Choosing Tile



Why choose tile?

Our ceramic and porcelain tile collection consists of a wide variety of colours and textures, with some representative of natural surfaces such as wood, stone and metal. Porcelains are hard wearing and can be resistant to extreme weather conditions, fading, scratches and heavy loads.


While the initial cost of other flooring options may be lower than tile, the lifecycle of those products often does not compare. Products such as carpet and laminate cost more over time due to greater maintenance demands and frequent replacements. Tile is not only environmentally friendly, but it is also incredibly durable and easy to care for, making it an obvious choice!

HYGIENIC & HYPOALLERGENIC: The surface of tile does not retain antigens or allergens. It does not absorb fumes, odors or smoke. This environmentally friendly flooring option is perfect for a hygienic household.


View full document of Tile is the Natural Choice - Tile Council of North America (TCNA)

Choosing Natural Stone



One of the hardest and densest stones.
Colours are incredibly varied, from absolute black to white leopard and almost every colour in between.
Renowned for its beautiful, natural colour variations and durability.


Often contains fossil marks and calcite sites.
Colour ranges from earthy tones of greens and blues, to grays and dark browns.
Texture varies between coarsely crystalline to very finely grained, with a wide variation of tiny shells and micro-skeletons deposited throughout.


Features prominent swirls of veining, in a wide range of colours.
Classic, timeless style that emulates elegance and luxury.
Popular colours include Crema Marfil (beige tones) and Bianco Carrera (white, gray tones).


A hard, metamorphic rock converted from sandstone through heat and pressure.
Available in many colours, but when pure it is light coloured.
Tends to have a sugary or sparkly appearance and is very popular for exterior or commercial applications.
Minimal flaking is expected due to the stone's natural cleft finish.


Features one of the most naturally slip-resistant surfaces available.
Has one of the most dramatic colour variations of all natural stone, and these intense variations may even occur within the same piece of stone.
Available in many colours, but when pure it is light coloured.
Can appear to chip or flake in the first few months after installation—this will decrease over time as the layers even out.


Known for its distinctive cavities caused by water and gases percolating through the stone. These are typically filled with colourmatched cement, epoxy, or polymer resins.
Regular wear and tear can cause filling materials to come loose; maintenance may include filling in holes that appear.
Available in warm, earthy colours like walnut, cream, and ivory.

Care & Maintenance



· Most porcelain and ceramic tile is virtually impervious and does not need to be sealed (some polished porcelains need sealing due to pores being opened during the polishing process).
· If you are unsure, sprinkle water on the tile surface—if it beads and is not absorbed in, it does not need to be sealed.


· Sweep and vacuum regularly to prevent dirt from grinding into the tile surface.
· Clean your floors weekly with a pH neutral cleaner that is free of bleach, ammonia or acid.
· Make sure mops are in good working condition and that water is changed frequently. Most maintenance problems occur when dirty water is used.


· In high traffic areas, deep cleaning is suggested every 6-12 months (perhaps more often in wet areas such as showers where grease and soap build-up can accumulate).
· More textured surfaces may require use of a scrub brush for residential installations or a scrub machine for commercial installations.



· Sealing grout is very important as it is extremely porous.
· If you start noticing your grout joints darkening when they are exposed to water, it is time to reseal.


· Make sure that cleaners are pH neutral or grout compatible.
· Always clean up dirt and spills promptly to keep it from soaking into the grout.
· Using a grout compatible cleaner regularly will reduce the need for deep cleaning in the future.


· In high traffic areas, deep cleaning is suggested every 6-12 months (perhaps more often in wet areas such as showers where grease and soap build-up can accumulate).
· Avoid using cleaners with acid, bleach or ammonia.



· Stone can be very porous and may be susceptible to staining, making the sealing process extremely important.
· Sealers do not make stone water or stain proof, but instead increase its reaction time to contaminants, allowing you to clean up before the stone's surface is penetrated.
· Sealing stone before and after grouting is advisable since fine grout colour particles can stain stones


· Sealing is the most important initial step toward routine stone care.
· Spills should always be wiped up immediately—particularly anything acidic which can etch through the protective sealant barrier.
· Regularly sweep to remove dirt and debris that can damage the stone's surface and clean with a pH-neutral cleaner that does not contain acid, bleach or ammonia.
· Towel drying will help prevent streaking, especially on polished surfaces.


· In high traffic areas, deep cleaning is suggested every 6-12 months.
· Avoid using cleaners with acid, bleach or ammonia, which will etch and discolour the stone.
· Remember that stone wears naturally over time, adding to its beauty.

Stone Sealers


· Usually has no surface sheen
· Maintains natural colour of stone
· Penetrates stone to form a barrier just below the surface, making it more resistant to stains


· Type of penetrating sealer
· Darkens and enriches the natural colours of the stone, often significantly changing its appearance
· Most enhancers must be buffed off the surface after application to prevent excess sealer from clotting and tracking (enhancers cannot be removed and should be used with caution.)


· Adds a semi or high gloss finish, enhancing the natural colours of the stone
· Creates a surface coating to help repel oil and water
· Becomes the "traffic" layer and is subject to wear, therefore requiring regular maintenance

Technical Specification

Tile and stone terminology can be confusing at times. Below, we've described all the technical specification terms you might find on our website or product sheets to help you better understand our products.

Type of Tiles

To provide further explanation, Ames has created five classifications of tiles which can be sorted through our web product filter. Specifically:


Homogeneous/Full Body

Colour through body tiles; where the colour and pattern are created with the clays and run throughout the entire body of the tile. They may be polished or honed, unglazed or enhanced.

Through Body

Tiles that have the colour running throughout the body, but the pattern does not. The pattern is often created with silk screens or digital ink imprinting. This application may or may not include glazes.

Glazed Porcelain

Tiles where the colour and pattern are achieved with glazes and the body of the tile may or may not have a similar colour. In order to achieve porcelain status, the tile must have absorption of less than 0.5%

Double Pressed

Tiles where the clay is pressed twice, once to achieve the pattern and the second to create the back of the tile without the pattern.

Ceramic/Non Porcelain

Tiles where the colour and pattern are achieved with glazes and the body of the tile may or may not have a similar colour. Water absorption is greater than 0.5% and typically between 0.5% - 7%.

Type Finished
There are many types of tile finished, including:
Edge of Tile
Basically, tiles have one of two possible edges:
Rectified - Rectified tiles are ceramic or porcelain tiles that have been precisely ground and machined to give them near-perfect straight edges and exact dimensions. The most sought after feature of rectified tile is that the uniform size allows for tile to be installed with narrow grout joints.
Non-rectified – Non-rectified tiles vary slightly in size from each production run. There is no extra step to ensure precision amongst size as there is for rectified tile. Due to the size variations, wider grout joints are needed to align the tile during installation.

Suitability of tile to be used outside

Frost resistance does not equate to being frost proof! Tile suitable for exterior applications must have a very low water absorption rate of less than 0.5%, especially in climates subject to freezing and thawing cycles. Please inquire further if you're working on a project in a climate with extreme winter conditions.

IDEAL EXTERIOR PRODUCTS Porcelain with less than 0.5% water absorption, glass, and some stone
Range of colour and shading within one tile series
Differences from tile to tile are minimal
From tile to tile there are clearly distinguishable differences in texture and/or pattern with similar colours.
Amount and intensity of colour on each piece may vary significantly from tile to tile.
Variations so random that one tile may have colour totally different from another in the same series.
Wear resistance of glazed surfaces

The Porcelain Enamel Institute of America (founded 1930) developed a testing method to determine the wear resistance of glazed surfaces. This test is only for glazed tiles and does not apply to unglazed porcelain tile or other unglazed types of tile.
PEI Class 0
No foot traffic
Wall use only
PEI Class 1
Very light traffic
Bare or stocking foot traffic
PEI Class 2
Light traffic
Slipper or soft-soled shoes: second level bathrooms and bedrooms
PEI Class 3
Light to moderate traffic
Any residential area, with the exception of some entrances and kitchens if traffic is heavy
PEI Class 4
Moderate to high traffic
Residential entry, kitchen, covered balcony, and countertops; light commercial
PEI Class 5
High traffic
Any residential, commercial
Slip resistance of a tile

Static coefficient of friction is used to describe the amount of force required to cause an object (shoe sole material) to start moving across a surface (flooring material). The higher the COF number, the more non-slip the tile, but the harder it may be to clean and maintain.
North American Standards (ASTM C1028)European (ISO) Standards
<0.50 dry Questionable
0.50-0.60 dryR9Level surfaces (based on conditions)
=0.60 wet or dryR9-R12All public areas including step treads and ramp surfaces
0.80 wet or dryR12Ramp surfaces (as recommended by the American Disability Association
Mineral hardness scale

Mohs' scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. The higher the MOHS rating of a tile, the more resistant it is to wear and scratching.
TalcFingernail scratches it easily1Inexpensive sheet vinyl
GypsumFingernail scratches it2Wood flooring
CalciteCopper penny scratches it3Laminate flooring
FluoriteSteel knife scratches it easily4Black marble
ApatiteSteel knife scratches it5Glazed ceramic WALL tile
FeldsparSteel knife does not scratch it easily, but scratches glass6Glazed ceramic FLOOR tile
QuartzHardest common mineral, scratches steel and glass easily7Glazed ceramic FLOOR tile
TopazHarder than any common mineral8Unglazed porcelain
CorundumScratches topaz9Unglazed porcelain
DiamondHardest of all minerals10No flooring this hard yet!
Density of tile determined by water absorption rate

Tile suitable for exterior applications must have a very low water absorption rate, especially in climates subject to freezing and thawing cycles. The rate of water absorption should be less than 3%, but for best results an absorption rate of less than 0.5% is ideal.
MR 1Impervious <0.5%
MR 2Vitreous 0.5-3%
MR 3Semi-vitreous 3-7%
MR 4Non-vitreous >7%
CR 1Acid Proof
CR 2Acid Resistant

Lunch & Learn



Looking to learn more? Our TTMAC or CCTS Certified Ames Consultants can work with you to design a Lunch & Learn that's right for your team. Whether you have project specific questions or are simply interested in how the industry is trending, we have the answers and are eager to share them with you.

Here are just a few of the topics we cover for CEU credits - each program will earn 1 core credit for these associations: IDCEC, IDIBC, AIBC, AAA, MAA, and SAA

- Health & Welfare
- Specialty Tiles
- Tile 101
- Stone 101
- Tile & Stone Project Specification course
- Technical Specification

Contact us today for more information or to set up your very own Lunch & Learn! Click here to sign up