Knowledge Base

Browse our knowledge base for all kinds of useful information from style to installation

Glossary of Terms

Brushed - the tile is mechanically brushed with a wire brush with a high degree of pressure. The result is the surface has a slightly undulating ripple.

Antique - the combination of sandblasting and mechanical brushing creates a textured finish to the surface similar to the surface of an older flagstone.

Tumbled - a distressing of the tile edge. The tile is put into a large drum full of small pebbles which vibrates and rotates, hence the tumble, causing a worn effect on the suface of the tile, but more noticeably on the edges.

Random lengths - the length of the tile will vary between a minimum and maximum amount i.e 60cm x random lengths = 60cm x 60cm upto 60cm x 90cm (with sizes inbetween )

Honed - the surface of the tile is mechanically sanded to a smooth finish. This is to remove any saw marks created when the stone block was cut down into tiles.

Riven - when a stone block is split along a seam, following the natural contours of the stone, the result surface is known as riven, usually uneven

Split stone - Wedges are placed along a natural seam in the rock, when they are driven into the rock the result is the splitting of the stone. A traditional way of creating a flagstone from a stone block

Flagstone - term generally attributed to a flat stone of varying sizes, split from a stone block, to create a stone floor. Normally large in size. It is also used to generically to describe a large stone slab, either split or sawn.

Stone tile - produced by cutting a block of stone with a saw, into more manageable and useable sizes. Tend to be thinner and smaller in size and and used in both kitchens and bathrooms.

Priming - when a surface is prepared for use, usually by applying a finish, to ensure two different surfaces can bond together e.g prime screed to apply adhesive and then tile

Scabbler - this is a motorised tool for breaking down the top layer on an anhydrite screed, otherwise known as the latence, prior to applying adhesive and tiling

Latence - when using an anhyrdite screed the mix is pumped into the building. Any impurities can float to the surface forming a crusty top layer. This needs to broken down before tiling can start.

Screed - this is the final covering normally used over Under Floor Heating pipes, or as a finish over a concrete base. Generally 50-75mm deep. Traditionally this would be made up of a sand/cement mix, but can also be a gypsum based anhydrite screed.

Pillow Edge - the edge of the tile is slightly rounded giving this pillow, or cushion edge. Is generally looked upon as a more bespoke finish, as it cannot be put through a machine to produce the finish, but has to be done by hand, which requires a high degree of skill.

Random courses - a course is when a stone in laid in a row, all in the same width, but with the length of each tile varying. Random courses refers to each of the rows being different widths, hence the random. This is how traditional flagstone floors were fitted, as production was not automated like it is today, and it is also more efficient producing less waste.

Anti-crack matting / de-coupling system - With the introduction of Under Floor Heating, and the use of floor screeds over the top of them for the transfer of heat, the base screed will expand and contract when the UFH goes on and off. Even when using a flexible adhesive the movement can sometimes be to great, and the extra movement can cause the tiles to crack. The anti crack membrane is fitted onto the floor screed first with adhesive, before fitting the tile onto the matting also with adhesive. The matting therefore acts as an intermediary layer, and stops that pressure passing into the tile and causing it to crack. The system is known as a de-coupling system.

Rustic edge - this refers to the edge of the tile having a more undefined, less regulated edge i.e not a straight sawn cut. This is typically used more frequently with flagstones where a more traditional or older look is sought.

Sealant - every natural stone is porous to some degree, so it needs to be sealed with a specialised sealant to protect the stone from staining. Sealants have evolved a lot over time, and it is now possible to have sealants that both stop staining, whilst also allowing the floor to breathe. This is essential on old concrete floors, and also over limecrete floors.

Substrate - this is whatever is the floor base is made up of. This could be concrete, plyboard, existing tiles, floorboards etc.

Grout - goes between the tiles

Adhesive - used to fit the tiles down to the floor

Self leveller - used when the existing floor is not flat and it needs to evened up. A powder mixed with water and then poured into the area where needed. Generally sets in 2-3 days.

Limestone - a sedimentary rock, formed by the accumulation of organic particles at the earths surface, followed by cemenatation.

Sandstone - sedimentary rock consisting of sand or quartz cemented together

Calibrated - where the tile has been cut to an exact thickness. This has an impact on fitting which is quicker and easier to fit than a non calibrated tile.