Advice >> Glossary

Covering the back of a tile with setting material to ensure proper, uniform coverage.


Tile produced via a double firing process, where the raw clay tile is first fired, and than glazed, and re-fired.


Fired clay that has not yet been glazed.

Brushed Finish

A look achieved by brushing the surface of the stone, evoking the look of natural wear over time.  Available in various levels of texture.

Bull Nose Edge

An edging option for natural stone, porcelain, or ceramic, providing a finished edge for your installation.

Bush Hammered

A hammering process that creates a textured surface on natural stone.  Bush hammering creates a non-skid surface that is typically suitable for outdoor areas.


Natural stone primarily composed of calcium carbonate.  Limestone, travertine and marble typically fall under the calcareous category.


Stone tile that has been fabricated to a uniform thickness to facilitate installation.


A fine 45 degree bevel applied to the edges of a stone tile to minimize chipping during handling and facilitate installation.

Cross Cut (Fleuri, Flowered)

A cut into quarried stone parallel to the natural plane, typically applied to Travertine.  Cross Cutting provides a clouded appearance.

Cushioned, aka Pillowed

A pillowed effect on the surface of a tile.   

Diamond Abrasives

Cutting and grinding tools coated with industrial diamonds, available in a wide range of grits, used for the cutting and finishing of natural stone.


The finished surface of stone.

Flamed Finish - AKA Thermal Finish

Application of a propane flame to quartz-based stone, resulting in a rough texture, which is typically suited for outdoor areas. 

Fleuri (Cross Cut, Flowered)

A cut into quarried stone parallel to the natural plane, typically applied to Travertine.  Cross Cutting provides a clouded appearance.

Flowered (Cross Cut, Fleuri)

A cut into quarried stone parallel to the natural plane, typically applied to Travertine.  Cross Cutting provides a clouded appearance.


The outer finished surface of a bi-cottura, monocottura or glazed porcelain tile, applied for resistance and decorative effect. 


An igneous stone that is typically hard, stain and scratch resistant.

Grout (cementitious)

Dry cement product that is mixed with water to fill grout joints.  Un-sanded grouts are used for joints less than 1/8” in width, and sanded grouts for larger.  Grouts may also be epoxy or urethane based. 

Honed Finish

The treatment of a natural stone to provide a flat non-reflective surface.  Honed surfaces are typically achieved via the use of diamond abrasives. 


A type of rock formed when molten lava cools and hardens.


An oven used for the firing of ceramic or porcelain tile.  Kilns vary greatly in size, and may be fired using natural gas, electricity, wood or other combustible material.


A sedimentary stone primarily composed of calcium carbonate.


Where one edge of an installed tile is higher than adjacent edges, creating an uneven surface, which may result in a trip hazard.

Man Made Stones

Engineered product, containing small particles that have been reconstituted with binders.


A metamorphic stone, available in a wide range of colors.


An organic adhesive typically used to install ceramic tile in areas of minimal moisture exposure.

Medium Bed Mortar

A setting adhesive used for the installation of large format tiles and tiles of irregular thickness when the required setting bed exceeds the workable range of thinset.


Type of stone created when other materials from the earth have been changed by heat and pressure, i.e. marble.


Tile produced via a single firing process, where clay body and glaze are fused together. 

Natural Stone

A product of nature that is not artificial or manmade.  


A typically translucent variety of calcium carbonate, often formed in caves in the form of stalagmites and stalactites.

Polished Finish

The treatment of a natural stone to provide a light-reflective surface.  Polished surfaces are typically achieved via the use of diamond abrasives.  Not all stones can achieve a polished finish. 


A fine grained, specialized ceramic tile, pressed under extreme pressure and fired at extreme temperatures, producing a wear resistant product typically suitable for commercial and residential application.


Measure of absorption of stone compared to weight.


Hard, dense, crystalline mineral often found in granite.


A process whereby porcelain tiles are trimmed to a uniform facial dimension, allowing for a minimal grout joint installation.


A sedimentary stone that is primarily composed of loose, rough grains of quartz sand.  Sandstone typically has a rough texture and high porosity.

Saw-Cut Finish

Stone that has been sawed, without further refinement.  This finish is common on Travertine.


A product applied to natural stone to provide improved stain-resistance and cleanability.  Sealers may be solvent or water based.

Sedimentary Rock

Stone that has been formed via a settling and cementing process, i.e. Limestone.


A variety of metamorphic stone, containing the mineral serpentine.  Serpentine’s are typically green or gray in color, have high abrasion resistance making them suitable for exterior application, but may require the use of a specialized setting material.


A flat sheet of stone, available in a variety of thicknesses, used for counter top, table, wall cladding and paving applications. 


Metamorphic stone composed of clay, quartz and shale, characterized by distinct layering.

Split Faced Finish

A rough texture, achieved by hand cutting, chiseling or hydraulic guillotine.  Split Face finishes provides textural interest for vertical applications.


Cement-based adhesive used to install stone or tile.   Thinset is applied in a thin layer, typically having a maximum working thickness of about 3/8”.  Thinsets are available with a dry polymer additive that provide increased bond strength and flexibility once mixed with water.  Liquid Latex additive may also be available to mix with your thinset.

Through Body Porcelain

A porcelain tile that has no glaze applied.  The surface and body material are uniform.


Crystallized, partially metamorphosed limestone with characteristic holes.  Travertine is a sub-classification of limestone, typically formed in the presence of hot mineral springs.

Tumbled Finish

A smooth or slightly pitted surface, with rounded corners, created to achieve an antique effect. 

Vein Cut

A cut into quarried stone perpendicular to the natural plane, typically applied to Travertine.  Vein Cutting provides a linear appearance.

Water-jet Cutting

A process performed by a highly pressurized and concentrated stream of water and mineral cutting abrasives.  Water-jets are particularly useful in cutting elaborate curves and patterns.