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Posted on December 18, 2013 by Frank John Garcia in Tile

Rectified Tile Can Create a Unique Look

Boardwalk by Mediterranea

Remodeling your home and making your dream kitchen or bath a reality is an exciting project that also involves making many decisions. Whether you love sleek modern minimalism or prefer the old-fashioned warmth of more traditional interiors, the flooring you choose will quite literally be the foundation of your design.

Among the dozens of flooring options available, ceramic and porcelain tiles offer an unbeatable and affordable range of color, texture and size, making it possible to use a red-hot large-format tile or achieve an asymmetrical look without the cost and maintenance associated with natural stone. If you’re ready to go with one of these endlessly adaptable materials, you now also have the option of choosing rectified tile for a cleaner look.

What is Rectified Tile?

The word “rectify” means “to make right” and when it comes to tile, right means straight, consistent and true to the intended size. Tiles naturally shrink during the firing process, and ideally they would all shrink equally. Unfortunately, that’s seldom true. About a decade ago, manufacturers developed a process to abrade (or grind down) the edges of fired tiles to guarantee uniform sizing. Rectified tiles have less variation than standard tiles and as a result, they create a smooth, seamless look that can mimic the appearance of natural stone.

Why Choose Rectified Tile?

Rectified tiles allow contractors to use a smaller grout joint than is necessary with standard tiles. Less grout adds up to a flatter, smoother floor with nearly unnoticeable borders between tiles. Thick grout lines tend to discolor, darken and stain with time. A narrow joint yields a crisp, clean floor that looks its best for years.  The Boardwalk by Mediterranea image on this page is a great example of this because the smaller grout size between tiles allows the porcelain wood planks to look more authentic.

Before choosing rectified tile, there are a few things to consider:

  • The condition of your floor. Rectified tiles work best on level surfaces. Prepping an uneven subfloor surface with mud mixtures or self-leveling compounds can help the contractor attain the tightest joint possible.
  • Natural warpage in the bisque (body) of the tile. Almost all tile warps slightly during the firing process. The larger or longer the tile, the greater the potential for warping. Larger grout joints may be necessary to correct this issue.
  • The experience of your contractor. Always choose a professional with a successful record of using rectified tile to obtain the best result.

Pro Tip:

Although using rectified tile can allow skilled contractors to achieve a tighter grout joint, the narrowest acceptable width will depend on many factors, including the flatness of the floor, any warping of the tile, and of course the manufacturer’s suggestions.

In general, it’s not recommended to use a joint smaller than 1/8” with rectified tile. Smaller joints are almost impossible to completely fill with grout, and 1/8” is wide enough to include movement joints filled with sealant that will match the rest of the floor. Butt joints are never acceptable, and joints smaller than 1/8” can cause problems with lippage and damage to the edges of the tiles.

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