GLOSSARY OF TERMS

ANTIQUE
A broad term which encompasses various ageing/distressing methods used to achieve a worn look to stone. Please note, the effect of the various antiquing methods will vary depending on the stone type and the country of origin.

BRUSHED
A method of finishing stone which gives only slight surface texture and can give a subtly softened edge. The effect of brushing and the edge finish created can differ depending on the stone type.

CALIBRATED
Indicates that the tiles are of a nominally uniform thickness.

CERAMIC
A tile produced from clay and fired at lower temperatures than porcelain tiles, usually colour glazed to a matt or gloss finish.

COBBLE
A smaller stone of greater thickness which is used externally.

CROSS-CUT
This indicates that the blocks are cut horizontally relative to the veining.

EFFLORESCENCE
The crystallisation of soluble salts that are carried to the surface of the stone or grout, typically occurring during the initial cure of a cementitious product.

EMC
EMC (equilibrium moisture content) is reached when wood is no longer gaining or losing moisture.

ENGINEERED
A timber board which consist of more than one layer of timber. By placing each layer so that the grain runs perpendicularly it becomes virtually impossible for the timber to swell or shrink with changes in humidity, thus dramatically increasing the stability of the board. The top layer of an engineered board is solid timber (usually hardwood) and may be anything from 2mm thick. Not to be confused with laminate or veneer – laminate uses an image of wood on its surface while veneer uses only a very thin layer of wood over a core of some sort of composite wood product like fibreboard.

FABRICATION
The process of creating bespoke worktops, vanity tops, bath surrounds etc. from large stone slabs.

FILLED
This term is related primarily to natural stone (like travertine), which is characterised by surface pits and holes. These holes can be pre-filled at source by a stone resin which is as similar as possible to the colour of the stone. Once filled the stone can then be honed, polished or tumbled. Not every single pit/hole will be completely filled, and therefore even a pre-filled travertine may require some filling by grout during the fixing process. It is not unusual for any natural stone tile to have some degree of surface fill present. On-going resin filling may be required as part of your maintenance regime.

FISSURE
This is a thin line of mineral veining which normally contrasts with the base colour of the stone and so can be mistaken for a crack in the tile.

FLAG
Generally a larger stone of thicker depth for use externally or internally.

FLAMED
An antique finish obtained by searing the surface of the stone with high temperature flames. This finish is generally only done on granite. It gives a textured surface as the various component crystals are affected by the heat. Once flamed, the stone can also be subsequently brushed for a more subtle feel.

FLEMISH BOND
A mix of a square and rectangle tile which are laid in courses and alternated to achieve a more random appearance than the use of one size alone.

FOSSILS
Fossils are remnants of past animals or plants. Fossils are generally found in limestones, marbles and occasionally sandstone and can take many forms.

FREE LENGTH
A laying format for tiles, where the width of the stone is static i.e. 400mm or 600mm and the lengths of the tiles vary randomly or are a mix of a minimum of two different lengths, offering a look which is reminiscent of traditional stone floors.

GLAZED
A coloured glaze is applied to tiles prior to firing. Colours range from muted neutral shades to vibrant tones.

HARDWOOD
Technically timber from angiosperm (flowering) plants which includes oak, ash, teak, maple etc.

HEARTWOOD
The older timber in the tree that has become resistant to decay as a result of a naturally occurring chemical transformation.

HONED
A smooth non-polished finish to the face of the stone. Edges are either straight or beveled which gives a contemporary/classic look.

HYGROSCOPIC
Describes a surface that absorbs or attracts moisture from the air.

MIXED WIDTH
Stone: In the context of stone, a mix of free length formats in different widths. They are laid in alternating courses of the different thicknesses to give a more random look than free lengths alone.
Timber: In the context of timber, boards or different widths laid in alternating rows.

NOMINAL
A small variation from stated sizes and thicknesses which occurs due to production methods used. This variation should always be expected and can be more pronounced the larger the tile.

NON-RECTIFIED
Non-rectified porcelain or ceramic tiles are cut to size prior to the firing process. The firing process causes expected shrinkage and warpage. These tiles are graded after firing but do not undergo any additional cutting. Because of this, greater variation in size between tiles should be expected than with a rectified tile.

OCTAGON
In tile format, a large square tile that has each corner cut off in order to accommodate a smaller 'inset' tile, normally of a contrasting coloured material.

OPUS
A repeating modular pattern made up of at least three different tile sizes in order to give a random effect to the floor.

PEFC
PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) is the world's largest international forest certification program. It is non-governmental and sets high standards for certification (including the maintenance of biodiversity, the protection of ecologically important areas, the prohibition of hazardous chemicals and GMO' and the protection of workers' rights and welfare.

POLISHED
A high–reflective, gloss finish to the surface of the stone with either straight or bevelled edges.

PORCELAIN
Porcelain tiles are generally formed from kaolin clays and fired at upwards of 1200°C. They tend to be denser, less absorbent and more hard-wearing than ceramic tiles.

RECTIFIED
This term is applied to porcelain or ceramic tiles that are cut to size after the firing process. Rectified tiles are 'dimensionally stable' and will exhibit little variation in size of tiles from one production run. Tiles from different production runs will tend to exhibit greater variation and so enough tiles to complete the installation should be ordered in the first instance.

RIVEN
A naturally cleft face simply achieved by splitting blocks of stone along natural laminations. This term usually relates to slate, schist, sandstone and occasionally limestone.

SAPWOOD
The younger, outermost wood that serves the purpose of conducting water from the roots to the leaves in a living tree (as opposed to the heartwood).

SLAB
A large piece of stone which can be fabricated into worktops, vanity tops, bath surrounds etc.

SLIP RESISTANCE
A term referring to how much grip a tile offers. This can be measured in several ways, the two most common methods being the pendulum or ramp test. This property is more relevant to commercial applications, however, additional grip in wet areas or externally is always preferable to increase safety. This information is readily available for porcelain products.

SOLID BOARD
A solid wood floor is laid with planks or boards that have been milled from a single piece of timber. Since wood is hydroscopic this effectively limits the length and width of the boards.

TUMBLED
A method of ageing stone, whereby the tiles are 'tumbled' to give them a rounded, antique edge finish. On certain stones, this process may also leave the surface more open and slightly textured.

UNCALIBRATED
These materials vary in thickness both between tiles and across individual tiles. Normally found in riven materials. Expected thickness variation is detailed in the sizes of the tiles. Grading is required prior to fixing and more adhesive is generally required for bedding up.

UNFILLED
This term primarily relates to surface pits and holes found in natural stone and knots in timber. An unfilled finish leaves these holes open. Unfilled travertine will need to be 'slurry grouted' across the surface of the stone in order that the holes are filled. Small holes can sometimes be found in limestone, marble and basalt which can be left unfilled or filled with grout dependant on preference.

VEINING
The occurrence of irregular lines of minerals found in stone, most notably marble but also limestone.

VEIN-CUT
This indicates that the blocks are cut vertically relative to the veining, with the natural veins being visible in the stone. These striations give a banded appearance to the finished surface of the stone.