Glossary of Industry Terms



Taber Abrader

An instrument used to test the abrasion resistance of a material.


All utensils and decorative articles used on the table for meal service. (ASTM C 242).

Take-off man

Someone who can read blueprints and is familiar with the specifications. This person makes tracings of special details concerning the tilework after gathering the necessary information and then estimates the labor, materials, tile quantities, and special trim shapes needed to complete the job.

Tapping tile

An inspection technique whereby a coin, key, or other small metallic object is tapped against an installed tile to determine by sound whether the tile is completely bonded to its hacking. Tilesetters often tap the tile with a pointing trowel to determine that a good bond has been achieved. (TCA)

Tensile strength

The pulling force necessary to break a given specimen divided by the cross sectional area. Units given in lbsdin2 (P.S.I.). It measures the resistance of a material to stretching without rupture. Normally is not used with reference to elastic materials which recover after elongation.

Terra cotta

Hard baked clayware, including tile, of variable color, averaging; reddish red-yellow in hue and of high saturation. (CTI)

Terra sigillata

A porous, red clay ware characterized by embossed decorations of the same color and a satin-like unglazed surface. Originated on the Island of Samos. (ASTM C 242).

Terrazzo concrete

See Concrete, terrazzo.

Terrazzo tile

A terrazzo surface, on a portlandl cement and sand body, made by a mixture of marble chips and portland cement and usually ground smooth. (CTI)

Tessara, tessarae

A small chip of glass or marble used in mosaic formations. (CTI)


A trial, examination, observation, or evaluation used as a means of measuring a physical or chemical characteristics of a material, or a physical characteristic of a structural element or a structure.

Testing of ceramic tile

The act of determining whether ceramic tile are acceptable. See Physical properties of ceramic tile.

Testing machine

A device for applying test conditions and accurately measuring results.
Thermal conductivity. Ability of a material to conduct heat; physical constant for quantity of heat that passes through unit volume of a substance in unit of time when difference in temperature of two opposite faces is one degree.


A term used to describe the bonding of tile with suitable materials applied approximately 1/8″‘ thick. See also Dry-Set mortar.

Tie wire

The 18-gauge galvanized wire used in construction work.


A ceramic surfacing unit, usually relatively thin in relation to facial area, made from clay or a mixture of clay and other ceramic materials, called the body of the tile, having either a glazed or unglazed face and fired above red heat in the course of manufacture to a temperature sufficiently high to produce specific physical properties and characteristics. (ASTM C 242).
Tile assemblies. See definition for Mounted tile.

Tile cutter

The tile cutter is one of the most efficient and economical tools in the tilesetting trade. A popular model is the hand-drawn tile cutting board that is adjustable.

Tile, mounted

Tile assembled into units or sheets and bonded together to facilitate handling. (TCA) Back-mounted tile. Mounted tile with perforated paper, fiber mesh, or other suitable bonding material applied to the backs or edges of the tile so that a relatively large proportion of tile area i5 exposed to the setting bed.

Face-mounted tile

Mounted tile with paper applied to the faces of the tile. The water-soluble adhesive can be removed easily prior to ‘grouting of the joints.

Tin Oxide (Sn OQ)

In finely ground form used in glazes as an opacifier.

Titania porcelain

A vitreous ceramic whiteware for technical application in which titania (TiO,) is the essential crystalline phase. (ASTM C 242).

Titania whiteware

Any ceramic whiteware in which titania (TiO,) is the essential crystalline phase. (ASTM C 242).

Trammel bar

A trammel bar, which is easy to construct, is more accurate than many other layout tools. It is used to erect perpendicular lines and to bisect angles. The tilesetter can make a trammel bar from a stick of a sire that is suitable for the particular job.

Trial batch

A batch of concrete prepared to establish or check proportions of the constituents.


Units of various shapes consisting of such items as bases, caps, corners, mouldings, angles, etc., necessary or desirable to make a complete installation and to achieve sanitary purposes as well as architectural design for all types of tile work. (ASTM C 242).

Tongue and groove

A type of lumber or precast concrete pile having mated projecting and grooved edges to provide a tight fit, abbreviated “T & G.”