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. Tupperware remains a strong brand name and is still sold through parties as well as kiosks in shopping malls and, in the USA, online. 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. Since that revelation, there has been a resurgence of interest in Tupperware in the United Kingdom, after the company had closed its UK operations some years prior. For detailed information on tilings see the tessellation page. In 2003 it was revealed by a reporter for London's Daily Mirror newspaper, posing as a domestic servant in Buckingham Palace, that Queen Elizabeth II's breakfast cereal is stored in Tupperware. These shapes are said to tessellate (from the Latin tessera, 'tile'). Australia.

Certain shapes of tiles, most obviously rectangles, can be replicated to cover a surface with no gaps. Mexico 5. 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. USA 4. Palaces, public buildings, and mosques were heavily decorated with dense, often massive mosaics and friezes of astonishing complexity. France 3. 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. Germany 2.

Batchelder. Tupperware is sold in almost 100 countries in the world, the top five consumers of Tupperware being: 1. Prominent among art tile makers during this period was Ernest A. The company are pioneers in food storage, their products being considered state-of-the-art in terms of design and functionality. In the United States, decorative tiles were in vogue, especially in southern California, in the 1920s and 1930s. After experiencing a slump in sales and public image in the mid-1990's, the company created several new product ranges to attract a younger market, re-focusing not only on performance and durability but also on aesthetics. Some places, notably Portugal, have a tradition of tilework on buildings that continues today. The company is best known for its plastic bowls and storage containers, however in recent years have branched out into almost every aspect of kitchenware, including stainless steel cookware, fine cutlery and high-quality chef's knives.

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. Most of their products come with a lifetime guarantee. Decorative tilework typically takes the form of mosaic upon the walls, floor, or ceiling of a building. Tupperware employs state-of-the-art research and development techniques, and as such their product line is known for its innovation, functionality and quality. Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout. A key to the company's continued growth is that new demonstrators can join the business with no cash outlay, their initial product kit being repaid from commission from their first few parties. The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. Distributorships are usually run by a Tupperware demonstrator and his or her spouse, and a Distributor's role differs significantly from a Demonstrator's or Managers in that they are no longer responsible for selling product, with their role existing to train, lead and support their sales force.

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. Tupperware demonstrators are organised in a multi-level marketing structure with salespeople at the bottom, managers over them, and distributors at the top level, however Tupperware differs significantly from most multi-level marketing companies in that high-level managers must be invited by the company before becoming a distributor, as distributorship opportunities are limited and controlled by the company. The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called unsanded grout. Tupperware hosts are rewarded with free products based on the level of sales made at their party, and usually receive a gift valued between 15-30% of their party's retail sales. 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. An original Tupperware party was run by a Tupperware lady (so named due to the high prevalence of women) in the home of a host who invited friends and neighbours into her home to see the product line. Pictorial tiles, consisting of many tiles that the installer assembles like a jigsaw puzzle to form a single large picture, are available. It is believed that Tupper objected to the expenses incurred by the jubilee (and other similar) celebrations of Tupperware, and somewhat to Wise's style.

Wall tiles are usually glazed, and are often patterned by painting or embossing. In 1958, Earl Tupper fired Brownie Wise over general difference of opinion in the Tupperware business operation. These are usually ceramic, but other materials such as mirrored glass or polished metal can be used. The tradition of Tupperware's "Jubilee" style events continues to this day, with rallies being held in major cities to recognise and reward top-selling demonstrators, managers and distributorships. 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. Tupperware was known, at a time when women came back from working during World War II only to be told to "go back to the kitchen", as a method of empowering women, and giving them a toehold in the post-war business world. See Laying tile
. During the early 1950s, Tupperware's sales and popularity exploded, thanks in large part to Wise's influence, cult of personality among women who sold Tupperware, and some of the famous "jubilees" celebrating the success of Tupperware ladies at lavish and outlandishly themed parties.

The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout, but traditionally mortar was used. Brownie Wise (1913-1992), a former sales representative of Stanley Home Products, developed the strategy. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar consisting of sand, cement and oftentimes a latex additive for extra strength. Tupperware pioneered the direct marketing strategy made famous by the Tupperware party. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. The formerly patented "burping seal" is a famous aspect of Tupperware, which distinguished it from competitors. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. Tupperware was developed in 1945 by Earl Tupper (1907-1983) and consisted of plastic containers used in households to contain food and keep it airtight.

These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. Tupperware is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tupperware Brands Corporation. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles. Products are developed, manufactured, and internationally distributed by its parent company Tupperware Brands Corporation and marketed by means of direct selling through an independent sales force of approximately 1.9 million. There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. Debuting in 1946, the Tupperware branded products are a line of durable home products including preparation, storage, and serving products for the kitchen and home. 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.

Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. These include:. Because of their long history, a large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. Some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze.

Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used. 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). .
.

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. Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. 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 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.

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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