Tile

Tile

Overview

A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

, stone
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

, metal, or even glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

. Tiles are generally used for covering roof
Roof
A roof is the covering on the uppermost part of a building. A roof protects the building and its contents from the effects of weather. Structures that require roofs range from a letter box to a cathedral or stadium, dwellings being the most numerous....

s, floor
Floor
A floor is the walking surface of a room or vehicle. Floors vary from simple dirt in a cave to many-layered surfaces using modern technology...

s, wall
Wall
A wall is a usually solid structure that defines and sometimes protects an area. Most commonly, a wall delineates a building and supports its superstructure, separates space in buildings into rooms, or protects or delineates a space in the open air...

s, showers, or other objects such as tabletops. Alternatively, tile can sometimes refer to similar units made from lightweight materials such as perlite
Perlite
Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently...

, wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

, and mineral wool
Mineral wool
Mineral wool, mineral fibers or man-made mineral fibers are fibers made from natural or synthetic minerals or metal oxides. The latter term is generally used to refer solely to synthetic materials including fiberglass, ceramic fibers and stone wool...

, typically used for wall and ceiling applications. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game
Tile-based game
A tile-based game is a game that uses tiles as one of the fundamental elements of play. Traditional tile-based games use small tiles as playing pieces for gambling or entertainment games...

).
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Encyclopedia

A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

, stone
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

, metal, or even glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

. Tiles are generally used for covering roof
Roof
A roof is the covering on the uppermost part of a building. A roof protects the building and its contents from the effects of weather. Structures that require roofs range from a letter box to a cathedral or stadium, dwellings being the most numerous....

s, floor
Floor
A floor is the walking surface of a room or vehicle. Floors vary from simple dirt in a cave to many-layered surfaces using modern technology...

s, wall
Wall
A wall is a usually solid structure that defines and sometimes protects an area. Most commonly, a wall delineates a building and supports its superstructure, separates space in buildings into rooms, or protects or delineates a space in the open air...

s, showers, or other objects such as tabletops. Alternatively, tile can sometimes refer to similar units made from lightweight materials such as perlite
Perlite
Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently...

, wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

, and mineral wool
Mineral wool
Mineral wool, mineral fibers or man-made mineral fibers are fibers made from natural or synthetic minerals or metal oxides. The latter term is generally used to refer solely to synthetic materials including fiberglass, ceramic fibers and stone wool...

, typically used for wall and ceiling applications. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game
Tile-based game
A tile-based game is a game that uses tiles as one of the fundamental elements of play. Traditional tile-based games use small tiles as playing pieces for gambling or entertainment games...

). The word is derived from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of fired clay.
Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

s. Tiles are most often made from porcelain, fired clay or ceramic with a hard glaze, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, metal, cork, and stone. Tiling stone is typically marble, onyx, granite or slate. Thinner tiles can be used on walls than on floors, which require thicker, more durable surfaces.

Earthenware


Ceramic with a water absorption rate of more than 10% after firing it at temperatures between 950 - 1150°C is known as earthenware. Earthenware is easy to work and easy to decorate. Because it is so porous though, it should only be used indoors to prevent weathering caused by frost. Earthenware is mainly used as glazed wall tiles.

Two different procedures for manufacturing earthenware can be distinguished: In the monoporasa technology, i.e. single firing technology, the liquid glaze is applied onto the tile immediately after shaping. Then the desired decoration can be applied onto the tile. In the double firing technology (biporosa) the body is fired first. Afterwards it is glazed, decorated and then fired again.

Stoneware


Stoneware has a water absorption rate of less than 3%. Stoneware is frost proof due to its low porosity. Compared to earthenware, stoneware has a higher density and a better mechanical strength. Almost all tiles for floor coverings exposed to high traffic such as for industry, commerce or public areas are made of unglazed stoneware that can be seen, for instance, at Nuremberg Central Station. Stoneware tiles with glaze are classical ceramics for floors. Abrasion and slip resistance are determined by the technical properties of the glaze.

Unlike earthenware, stoneware is fired at temperatures between 1150 - 1300°C. Porosity can be reduced by adding fluorite and other fluxes.

Porcelain stoneware


Porcelain stoneware is characterised by its very low water absorption rate of less than 0.5%. Thus porcelain stoneware is a further development of stoneware tiles, whose water absorption rate lies under 3%. Porcelain stoneware is manufactured under high pressure by dry-pressing fine processed ceramic raw materials with large proportions of quartz, feldspar and other fluxes. Afterwards, the body is baked at high temperatures (1200 - 1300°C) in a roller passage kiln.

Due to its high breaking and wear resistance properties porcelain stoneware is often used in public areas and areas where wear conditions are particularly extreme.

At the beginning of the development, porcelain stoneware was manufactured but unglazed.

The low porosity permits polishing a tile and thus creating an extraordinary beautiful and brilliant surface.

By applying ceramic powders of different colours or using soluble salts, unglazed porcelain stoneware can be decorated in different ways. However, the variety of possible visual effects is limited. Thereforce it becomes more and more usual to manufacture glazed and imprinted porcelain stoneware. A huge variety of decors can be created due to the properties provided by this material. For instance, the most different types of stones, woods, fabrics, cork, leather etc. can be imitated.

Glazed porcelain stoneware differs from glazed stoneware by a slightly higher breaking resistance and a complete frost resistance. Other properties, such as, for instance, chemical resistance, slip resistance and scratch hardness may vary significantly depending on the type of surface.

Porcelain stoneware polished and matt

  • Newly laid areas

Adherence of dirt on hardly visible remains of joint material or adhesives makes later maintenance cleaning difficult.Thus all floor coverings should be cleaned with a standard cement residue remover. Residues of joints containing plastic can be removed with an intensive cleaner.
  • Preliminary cleaning in case of protective treatment of used and soiled tiles

Treatment of a used floor covering requires a thorough preliminary cleaning. All impurities and maintenance agents have to be removed from the surface and the pores. For this purpose, a commercially available intensive cleaner should be used under observance of the instructions for use.
  • Protective treatment against stains

Depending on the type of use of the floor covering, stains may appear despite the exceptional properties of porcelain stoneware tiles. A single treatment with a standard protective impregnation reduces delicateness and increases ease of care. Ingress of dirt, oil, grease, wax, paint etc. can be significantly reduced, so that hardly any stains appear or stains can be easily removed. This treatment is recommended for newly laid floor coverings with a polished surface. Whether or not this treatment is suitable for structured or matt surfaces has to be checked. In most cases an impregnation of very light or dark coloured floor coverings is effective.

Some manufactureres offer factory-sealed matt ( currently even polished ) porcelain stoneware tiles.
  • Regular maintenance care

Adding a standard maintenance and cleaning agent to the floor-cleaning water is recommended for regular maintenance care.
  • Additional maintenance care

From time to time floor coverings, where wear conditions are particularly extreme, require a basic cleaning. For this purpose, it is recommended to add an intensive cleaner to the cold or lukewarm floor-cleaning water. In case of lime scale or spots of rust, a sanitary cleaning agent should be used.

Glazed tiles


Glazed tiles are available in many different colors and dimensions. Basically, two types can be distinguished:

Wall tiles, which in technical language are called stoneware tiles, and floor tiles, which may be manufactured from stoneware or porcelain stoneware. What they all have in common is a glazed, closed surface,which is very durable and easy to clean. Some instructions for care of these coverings:
  • First cleaning of new areas

In case of remains of grout on the surface, the covering should be wiped once with a standard sanitary cleaning agent under observance of the manufacturer´s instructions for use.
  • Cleaning of heavily soiled areas

Persistent dirt, remains of caring products, oily and greasy residues etc. can be easily removed with a basic cleaning agent. It is recommended to clean sanitary areas such as bathrooms, showers, toilets with a sanitary cleaning agent to avoid lime scale and to dispose of incrustations.
  • Protection and care

Glazed tiles can be impregnated but don´t have to and they don´t have to be protected in another way. Products containing wax and acrylic are not suitable as they may form layers. These layers bind soil and make maintenance cleaning more difficult. Cement joints are porous and soil easily. By impregnating them with a joint protection, soiling can be reduced and cleaning will be easier.

Please note: Always follow the manufacturer´s instructions of use.'

Environmental aspects


Ceramic tiles do not contain substances harmful to health. The air of rooms is in no way influenced by hydraulic tile adhesive and grout during workmanship and so a pleasant room atmosphere is created guaranteeing healthy living.

Ceramic tiles have a closed surface fired at high temperatures. Allergenic substances such as mites and house dust can hardly settle or develop on such surfaces.

With appropriate ventilation, ceramic coverings prevent formation of mould in rooms with high humidity such as bathrooms, kitchens and toilets.

Ceramic tiles are odourless and they neither absorb nor store odours, vapours or smoke.

Ceramic tiles are particularly suitable for underfloor heatings due to their ability to store and conduct heat. The even heat distribution saves heating costs and owing to a low air circulation, less dust is risen. As a result, the air in the room is less polluted by circulating dust.

Roof tiles



Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain
Rain
Rain is liquid precipitation, as opposed to non-liquid kinds of precipitation such as snow, hail and sleet. Rain requires the presence of a thick layer of the atmosphere to have temperatures above the melting point of water near and above the Earth's surface...

, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay or slate
Slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...

. Modern materials such as concrete
Concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

 and plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 are also used and some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze. A large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. These include:
  • Flat tiles - the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows. An example of this is the clay-made "beaver-tail" tile (German Biberschwanz), common in Southern Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    . Flat roof tiles are usually made of clay but also may be made of stone, wood, plastic, concrete, or solar cell
    Solar cell
    A solar cell is a solid state electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect....

    s.
  • Imbrex and tegula
    Imbrex and tegula
    The imbrex and tegula were overlapping roof tiles used in ancient Greek and Roman architecture as a waterproof and durable roof covering. They were made predominantly of fired clay, but also sometimes of marble, bronze or gilt...

    , an ancient Roman pattern of curved and flat tiles that make rain channels on a roof.
  • Roman tiles - flat in the middle, with a concave curve
    Curve
    In mathematics, a curve is, generally speaking, an object similar to a line but which is not required to be straight...

     at one end at a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking.
  • Pantiles
    Pantile (roof material)
    A pantile is a type of fired roof tile, normally made from clay. It is S-shaped in appearance and is single lap, meaning that the end of the tile laps only the course immediately below...

     - with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field. An example of this is the "double Roman" tile, dating from the late 19th century in England and USA.
  • Mission or barrel tiles are semi-cylindrical
    Cylinder (geometry)
    A cylinder is one of the most basic curvilinear geometric shapes, the surface formed by the points at a fixed distance from a given line segment, the axis of the cylinder. The solid enclosed by this surface and by two planes perpendicular to the axis is also called a cylinder...

     tiles laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles. Originally they were made by forming clay around a curved surface, often a log or the maker's thigh
    Thigh
    In humans the thigh is the area between the pelvis and the knee. Anatomically, it is part of the lower limb.The single bone in the thigh is called the femur...

    . Today barrel tiles are mass produced from clay, metal, concrete or plastic.
  • Interlocking roof tiles are similar to pantile with side and top locking to improve protection from water and wind.


Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails
Nail (engineering)
In woodworking and construction, a nail is a pin-shaped, sharp object of hard metal or alloy used as a fastener. Formerly wrought iron, today's nails are typically made of steel, often dipped or coated to prevent corrosion in harsh conditions or improve adhesion...

. The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below. There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles.

Similarly to roof tiling, tiling has been used to provide a protective weather envelope to the sides of timber frame buildings. These are hung on laths nailed to wall timbers, with tiles specially moulded to cover corners and jambs. Often these tiles are shaped at the exposed end to give a decorative effect. Another form of this is the so-called mathematical tile
Mathematical tile
Mathematical tiles are a building material used extensively in the southeastern counties of England—especially East Sussex and Kent—in the 18th and early 19th centuries. They were laid on the exterior of timber-framed buildings as an alternative to brickwork, which their appearance closely resembled...

, which was hung on laths, nailed and then grouted. This form of tiling gives an imitation of brickwork and was developed to give the appearance of brick, but avoided the Brick Taxes of the 18th century.

History





Fired roof tiles are found as early as the 3rd millennium BC in the Early Helladic House of the tiles
House of the tiles
The House of the Tiles is an Early Bronze Age archaeological site in Lerna, Greece. It is notable for several architectural features that are advanced for its time, notably its roof covered by baked tiles, which gave the building its name...

 in Lerna
Lerna
In classical Greece, Lerna was a region of springs and a former lake near the east coast of the Peloponnesus, south of Argos. Its site near the village Mili at the Argolic Gulf is most famous as the lair of the Lernaean Hydra, the chthonic many-headed water snake, a creature of great antiquity...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. Debris found at the site contained thousands of terracotta tiles having fallen from the roof. In the Mycenaean
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 period, roofs tiles are documented for Gla
Gla
Gla was an important fortified site of the Mycenaean civilization, located in Boeotia, mainland Greece.-Location:The site is located on a limestone outcrop or hill that jutted into Lake Kopais or formed an island within it. The flat-topped outcrop rises up to 38m above the surrounding area. It...

 and Midea
Midea, Greece
Midea is a village and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Nafplio, of which it is a municipal unit. with a population of 6,724...

.

The earliest finds of roof tiles in archaic Greece
Archaic period in Greece
The Archaic period in Greece was a period of ancient Greek history that followed the Greek Dark Ages. This period saw the rise of the polis and the founding of colonies, as well as the first inklings of classical philosophy, theatre in the form of tragedies performed during Dionysia, and written...

 are documented from a very restricted area around Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

 (Greece), where fired tiles began to replace thatched roofs at two temples of Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 and Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

 between 700-650 BC. Spreading rapidly, roof tiles were within fifty years in evidence for a large number of sites around the Eastern Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, including Mainland Greece, Western Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, Southern and Central Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Early roof tiles showed an S-shape, with the pan and cover tile forming one piece. They were rather bulky affairs, weighing around 30 kg apiece. Being more expensive and labour-intensive to produce than thatch, their introduction has been explained by their greatly enhanced fire resistance which gave desired protection to the costly temples.

The spread of the roof tile technique has to be viewed in connection with the simultaneous rise of monumental architecture in ancient Greece. Only the appearing stone walls, which were replacing the earlier mudbrick and wood walls, were strong enough to support the weight of a tiled roof. As a side-effect, it has been assumed that the new stone and tile construction also ushered in the end of 'Chinese roof' (Knickdach) construction in Greek architecture, as they made the need for an extended roof as rain protection for the mudbrick walls obsolete.

Production of dutch roof tiles
Dutch roof tiles
The production of Dutch roof tiles started in the 14th century when the use of fireproof building materials was ordained by government. At that time houses were made of wood and with straw roofing, putting whole cities at risk to destruction by fire...

 started in the 14th century when city rulers required the use of fireproof materials. At the time most houses were made of wood and had thatch roofing, which would often cause fires to quickly spread. To satisfy demand, many small roof tile makers began to produce roof tiles by hand. Many of these small factories were built near rivers where there was a ready source of clay and cheap transport.

Floor tiles




These are commonly made of ceramic or stone, although recent technological advances have resulted in rubber or glass tiles
Glass tiles
Glass tiles are pieces of glass formed into consistent shapes. Glass was used in mosaics as early as 2500 BC, but it took until the 3rd Century BC before innovative artisans in Greece, Persia and India created glass tiles....

 for floors as well. Ceramic tiles may be painted and glazed. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar
Mortar (masonry)
Mortar is a workable paste used to bind construction blocks together and fill the gaps between them. The blocks may be stone, brick, cinder blocks, etc. Mortar becomes hard when it sets, resulting in a rigid aggregate structure. Modern mortars are typically made from a mixture of sand, a binder...

 consisting of sand
Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

, cement
Cement
In the most general sense of the word, a cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. The word "cement" traces to the Romans, who used the term opus caementicium to describe masonry resembling modern concrete that was made from crushed...

 and often a latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

 additive for extra adhesion. The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout
Grout
Grout is a construction material used to embed rebars in masonry walls, connect sections of pre-cast concrete, fill voids, and seal joints . Grout is generally composed of a mixture of water, cement, sand, often color tint, and sometimes fine gravel...

, but traditionally mortar was used.

Natural stone tiles can be beautiful but as a natural product they are less uniform in color and pattern, and require more planning for use and installation. Mass produced stone tiles are uniform in width and length. Granite or marble tiles are sawn on both sides and then polished or finished on the facing up side, so that they have a uniform thickness. Other natural stone tiles such as slate are typically "riven" (split) on the facing up side so that the thickness of the tile varies slightly from one spot on the tile to another and from one tile to another. Variations in tile thickness can be handled by adjusting the amount of mortar under each part of the tile, by using wide grout lines that "ramp" between different thicknesses, or by using a cold chisel to knock off high spots.

Some stone tiles such as polished granite, marble, and travertine are very slippery when wet. Stone tiles with a riven (split) surface such as slate or with a sawn and then sandblasted or honed surface will be more slip resistant. Ceramic tiles for use in wet areas can be made more slip resistant either by using very small tiles so that the grout lines acts as grooves or by imprinting a contour pattern onto the face of the tile.

The hardness of natural stone tiles varies such that some of the softer stone (e.g. limestone) tiles are not suitable for very heavy traffic floor areas. On the other hand, ceramic tiles typically have a glazed upper surface and when that becomes scratched or pitted the floor looks worn, whereas the same amount of wear on natural stone tiles will not show, or will be less noticeable.

Natural stone tiles can be stained by spilled liquids; they must be sealed and periodically resealed with a sealant in contrast to ceramic tiles which only need their grout lines sealed. However, because of the complex, non repeating patterns in natural stone, small amounts of dirt on many natural stone floor tiles do not show.

Most vendors of stone tiles emphasize that there will be variation in color and pattern from one batch of tiles to another of the same description and variation within the same batch. Stone floor tiles tend to be heavier than ceramic tiles and somewhat more prone to breakage during shipment.

Rubber floor tiles have a variety of uses, both in residential and commercial settings. They are especially useful in situations where it is desired to have high-traction floors or protection for an easily breakable floor. Some common uses include flooring of garage, workshops, patios, swimming pool decks, sport courts, gyms, and dance floors.

Plastic floor tiles including interlocking floor tiles that can be installed without adhesive or glue are a recent innovation and are suitable for areas subject to heavy traffic, wet areas and floors that are subject to movement, damp or contamination from oil, grease or other substances that may prevent adhesion to the substrate. Common uses include old factory floors, garages, gyms and sports complexes, schools and shops.

Decorative tilework and coloured brick






Decorative tilework should be distinguished from mosaic, where forms are made of great numbers of tiny irregularly positioned tesserae in a single colour, usually of glass or sometimes ceramic.

The earliest evidence of glazed brick is the discovery of glazed bricks in the Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

ite Temple at Chogha Zanbil, dated to the 13th century BCE. Glazed and coloured bricks were used to make low reliefs in Ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, most famously the Ishtar Gate
Ishtar Gate
The Ishtar Gate was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city....

 of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 (ca. 575 BCE), now partly reconstructed in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, with sections elsewhere. Mesopotamian craftsmen were imported for the palaces of the Persian Empire such as Persepolis
Persepolis
Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

.

Tiling was widespread in the time of the Sinhalese kings of ancient Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, using smoothed and polished stone laid on floors and in swimming pools. Historians consider the techniques and tools for tiling as well advanced, evidenced by the fine workmanship and close fit of the tiles. Tiling from this period can be seen Ruwanwelisaya
Ruwanwelisaya
The Ruwanwelisaya is a stupa in Sri Lanka, considered a marvel for its architectural qualities and sacred to many Buddhists all over the world. It was built by King Dutugemunu, who became lord of all Sri Lanka after a war in which the Chola King Elara, was defeated...

 and Kuttam Pokuna
Kuttam Pokuna
One of the best specimen of bathing tanks or pools in ancient Sri Lanka is the pair of pools known as Kuttam Pokuna . The said pair of pools were built by the Sinhalese in the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura...

 in the city of Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura, , is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization.The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka's North Central Province, on the banks of the historic...

.

Islamic tiles



Early Islamic mosaics in Persia consist mainly of geometric decorations in mosques and mausoleums, made of glazed brick. Typical turquoise tiling becomes popular in 10th-11th century and is used mostly for Kufic
Kufic
Kufic is the oldest calligraphic form of the various Arabic scripts and consists of a modified form of the old Nabataean script. Its name is derived from the city of Kufa, Iraq, although it was known in Mesopotamia at least 100 years before the foundation of Kufa. At the time of the emergence of...

 inscriptions on mosque walls. Seyed Mosque in Isfahan (1122 AD), Dome of Maraqeh (1147 AD) and the Jame Mosque of Gonabad (1212 AD) are among the finest examples. The dome of Jame' Atiq Mosque of Qazvin
Jame' Atiq Mosque of Qazvin
The Ancient Jāmeh Mosque of Qazvīn is one of the oldest mosques in Iran, and is the grand, congregational mosque of Qazvīn city, in Qazvin Province, Iran.-Specifications:...

 is also dated to this period.

The golden age of Persian tilework begins with under the Timurid Empire. Single color tiles were cut into small pieces and assembled by pouring liquid plaster between them. After hardening, these panels were assembled on the walls of buildings. But the mosaic was not limited to flat areas. Jame Mosque
Jame mosque of Yazd
The Jāmeh Mosque of Yazd is the grand, congregational mosque of Yazd city, within the Yazd Province of Iran. The mosque is depicted on the obverse of the Iranian 200 rials banknote.-History:...

 in Yazd
Yazd
Yazd is the capital of Yazd Province in Iran, and a centre of Zoroastrian culture. The city is located some 175 miles southeast of Isfahan. At the 2006 census, the population was 423,006, in 114,716 families....

 (1324-1365 AD) and Goharshad Mosque
Goharshad Mosque
Goharshad Mosque is a former free standing mosque in Mashhad of the Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran, which now serves as one of the prayer halls within the Imam Reza shrine complex....

 (1418 AD) are prominent examples of brick and tile mosaics of interiors and external surfaces of domes. Islamic buildings in Bukhara (16th-17th century) also exhibit very sophisticated floral ornaments.

Mihrab
Mihrab
A mihrab is semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying...

s, being focus points of mosques, were usually the places where most sophisticated tilework was placed. The 14th century mihrab at Madrasa Imami in Isfahan is an outstanding example of aesthetic union between the islamic calligrapher's art and abstract ornament. The pointed arch, framing the mihrab's niche, bears an inscription in Kufic script used in 9th-century Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

.

One of the best known architectural masterpieces of Iran is the Shah Mosque
Shah Mosque
Imam Mosque, is a mosque in Isfahan, Iran standing in south side of Naghsh-i Jahan Square.Built during the Safavid period, it is an excellent example of Islamic architecture of Iran, and regarded as one of the masterpieces of Persian Architecture. The Shah Mosque of Esfahan is one of the...

 in Isfahan, from the 17th century. Its dome is a prime example of tile mosaic and it's winter praying hall houses one of the finest ensembles of cuerda seca tiles in the world. Wide variety of tiles had to be manufactured in order to cover complex forms of the hall with consistent mosaic patterns. The result was a technological triumph as well as a dazzling display of abstract ornament.

During the Safavid period mosaic ornaments vere often replaced by a haft rang (seven colors) technique. Pictures were painted on plain rectangle tiles, glazed and fired afterwards. Besides economic reasons, the seven colors method gave more freedom to artists and was less time-consuming. It was popular until Qajar period
Qajar dynasty
The Qajar dynasty was an Iranian royal family of Turkic descent who ruled Persia from 1785 to 1925....

 when the palette of colors was extended by yellow and orange.

The Persianate
Persianate
A Persianate/Persified society is a society that is either based on, or strongly influenced by the Persian language, culture, literature, art, and/or identity....

 tradition continued and spread to much of the Islamic world, notably the İznik pottery
Iznik pottery
İznik pottery, named after the town in western Anatolia where it was made, is highly decorated ceramics that was produced between the late 15th and 17th centuries....

 of Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 under the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in the 16th and 17th centuries. Palaces, public buildings, mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

s and türbe
Turbe
Türbe is the Turkish word for "tomb", and for the characteristic mausoleums, often relatively small, of Ottoman royalty and notables. It is related to the Arabic turba, which can also mean a mausoleum, but more often a funerary complex, or a plot in a cemetery.-Characteristics:A typical türbe...

 mausoleums were heavily decorated with large brightly coloured patterns, typically with floral motifs, and frieze
Frieze
thumb|267px|Frieze of the [[Tower of the Winds]], AthensIn architecture the frieze is the wide central section part of an entablature and may be plain in the Ionic or Doric order, or decorated with bas-reliefs. Even when neither columns nor pilasters are expressed, on an astylar wall it lies upon...

s of astonishing complexity, including floral motifs and calligraphy as well as geometric patterns.

The zellige
Zellige
Zellige, zillij or zellij is terra cotta tilework covered with enamel in the form of chips set into plaster. It is one of the main characteristics of the Moroccan architecture...

 tradition of Arabic North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 uses small coloured tiles of various shapes to make very complex geometric patterns. It is halfway to mosaic, but as the different shapes must be fitted precisely together, falls under tiling.

Western tilework



Medieval Europe made considerable use of painted tiles, sometimes producing very elaborate schemes, of which few have survived. Religious and secular stories were depicted. The imaginary tiles with Old testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 scenes shown on the floor in Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter active in Bruges and considered one of the best Northern European painters of the 15th century....

's 1434 Annunciation in Washington
Annunciation (van Eyck, Washington)
The Annunciation is an oil painting by the Early Netherlandish master Jan van Eyck, from around 1434-1436. It is in the National Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C. It was originally on panel but has been transferred to canvas. It is thought that it was the left wing of a triptych; there has...

 are an example. The 14th century "Tring tiles" in the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

 show childhood scenes from the Life of Christ
Life of Christ
The Life of Christ as a narrative cycle in Christian art comprises a number of different subjects, which were often grouped in series or cycles of works in a variety of media, narrating the life of Jesus on earth, as distinguished from the many other subjects in art showing the eternal life of...

, possibly for a wall rather than a floor, while their 13th century "Chertsey Tiles", though from an abbey, show scenes of Richard the Lionheart battling with Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

 in very high-quality work. Medieval letter tiles were used to create Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 inscriptions on church floors.

Transmitted via Islamic Spain, a new tradition of azulejo
Azulejo
Azulejo from the Arabic word Zellige زليج is a form of Portuguese or Spanish painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tilework. They have become a typical aspect of Portuguese culture, having been produced without interruption for five centuries...

s developed in Spain and especially Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, which by the Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 period produced extremely large painted scenes on tiles, usually in blue and white, for walls rather than floors. Delftware
Delftware
Delftware, or Delft pottery, denotes blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands and the tin-glazed pottery made in the Netherlands from the 16th century....

 wall tiles, typically with a painted design covering only one (rather small) blue and white tile, were ubiquitous in Holland and widely exported over Northern Europe from the 16th century on, replacing many local industries. Several 18th century royal palaces had porcelain rooms with the walls entirely covered in porcelain in tiles or panels. Surviving examples include ones at Capodimonte
Museo di Capodimonte
The National Museum of Capodimonte is located in the Palace of Capodimonte, a grand Bourbon palazzo in Naples, Italy. The museum is the prime repository of Neapolitan painting and decorative art, with several important works from other Italian schools of painting, and some important Ancient Roman...

, Naples, the Royal Palace of Madrid
Royal Palace of Madrid
The Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain in the city of Madrid, but it is only used for state ceremonies. King Juan Carlos and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid...

 and the nearby Royal Palace of Aranjuez.

There are several other types of traditional tiles that remain in manufacture, for example the small, almost mosaic, brightly coloured zellige tiles of Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and the surrounding countries. With exceptions, notably the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing , also known as Bao'ensi , is a historical site located on the south bank of the Yangtze in Nanjing, China...

, decorated tiles or glazed bricks do not feature largely in East Asian ceramics.
The Victorian period saw a great revival in tilework, largely as part of the Gothic Revival, but also the Arts and Crafts Movement
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

. Patterned tiles, or tiles making up patterns, were now mass-produced by machine and reliably level for floors and cheap to produce, especially for churches, schools and public buildings, but also for domestic hallways and bathrooms. For many uses the tougher encaustic tile
Encaustic tile
Encaustic tiles are ceramic tiles in which the pattern or figure on the surface is not a product of the glaze but of different colors of clay. They are usually of two colors but a tile may be composed of as many as six. The pattern is inlaid into the body of the tile, so that the design remains as...

 was used. Wall tiles in various styles also revived; the rise of the bathroom contributing greatly to this, as well as greater appreciation of the benefit of hygene in kitchens. William De Morgan
William De Morgan
William Frend De Morgan was an English potter and tile designer. A lifelong friend of William Morris, he designed tiles, stained glass and furniture for Morris & Co. from 1863 to 1872. His tiles are often based on medieval designs or Persian patterns, and he experimented with innovative glazes and...

 was the leading English designer working in tiles, strongly influenced by Islamic designs.

Since the Victorian period tiles have remained standard for kitchens and bathrooms, and many types of public area. Portugal and São Luís continue their tradition of azulejo tilework today. Notable among American tilemakers of the 1920s and 1930s were Ernest A. Batchelder
Ernest A. Batchelder
Ernest A. Batchelder was an artist and educator who made Southern California his home in the early 20th century. He is famous as a maker of art tiles and as a leader in the American Arts and Crafts Movement....

 and Pewabic Pottery
Pewabic Pottery
Pewabic Pottery is a studio and school located in Detroit, Michigan and founded in 1903. The studio is known for its iridescent glazes, some of which grace notable buildings such as the Shedd Aquarium and Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Pewabic Pottery is on display...

.

Pebble tile


Similar to mosaics or other patterned tiles, pebble tiles are tiles made up of small pebbles attached to a backing. The tile is generally designed in an interlocking pattern so that final installations fit of multiple tiles fit together to have a seamless appearance. A relatively new tile design, pebble tiles were originally developed in Indonesia using pebbles found in various locations in the country. Today, pebble tiles feature all types of stones and pebbles from around the world, but are still generally associated with pebbles found in exotic locations.

Ceiling tiles


Ceiling tiles are lightweight tiles used in the interior of buildings. They are placed in an aluminium grid and they provide little thermal insulation but are generally designed to improve the acoustics of a room. Mineral fibre tiles are fabricated from a range of products; wet felt tiles can be manufactured from perlite, mineral wool, and fibers from recycled paper, stonewool tiles are created by combining molten stone and binders which is then spun to create the tile, or gypsum tiles which are based on the soft mineral and then finished with vinyl, paper or a decorative face.

Ceiling tiles very often have patterns on the front face; these are there in most circumstances to aid with the tiles ability to improve acoustics.

Digital tile


Printing techniques and digital manipulation of art and photography are used in what is known as "custom tile printing". Dye sublimation printers, inkjet printer
Inkjet printer
An inkjet printer is a type of computer printer that creates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper. Inkjet printers are the most commonly used type of printer and range from small inexpensive consumer models to very large professional machines that can cost up to thousands of...

s and ceramic inks and toners permit printing on a variety of tile types yielding photographic-quality reproduction. Using digital image capture via scanning
Image scanner
In computing, an image scanner—often abbreviated to just scanner—is a device that optically scans images, printed text, handwriting, or an object, and converts it to a digital image. Common examples found in offices are variations of the desktop scanner where the document is placed on a glass...

 or digital cameras, bitmap/raster
Raster graphics
In computer graphics, a raster graphics image, or bitmap, is a data structure representing a generally rectangular grid of pixels, or points of color, viewable via a monitor, paper, or other display medium...

 images can be prepared in Photoshop and other photo editing software
Image editing
Image editing encompasses the processes of altering images, whether they be digital photographs, traditional analog photographs, or illustrations. Traditional analog image editing is known as photo retouching, using tools such as an airbrush to modify photographs, or editing illustrations with any...

 programs. Specialized custom-tile printing techniques permit transfer under heat and pressure or the use of high temperature kilns to fuse the picture to the tile substrate. This has become an increasingly popular method of producing custom tile murals for kitchens, showers, and commercial decoration in restaurants, hotels, and corporate lobbies.

Diamond etched tiles


A new method for custom tile printing involving a diamond-tipped drill controlled by a special type of computer. Compared with the laser engraving
Laser engraving
Laser engraving, or laser marking, is the practice of using lasers to engrave or mark an object. The technique does not involve the use of inks, nor does it involve tool bits which contact the engraving surface and wear out...

s, diamond etching is in almost every circumstance more permanent.

Mathematics of tiling


Certain shapes of tiles, most obviously rectangle
Rectangle
In Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is any quadrilateral with four right angles. The term "oblong" is occasionally used to refer to a non-square rectangle...

s, can be replicated to cover a surface with no gaps. These shapes are said to tessellate
Tessellation
A tessellation or tiling of the plane is a pattern of plane figures that fills the plane with no overlaps and no gaps. One may also speak of tessellations of parts of the plane or of other surfaces. Generalizations to higher dimensions are also possible. Tessellations frequently appeared in the art...

 (from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 tessella, 'tile').

Further reading

  • Marilyn Y. Goldberg, “Greek Temples and Chinese Roofs,” American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 87, No. 3. (Jul., 1983), pp. 305–310
  • Örjan Wikander, “Archaic Roof Tiles the First Generations,” Hesperia, Vol. 59, No. 1. (Jan.–Mar., 1990), pp. 285–290
  • William Rostoker; Elizabeth Gebhard, “The Reproduction of Rooftiles for the Archaic Temple of Poseidon at Isthmia, Greece,” Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 8, No. 2. (Summer, 1981), pp. 211–227
  • Michel Kornmann and CTTB, "Clay bricks and roof tiles, manufacturing and properties", Soc. Industrie Minerale, Paris (2007) ISBN 2-9517765-6-X

See also


  • Building integrated photovoltaics
    Building integrated photovoltaics
    Building-integrated photovoltaics are photovoltaic materials that are used to replace conventional building materials in parts of the building envelope such as the roof, skylights, or facades...

  • Dimension stone
    Dimension stone
    Dimension stone is natural stone or rock that has been selected and fabricated to specific sizes or shapes. Color, texture and pattern, and surface finish of the stone are also normal requirements...

  • Dropped Ceiling
    Dropped ceiling
    A dropped ceiling is a secondary ceiling, hung below the main ceiling. They may also be referred to as a drop ceiling, false ceiling, or suspended ceiling, and are a staple of modern construction and architecture. The area above the dropped ceiling is called the plenum space, as it is sometimes...

  • Marble
    Marble
    Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

  • Porcelain tile
    Porcelain tile
    Porcelain tiles are ceramic tiles with a water absorption rate of less than 0.5 percent that are used to cover floors and walls. They can either be unglazed or glazed....

  • Quarry tile
    Quarry tile
    Quarry tile is a building construction material, usually 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick, made by the extrusion process from natural clay or shales. - Sizes and shapes :...

  • Roof shingle
    Roof shingle
    Roof shingles are a roof covering consisting of individual overlapping elements. These elements are typically flat rectangular shapes laid in rows from the bottom edge of the roof up, with each successive higher row overlapping the joints in the row below...

  • Tile Mural
  • Vitrified Tile
    Vitrified Tile
    Vitrified Tile is a tile is created by the Vitrification process. It is processed in ways that it has very low porosity making it stain-resistant and strong.Vitrified tile is an alternative to marble and granite flooring....


External links