Tile

Mission, or barrel, roof tiles

A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, clay, stone, porcelain or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, and walls, or other objects such as tabletops. The word is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game).

Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. Tiles are most often made from ceramic, with a hard glaze finish, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, slate, and reformed ceramic slurry, which is cast in a mould and fired.


Roof tiles

Fancy Japanese roof tiles The largest (6000 m²)
wooden shingle roof
in Europe: Zakopane, Poland

Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay, slate, or wood (wooden tiles are called shingles). Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used. Some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze.

Because of their long history, a large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. These include:

  • Flat tiles - the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows. This profile is suitable for stone and wooden tiles, and most recently, solar cells.
  • Roman tiles - flat in the middle, with a concave curve at one end at a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking.
  • Pantiles - with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field.
  • Mission or barrel tiles are semi-cylindrical tiles made by forming clay around a log and laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles.

Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below.

There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles.

Floor tiles

6"x6" porcelain floor tiles

These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar consisting of sand, cement and oftentimes a latex additive for extra strength. The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout, but traditionally mortar was used.

See Laying tile

Wall tiles

Tilework on the wall of the Bond Street tube station

While ancient Roman building bricks were broader and thinner than modern ones and are therefore usually called tiles, the term wall tile is normally applied to finishing tiles. These are usually ceramic, but other materials such as mirrored glass or polished metal can be used. Wall tiles are usually glazed, and are often patterned by painting or embossing. Pictorial tiles, consisting of many tiles that the installer assembles like a jigsaw puzzle to form a single large picture, are available.

Modern wall tiles are fixed to a wall using a synthetic bonding agent tile adhesive for dry areas, or a cement-based mortar for areas prone to moisture, such as bath or shower walls. The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called unsanded grout. The excess grout is scraped off with a hard rubber block called a float immediately after applying; further, the grout is wiped again with a moist sponge before it completely hardens. The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout.

Decorative tilework

Ancient mosaic in the British Museum. Typical tilework on buildings in Santarém, Portugal.

Decorative tilework typically takes the form of mosaic upon the walls, floor, or ceiling of a building. Although decorative tilework was known and extensively practiced in the ancient world (as evidenced in the magnificent mosaics of Pompeii and Herculaneum), it perhaps reached its greatest expression during the Islamic period.

Some places, notably Portugal, have a tradition of tilework on buildings that continues today.

In the United States, decorative tiles were in vogue, especially in southern California, in the 1920s and 1930s. Prominent among art tile makers during this period was Ernest A. Batchelder.

Islamic tilework

Tilework of Hazrat Masoumeh shrine, Qom. First constructed in the late 8th century.

Perhaps because of the tenets of Moslem law (sharia) which disavow religious icons and images in favor of more abstract and universal representations of the divine, many consider decorative tilework to have reached a pinnacle of expression and detail during the Islamic period. Palaces, public buildings, and mosques were heavily decorated with dense, often massive mosaics and friezes of astonishing complexity. As both the influence and the extent of Islam spread during the Middle Ages this artistic tradition was carried along, finding expression from the gardens and courtyards of Málaga in Moorish Spain to the mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

The mathematics of tiling

Certain shapes of tiles, most obviously rectangles, can be replicated to cover a surface with no gaps. These shapes are said to tessellate (from the Latin tessera, 'tile'). For detailed information on tilings see the tessellation page.

History of tiles

Tiles were developed as a product of earthenware pottery, either as an alternative use for fragments of broken pottery (called potsherds) or as an independent invention. Tiles have been used in construction for at least 4000 years, by the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Phoenicians and many other cultures.


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Tiles have been used in construction for at least 4000 years, by the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Phoenicians and many other cultures. Notable was the popularity of political slogans and messages on T-shirts coinciding with the presidential election. Tiles were developed as a product of earthenware pottery, either as an alternative use for fragments of broken pottery (called potsherds) or as an independent invention. The story of the message tee embraces the modern phenomenon of “personal branding” (indicating, in this case, the wearer’s sense of humor), as well as a climate in which statements—political or personal—are generally preferred to be catchy than true . For detailed information on tilings see the tessellation page. The trend has only increased in this decade; embraced by celebrities, such as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and reflected back on them, too ('Team Aniston'). These shapes are said to tessellate (from the Latin tessera, 'tile'). The late 1990s saw the renewed popularity of T-shirts with slogans and designs, with a strong inclination to the humorous and/or ironic.

Certain shapes of tiles, most obviously rectangles, can be replicated to cover a surface with no gaps. Examples: Calvin Klein, FUBU, Ralph Lauren, The Gap. As both the influence and the extent of Islam spread during the Middle Ages this artistic tradition was carried along, finding expression from the gardens and courtyards of Málaga in Moorish Spain to the mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. While critics claim that wearing such logos serve only to advertise for clothing designers without being paid, brand-name T-shirts remain popular. Palaces, public buildings, and mosques were heavily decorated with dense, often massive mosaics and friezes of astonishing complexity. These garments allowed consumers to flaunt their taste in designer brands in an inexpensive way, in addition to being decorative. Perhaps because of the tenets of Moslem law (sharia) which disavow religious icons and images in favor of more abstract and universal representations of the divine, many consider decorative tilework to have reached a pinnacle of expression and detail during the Islamic period. Since the late 1980s and especially the 1990s, T-shirts with prominent brand-name logos have been popular, especially with teenagers and young adults.

Batchelder. These kind of T-shirts are still being produced and are available to buy over the internet. Prominent among art tile makers during this period was Ernest A. These were very popular in the United States as well in the late 80's among teens. In the United States, decorative tiles were in vogue, especially in southern California, in the 1920s and 1930s. This brand of T-shirt, Global Hypercolour, was a common sight on the streets of the UK for a few years, but has since mostly disappeared. Some places, notably Portugal, have a tradition of tilework on buildings that continues today. In the 1980s, thermochromatic dyes were used to produce T-shirts that changed colour when subjected to heat.

Although decorative tilework was known and extensively practiced in the ancient world (as evidenced in the magnificent mosaics of Pompeii and Herculaneum), it perhaps reached its greatest expression during the Islamic period. This can be done manually or a using semi-automated machine. Decorative tilework typically takes the form of mosaic upon the walls, floor, or ceiling of a building. These colored inks are transfered through the screen into a design on the garment. Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout. In silk screening, a design is seperated into "cmyk" or "rgb" colors and ink is transerred onto the garment through a silk screen. The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. The most common form of t-shirt printing is silk-screening.

The excess grout is scraped off with a hard rubber block called a float immediately after applying; further, the grout is wiped again with a moist sponge before it completely hardens. Laser printers are capable of printing on plain paper using a special toner containing sublimation dyes which can then be permanently heat-transferred to T-shirts. The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called unsanded grout. Other methods of decoration used on T-shirts include airbrush, applique, embroidery, and the ironing on of either flock lettering, heat transfers, or Dye sublimation transfers. Modern wall tiles are fixed to a wall using a synthetic bonding agent tile adhesive for dry areas, or a cement-based mortar for areas prone to moisture, such as bath or shower walls. Since then T-shirts have become a medium for self-expression and advertising, with any imaginable combination of words, art and even photographs on display. Pictorial tiles, consisting of many tiles that the installer assembles like a jigsaw puzzle to form a single large picture, are available. became popular.

Wall tiles are usually glazed, and are often patterned by painting or embossing. People also started to tie-dye and screen-print the basic T-shirt and variants such as the tank top, "wife beater", muscle shirt, scoop neck, V-neck etc. These are usually ceramic, but other materials such as mirrored glass or polished metal can be used. In the 1960s, the Ringer T-shirt appeared and became a staple fashion for youth and rock-n-rollers. While ancient Roman building bricks were broader and thinner than modern ones and are therefore usually called tiles, the term wall tile is normally applied to finishing tiles. The T-shirt became cool when James Dean wore it in the film Rebel Without a Cause.. See Laying tile
. At first the public was shocked but by 1955 it had become acceptable.

The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout, but traditionally mortar was used. John Wayne, Marlon Brando and James Dean all wore them on national TV. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar consisting of sand, cement and oftentimes a latex additive for extra strength. After WWII the T-shirt started appearing without a shirt covering it. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. Army and Navy. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. During WWII the T-shirt had become standard issue underwear in both the U.S.

These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. Since they were so much more comfortable they quickly became popular among the Americans, and because of their design they got the name T-shirt. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles. The idea of the T-shirt came to the USA during WWI when US soldiers noticed the light cotton undershirts European soldiers were using while the US soldiers sweated in their wool uniforms. There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. . The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below. They are typically made of cotton or polyester fibers (or a mix of the two), knitted together in a jersey stitch that gives a T-shirt its distinctive soft texture.

Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. T-shirts are manufactured by the textile industry. These include:. T-shirts are often decorated with text and/or pictures. Because of their long history, a large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. T-shirt fashions include styles for men and women, and for all age groups, including baby, youth and adult sizes. Some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze. A more recent trend in women's clothing involves tight-fitting "cropped" T-shirts that are short enough to reveal the lower abdomen including the belly button.

Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used. A T-shirt typically extends to the waist, although one fashion is for "oversized" T-shirts. Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay, slate, or wood (wooden tiles are called shingles). This still occurs, but T-shirts are now also frequently worn as the only piece of clothing on the top half of the body (except that women usually wear a bra beneath it). . T-shirts were originally worn as undershirts.
. There are also long-sleeved T-shirt and sleeveless T-shirt variants.

Tiles are most often made from ceramic, with a hard glaze finish, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, slate, and reformed ceramic slurry, which is cast in a mould and fired. A T-shirt (or tee shirt) is a shirt, usually buttonless, collarless and pocketless, with a round neck and short sleeves, pulled on over the head. Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. ISBN 087905686X.. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game). The T-Shirt Book, Gibbs Smith Publisher. The word is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay. Scott Fresener, Earl Smith, Nancy Hall (1995).

Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, and walls, or other objects such as tabletops. A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, clay, stone, porcelain or even glass. Mission or barrel tiles are semi-cylindrical tiles made by forming clay around a log and laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field.

Pantiles - with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. Roman tiles - flat in the middle, with a concave curve at one end at a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking. This profile is suitable for stone and wooden tiles, and most recently, solar cells. Flat tiles - the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows.

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