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Confused about 'rectification', or unfamiliar with terms like 'back buttering'? Whatever your existing knowledge, this is a layman-friendly guide to all terms tiling related.

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Narrow Joint

Any joint between tiles, 3mm or less, requiring grout containing finer fillers.

Non-Contact Printing

A process in which there is no contact between the substrate and whatever applies the ink.  In digital inkjet ceramic decoration the distance between the ceramic tile and the printhead is generally 3 to 5 mm.  This means that no mechanical pressure is put on the ceramic tile, and  that digital inkjet printers can print on 3D surfaces to create edge-to-edge textured tiles.


Tiles with a water absorption of 7% or greater. Usually used as a wall covering and suited for indoor, dry area use only.

Notched Trowel

A trowel of either serrated or toothed design, with square, trapezoidal or round notches available in various sizes, used for the consistent application of a gauged amount of adhesive in ridges of a specific thickness and cross-section. The right tooth size and depth must be used to ensure the specified thickness of adhesive is applied.

Open Time

The length of time after adhesive has been applied to the substrate during which it retains its ability to adhere to and bond a tile.  An open time of 20 or 25 minutes is typical for most tile adhesives.

Orange Peel

Pitted tile glazes that resemble the surface of rough orange peel in texture.

Overglaze Decoration

A raised textured decoration applied directly to the surface of a tile and covered with a transparent glaze.

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