Rectified Tile – Installation and Design

General Article

Most homeowners have not heard the term “rectified tile” used but probably know what it is. Rectified tile is an increasingly popular choice for interior remodeling projects. It refers to tile that has been mechanically finished on all sides to achieve optimum precision. It is used most often in large tiles and also at times when large and small tiles are used together to create a patterned design.

Using a rectified tile allows you to place the tiles much closer together using tighter joint spacing. This makes the grout less visible as there is actually less grout used. When a wide space is used between tiles, the grout becomes a distinct part of the design and if the grout does not blend well with the tiles it can create a less than professional looking finish. In addition, the grout can easily become soiled and discolored over time and will detract from the look of the tile itself.

That is the main reason why homeowners are willing to pay more for rectified tiles and their installation. The overall look of a room once the tiles are laid is much more desirable and attractive. It is easier for the person laying the tile to get a precise line as there is less movement and shifting when the tile is put down.

Laying rectified tile does have its own challenges and it is always a good idea to employ a reputable, professional tile layer to get the best results. Tiling is never a simple, do-it-yourself project someone with little experience should undertake.

The biggest problem for the installer of rectified tile is that there currently is no industry standard. The manufacturer can call whatever tile he likes “rectified”. Consistency in the product lines is definitely an issue. For the most part a rectified tile is made by grinding down a tile that has already been fired and it therefore should remain fairly consistent from tile to tile. But the amount of variation between tiles is entirely up to the manufacturer.

Tiles that vary from one another by .50% are very different than tiles that vary by .25% both of which are within industry standards. The American National Standards for Ceramic Tile are working on standardizing the manufacture of rectified tiles. This will make things significantly better for the installers in the future.

Homeowners are typically willing to pay a little extra to purchase a rectified tile, but they are not always willing to pay more for the rectified installation. They do not understand the complexities involved in the installation of different types of tiles. To them, installing a tile is installing a tile. If the tile the homeowner purchases has significant size variations, it will require more skill and expertise to lay the tile properly for an optimum appearance.

While rectified tile is the tile of choice for many homeowners, it is not always preferred by the installer. In time, when industry norms are standardized, it will undoubtedly become a little easier on the rectified installation end as well. In the meantime, rectified tiles are here to stay.