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City Tile Frequently Asked Questions

What are ceramic tiles made from?

Ceramic tiles are made from clay that is heated to very high temperatures in a kiln. This process of “firing” the clay hardens it, creating a material that is useful for all kinds of applications.

What is the difference between unglazed and glazed ceramic tile?

When it comes to ceramic tile, there are two basic types: glazed and unglazed tile. Glazed tile has a non-porous coating added to the tile after it has been fired. Unglazed tiles have no additional coating. Because of their non-porous surfaces, glazed tiles work well in kitchens and baths. They are also popular because glazing presents options for a variety of patterns and colors. Unglazed tiles tend to be a bit more durable and are great for a variety of interior and exterior uses. All ceramic tiles are made from clay and kiln-fired. Porcelain tiles are a specific kind of ceramic tile, made from a specific kind of clay. Whereas most ceramic tiles are made from red or white clay, porcelain tiles are made from a light-colored clay with a slightly different chemical composition. Porcelain clay, when fired at high temperatures, creates a tile that is more durable and more moisture-resistant than other ceramic tiles.

Can I go over vinyl flooring with my tile?

  • Using a multi-purpose mortar, tile can be bonded to vinyl flooring. 
    Two things to be careful of:
  • Is the vinyl coming loose? 2. Is the vinyl flooring spongy?

**If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then going over the vinyl is not recommended. It is always better to adhere the tile directly to the substrate. The multipurpose mortar will bond the tile to the vinyl, but it will not prevent the vinyl from coming loose. In essence you are putting good money over bad. Direct bonding to the substrate is best.

What is a dye lot?

A tile’s shade (dye lot) refers to the coloration and reflectivity of a tile. Since natural materials are used in both the body and glazes of the tile, slight variations in shade are normally inherent from one production run to the next.

What does Caliber mean?

A tile’s caliber refers to its facial dimension (size) and is measured with a tool called a caliper. Since natural materials are used in both the body and glazes of the tile, slight variations in caliber are normally inherent from one production run to the next.

Does it matter if I use white or gray thinset when laying tile?

Only when setting stone. Stones are porous and the color of the mortar will influence the tile. Black or green stones should use gray mortar. All others should use white. When installing tile, some installers prefer white mortar when they are going to use a light colored grout.

Can I use wall tile on the floor?

It is not recommended. Wall tile; usually referred to as glazed ceramic, have a weaker glazed top coat and will wear prematurely. They are also not as resistant to the impact and stress when used as a floor.  Resulting in chipped or cracked tile. Porcelain however can be used on both wall and floor applications.

Can I take tile samples home with me?

Yes, and we recommend that you do. The main reason is because tile colours can change in different light. By purchasing samples, you have the opportunity to take a look at the tile in your own light throughout different times of day. This will ensure the product will work before you make that final decision! Everything in our showroom is sold by the piece or sheet.