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tile glossary

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Sample/Sample Board

A small piece of flooring that acts as a representation of the final product.


Using a small piece of a product as a sample.

Sand Mix

A mixture of sand and cementious material applied not more than 2" thick to patch or level mortar beds.


Propelling sand at a high speed onto a surface to clean or roughen it.



Using a straightedge or other tool to level mortar in a mortar bed.

Sculptured Tile

Tile that has been sculpted or molded for decoration.

Sealant Coating


See Sealer


A coat that is applied to the surface of a floor before applying finish or other coats, which prevents the finish from being absorbed into the flooring itself. Also may be applied as a final finishing step to a flooring surface to add protection and moist

Self-Spacing Tile

Tile that has built in spacers or lugs.

Semi-Rubbed Finish

A finish obtained by rubbing high areas of a surface down while leaving some lower areas with their natural texture.

Semi-Vitreous Tile

Semi glass-like tile with a water absorption rate between 3% and 7%.


Applying the stress of two forces acting in opposite directions on an object.

Shot-Sawn Finish

A rough finish obtained by using a gang saw to saw random, textured markings with chilled steel shots.


A flat finishing piece often installed horizontally under windows and other openings.


A rectangular or square cut of stone from a quarry which has two parallel surfaces.

Slip Resistance

A measurement of the frictional resistance of an object from moving across a surface.

Smooth Finish / Smooth Planer Finish

A finish obtained using a planer machine with any tool marks removed after use.


The visible underside of an arch, portico, or other piece generally installed over a door way.


Small device in a cross, T, or Y shape that is used to evenly space tiles during installation.

Special Purpose Tile

Tile that has been specially made to fit a certain requirement. This can range from a specific color, size, shape, decoration, strength, or other physical property.

Straight 90° Edge

An edge of a tile that forms a right angle, creating a clean look.

Straight Joint

Joints installed in alignment with each other.

Structural Defects

A defect in the body of flooring, which diminishes the overall appearance or structural integrity.


The base floor of a structure on top of which the flooring is installed. Typically this is made of wood or concrete.


The surface that the flooring is installed on. Generally it is the subfloor.