutes, brush and scrub. Then rinse with clean water and wipe dry.

For heavy-duty cleaning of unglazed wall tiles, make a paste of scouring powder. Apply to surface and let stand for five minutes. Scour with brush, rinse and wipe dry. Unglazed floor tiles can be cleaned in the same manner. Though a small brush is suitable for most floors, you may want to use a scrubbing machine for large areas.

To clean badly soiled countertops, apply a solution of scouring powder and very hot water. Let stand for five minutes, scrub with a stiff brush and rinse. Soap scum, mildew stains and hard-water deposits may be removed from ceramic tile using cleaning products that are commonly available at your local supermarket or home improvement store. With soft water, use an all-purpose, non oil-based cleaner. Allow to stand for five minutes before lightly scrubbing with a sponge. Rinse well.

Purchasing Maintenance Products

Ceramic tile and Natural Stone cleaning products and sealants may be purchased through BMG Flooring & Tile Center. Consult the manufacturer of the cleaner, sealant or wax for usage instructions and more detailed information about how its specific cleaning solution or sealant may impact the safety, maintenance or appearance of your ceramic tile product.

Factors To Consider


1. Glazed floor tiles should not be used where there is a consistent presence of water, oil, or grease unless COF exceeds 0.60.

2. Proper maintenance is critical. Improper maintenance and improper maintenance products can result in a contaminant build-up on the surface of the tile causing the tile to be slippery.

3. Exterior applications, including pool deckings, are considered to have a continuous exposure to standing water creating a potential for a slippery floor surface. Dal-Tile does not recommend glazed floor tiles on exterior applications unless the tile surface is: (1) sufficiently protected from direct weather elements, (2) equal to or greater than .60 COF wet, (3) textured, and (4) not polished or semi-polished.

4. Ramped surfaces, irrespective of the slant of the incline, require a more slip resistant surface and Dal-Tile recommends a minimum of .80 COF on these surfaces.

5. "Polished surfaces" create a very smooth surface. Dal-Tile does not recommend polished surfaces in any areas subject to water, oil, or grease exposure.

6. No floor tile is "slip proof." NOTE: Commercial tile applications have unique exposures. See Additional Safety Factors to Consider under the Commercial Factors page for more information to assist in the selection of tile for commercial applications. 


Glazed or Unglazed

Tile may be glazed or unglazed. Glazed flooring tiles have very hard, smooth surfaces that reject water and stains. They are thicker and less glossy than tiles used for walls and counters. The glaze, applied between the first and second firings, gives the tile color and texture. Unglazed tile is unfinished, so it is usually the color of the fired clay or an added pigment. It doesn’t scratch as easily as glazed tile but, because it doesn’t have the hard surface finish, it is more liable to stain. It is generally treated with a sealer or wax for protection.


Frequently Asked Questions About Stone and Tile.

Like most people who have looked into buying and installing stone or tile, you probably already know it will add beauty, comfort, and value to your home. But questions may come to mind about how to maintain your investment and keep it looking beautiful for years to come. Read on for the answers to our most frequently asked questions about countertops.

Can I use ceramic tile outside if it doesn’t freeze often?

If you live in a zone that gets frost at all, you should not put ceramic tile outdoors. The reason we do not recommend you install it outdoors is because the body of the ceramic tile can absorb small amounts of water during the day, then at night when the temperature drops below 32 degrees F, the water inside the tile can expand, crack the tile and/or pop the tile off of the mortar bed. You should select a porcelain tile because the body will not absorb water and is not at risk to expand when it freezes. 

What is a PEI rating?

PEI is a measurement of the “abrasion resistance” of a tile, meaning how much “rubbing” does it take to physically impact the look of the tile. The test is scored on a scale of 1 to 5 and each value represents a durability to withstand increasingly more demanding traffic.

What is PEI 1, Very Light Traffic 

These tiles can be used on all indoor wall applications, for countertops such as bathrooms, and very light traffic residential bathroom floors. These tiles are not recommended for any area that will have any constant or heavy floor traffic.

What is PEI 2, Light Traffic 

These tiles can be used on all indoor wall applications, interior countertops applications and light traffic residential bathroom floors. These tiles should not be used in areas such as kitchens, entry ways, stairs or areas with heavy traffic.

What is PEI 3, Moderate Traffic

 These tiles can be used on all indoor wall applications, all interior countertop applications and all residential interior floors. This tile should not be used in commercial applications.

What is PEI 4, Moderate to Heavy Traffic

These tiles can be used on all indoor wall applications, all interior countertop applications, all residential interior floors and all light commercial applications, such as restaurants and lobbies. This tile should not be used in heavy commercial applications.

What is PEI 5, Heavy Traffic 

These tiles can be used on all indoor wall applications, all interior countertops applications, all residential interior floors and all heavy commercial applications, such as airports, shopping malls, supermarkets, etc. This tile is an excellent choice for industrial applications where extreme durability is required.

What does the COF of a tile mean?

The Coefficient of Friction (COF) of a tile is a measure of the “slip resistance” of a tile. For example, the dry cement patio around a public pool is very slip resistant (so it would get a high rating) and the ice on hockey rink is VERY slippery (so it would get a low rating). For tiles, it is important because ratings above a certain number comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and can be used in commercial areas or public areas. There are two ratings – STATIC COF and DYNAMIC COF.


 This is the force required to START something moving. Imagine you are standing still…it is the force between your shoe and the floor to get you from stopped to moving. If you apply a LOT of force, you slip. This test shows the amount of force needed JUST BEFORE you slip. To pass ADA the test must be done on a WET tile and the result rating must be greater than 0.6.


This is the force required when something is in motion. Imagine you are walking, the more pressure you apply, the faster you will go. This test shows the amount of force needed just before you slip WHILE you are already in motion. To pass ADA the test must be done on WET tile and the result rating must be greater than 0.42.

Based on the fact that this is a rating used only in the USA, many factories throughout the world do not test their tiles for COF. In some cases, we might have to send a tile out to get the COF rating.


A FIRST choice product is one that meets the highest standards for appearance and specifications…colors are correct, no physical defects, good/clear image. A SECOND choice product is a tile that DOES NOT meet the standards for appearance and specifications. The colors could be inconsistent, the body could be slightly damaged or could be a blurry image. This is usually a small percentage of the production, but the factory will sell them at a discount to get rid of them. 

What is Decoration?

Decoration is the process to get the ink on the tile to form the desired image (for example -Travertine image, Marble image, Wood image, etc.). The most common types are:

Screen Print

same image on every tile

Rotocolor Print

 a very large picture (2’x6’) that has a small piece of the picture placed on each tile thus giving more variation in the final tiles; imagine a random piece of puzzle in low resolution.

Inkjet Print

a computer database holds an exceptionally large number of images that are printed on the tile just like a paper printer. The final image on the tile is the highest variation of the image. The final image has the best contrast between light and dark; imagine a random piece of puzzle in high resolution. Inkjet print prints into the ridges on the tile and prints to the very edges for a natural look in the finished tile.

How can I judge the Quality/Complexity of the image on the tile?

When looking at the tile, you can and should go through the following questions: Does the image go all the way to the edge of the tile? How many different colors are blended into the image? Are the transitions from one color to the next color sharp or blurry? Is there a good variation in the image from one tile to another tile in the carton? Is the image a believable reproduction (does it look like travertine)? 

What is Shade?

When the ink is mixed and applied to the tile, there could be a slight variation in the color after the tile goes through the kiln. The factory will separate these slight shifts in “color” and designate them as different “shades” and then each shade is indicated on the carton. 

What is Caliber?

When the tile goes through the kiln, the heat removes the moisture from the tile and it will shrink by 7% to 10%. As conditions change in the factory (humidity, heat) and inside the kiln (temperatures fluctuate slightly inside the kilns), the tiles will shrink at different percentages and could be slightly different sizes. Like shade, factories will separate calibers and identify them on the cartons. 

What is Rectified?

A rectified tile has a process AFTER it is cooked, the edges of the tiles are all cut to a 90 degree edge, and this allows the factory to cut every tile to the same exact size (no caliber differences). With 90 degree edges and one caliber, the installer can install the tiles with a “razor thin” grout line. The benefit is a floor that is more tile and less a grid work of grout lines, leaving less maintenance on the new floor. 

What is Soluble Salt?

Soluble salt refers to a product that is just like porcelain, but the production process is slightly different. With soluble salt tile the decoration is put directly on the body of the tile (ceramic & porcelain have a protective layer on top of the body before the decoration is added). With soluble salt, the body material is less expensive than the typical porcelain body, then it receives the decoration, and then it is polished. Given that the body is directly visible, you tend to get a larger variation of shades during the production process. (For shade description, see above). 

What are Water Absorption Levels?

The test for water absorption is a standard test for tiles. It tells you the porosity of the body of the tile or how likely water is to seep into the body. The more water that seeps into the body the more likely the tile is to crack if the temperature drops below freezing when the tile is wet inside. It does not matter for indoor installation, but for outdoor installation only use porcelain which has the lowest level of water absorption of less than 0.5%. 

What does the grade mean on stone tiles?

Our grading standard is meant to differentiate the selection and pricing of a naturally varying product. The grades are based on:

    1. Density
    2. Amount of fill
    3. Color variation or pureness of color
    4. Amount of veining

Why doesn’t the tile in the display look like the tiles in the crate?

Stone is a product of nature and therefore has unique qualities such as natural shade variation and veining that distinguish it from man-made materials. Since it is a natural material, its appearance could change in time. Therefore the displayed material might vary from the selection in the crate.

Will a stone floor last?

Natural stone is ideal for areas with a lot of foot traffic; it’s been used as a flooring material for centuries all over the world. These floors have literally withstood the test of time. The National Association of Home Builders expects natural stone to last approximately 100 years with proper maintenance. 

Is there something special I should know about installing Stone?


Installing stone is essentially the same as installing ceramic or porcelain tile. There are installation materials that are recommended such as mortar that is made to specifically bond to stone. We highly recommend pre-sealing the stone prior to grouting; this will aid in the grout quickly releasing from the surface of the stone, limiting the likelihood of grout haze!