101 Tile Glossary

To Our 101 Tile Glossary

We put together a helpful glossary to make it easier to refer to tile terms while selecting that perfect design for your special space.



The translucency of glass brings style to any aspect of a project. Glass reflects the light around the room inviting a larger feel to any space.  Easy to clean, this tile is perfect for kitchens and bathrooms to add a stylish touch to your décor.  Glass tile is available in a variety of sizes from mosaic to larger tile (12 x 12).


Unglazed tile can be polished or semi-polished to bring out a shine. Glaze is added to some ceramic, especially porcelain tiles, to bring out matte, glossy, or other unique textures. 


Porcelain tile is made with fine sand, clay, quartz, and the addition of feldspar crystal. The feldspar crystal reduces the absorption of water making porcelain tile an excellent option for bathrooms. Incredibly durable and versatile, porcelain tile also sustains high foot traffic.  Options of polishing or glazing allow for a variety of aesthetic choices.


Grès Porcelain stoneware is a ceramic with a compact, hard, coloured and non-porous body. The word “grès” means that the ceramic body of the tile is extremely vitrified, that is to say compact, hence the exceptional great resistance. The result is a lean clay body, little refractory, fired in a kiln (at 1200-1400 C°) until it reaches a non-porous vitrification and a complete water-proofing.

Amongst the most significant features of grès porcelain stoneware there is also the high abrasion resistance, which means the resistance of the surface against the action related to the movement of bodies, surface or materials in contact with it.


Metal tiles can be made of metal or are plated with metal.  They are usually used indoors as design finishes as they do not stand up well to the elements.


Mosaic tile is a smaller tile available from 1” x 1”, 2” x 2” and in a variety of shapes.  They can be made of almost any material including glass, ceramic, and some stone.  


Unlike porcelain or ceramic tile, natural stone tile is derived from mountains and cut or polished for a specific design. Traditionally natural stone tile is more porous than its ceramic/porcelain counterpart and may require polishing or sealing for added durability and requires more maintenance.  Common natural stone tiles include: marble, travertine, limestone, sandstone, basalt, slate, quartz and onyx.


Like Mosaic tiles, Finger tiles are smaller and longer used in decorative finishes.  Finger tiles can be made of almost any material including glass, ceramic, and some stone.


Originally the white ceramic tile in the rectangle 3 x 6” size derived its name from the New York City Subway stations where it was commonly used.  Now the term expands to the size and shape of the tile which can be ordered in almost any form from glass, ceramic, porcelain, metal and wood-look. 


Also called Wood-Look Tile, this tile is more durable than its hardwood counterpart. These tiles are available as planks to mimic the style of hardwood floors. Many other shapes are available for this porcelain Wood-Look Tile ranging from the smaller mosaics to the larger hexagons. All the benefits of porcelain tile with the look of wood.  

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