1. WHAT DO THE INSCRIPTIONS ON TILE BOXES MEAN?
The following information are usually indicated on tile boxes: country of manufacture, factory name or trade mark, name of the tile (its color in the series), grade, nominal size in centimeters and inches, thickness in millimeters if it differs from the standard thickness for that type of tile, number of square meters in a package and the number of pieces, the tile shade, caliber, caliber table for that format, batch number, personal ID of the controller, water absorption class and manufacturing technology (for example, BIb - meaning dry pressed, water absorption <3%), type of surface, a warning that all claims concerning the material must be sent prior to its installation (usually in 4 languages), necessary comments (for example, on some tile boxes, it can be written that the tiles should be installed with a minimum seam of 5mm), conformity to standards (for example, EN99, UPEC).
2. CAN A TILE BE LAID ON A SURFACE THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN FACED WITH AN OLD TILE?
Yes, it is possible but the old tile must be firmly based. You must also select an adhesive suitable for this type of installation – mixtures with high adhesion are usually applied for ceramic granite since the tile glaze has a near-zero water absorption rate.
3. WHY DO ITALIAN TILES HAVE SUCH A PRICE DISPERSION?
First, tiles of the same production type and size should be compared. For example, the cost of producing bicottura 20x20 is initially much cheaper than the cost of producing polished gres 30x60. Secondly, such parameters as thickness (for example, monocottura can be 6mm, 8mm or 10mm), technology used to make the surface (for example, "double loading"), and additional processing (rectification) are important when comparing the same type of tiles. A factory with a high-tech production, constantly producing a wide range of products, not only in the catalog, but actually in stock, usually has higher selling prices and better quality material. Thirdly, a lot of course depends on the organization selling the tiles. Large inventory, developed special infrastructure, qualified staff and high quality service in a large importing firm are all reflected in the prices of tiles.
4. ARE CERAMIC GRANITE AND OTHER TILES (NON-ITALIAN TILES) INFERIOR TO ITALIAN TILES?
They are not inferior in terms of price/quality ratio. We earlier said that when choosing a tile, you should pay attention to the specifications, which must conform to the conditions of use and aesthetic wishes of the buyer. However, Italian tiles have a number of indisputable advantages – more stringent compliance with technical standards, a design recognized worldwide, production technology constantly upgraded, and a huge assortment of surface types and formats produced.
5. WHY ARE RED AND BLUE TILES USUALLY MORE EXPENSIVE THAN TILES OF OTHER COLORS?
Selenium-containing additives (dyes) that are more expensive are used in the production of red and blue tiles. When these dyes are used, there is the danger of any color change becoming noticeable at the slightest deviation in production parameters (for example, firing temperature), and thus can lead to rejection by the buyer.
6. AFTER REPAIR I STILL HAVE UNOPENED TILE BOXES BUT THE SELLER REFUSES TO TAKE THEM BACK. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
You can only return poor-quality tiles, that is, if after buying the tiles and before installing, some defects were discovered or it was found out that the tiles do not meet the characteristics declared. In accordance with clause 4 of Resolution No. 55 of the Government of the Russian Federation dated January 19, 1998, the seller may decide not to take the goods back if they are of good quality. Actually, a lot depends on the sellers. Each seller deals with this issue in different ways. However, most often they do not accept the tiles back based on the following objective reasons. The seller may not have in stock or may have very little tiles of the same shade and size as the one you want to return, and so may not be sold. Secondly, when transporting and unloading tiles, there is the risk the tiles may damage and this may not be noticed immediately. Thirdly, expenses (for example, salaries paid to the manager and delivery driver, expenses on warehouse services, etc) incurred when selling and delivering the tiles have to be taken into account.
7. WHY DID ALL THE STEPS AND TILES FALL OFF FROM THE ENTRANCE AND SOCLE AT MY COTTAGE?
In such a situation, the true cause can only be found after carefully examining the very place where the tile was laid, the tile itself and the materials used for the installation. If the correct tile was chosen, that is, if the tile was gres or a frost-resistant monocottura, then the most likely causes are the following:
8. WHY ARE POLISHED TILES SMALLER IN SIZE THAN MATTE TILES EVEN IF THEY ARE OF THE SAME COLOR FROM THE SAME SERIES?
A polished tile is made from matte tile, through additional machining. The top layer is cut off and polished on special machines. The result is a smooth shiny surface, but the edges of the tile still remain natural (matte) and micro chips are formed on their top after being processed by the polishing machine. Therefore, the edges of the tile undergo additional faceting and they are chamfered to prevent further chipping. So, having a nominal size of 30x30, the actual size (caliber) of a matte tile can be 29.9х29.9 (caliber 9) and a polished tile can be 29.7х29.7 (caliber 7). The seller must indicate this difference in size by specifying it in the documents so that the buyer could decide whether that material is suitable for him. In more expensive series, where the price of additional machining is not strongly reflected on the total production cost, matte tile, in turn, is subjected to additional faceting to ensure that its actual size matches that of a polished tile (rectification).
9. HOW MANY YEARS CAN A TILE LAST?
The early Majolica (bicottura) or Cotto tiles are a hundred years still lying at the Italian palaces and even having partially lost their appearance, still perform their protective and aesthetic functions. But for the rest, of course it all depends on the operating conditions and the material chosen. No manufacturer can guarantee in advance the service life of his materials, not knowing where or how the material will be used. However, for advertising purposes, some manufacturers declare some time period within which the ceramic tiles produced by them will maintain their quality. For example, Atlas Concorde factory declares "1 century" as the service life of Dolmen tiles.
10. CAN PORCELAIN STONEWARE BE USED AS A ROOF TILE?
Of course ceramic tiles cannot be used as a roof tile. With their excellent protective properties, but being completely flat and with no special surface elements, they are not designed to be used as tiles on a sloping roof plane. However, when it comes to laying the tiles on the floor that serves as a roof for the lower part of a building, such as an open space or veranda located on the roof of a garage or outhouse, then there are no limits. Of course, you should choose tiles, suitable for outdoor use and ensure there is a water drain system, quality waterproofing, and thorough proper grouting.
The second part: Answers from Atlas Concorde to questions about ceramic tiles, part 2
The third part: Answers from Atlas Concorde to questions about ceramic tiles, part 3
This information was provided by Atlas Concorde