When many homeowners prepare to update their flooring or to choose flooring for a new construction home, they closely analyze the benefits and features of ceramic versus porcelain flooring products. While research and understanding in this area is important to your flooring decision, you also need to choose between rectified and unrectified tile. Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are available in normal finish and a rectified finish. Unrectified products may also be described as soft-edged or pillow-edged. The rectification process affects the finished look of the installed tiles, so it must be taken into account when you choose new flooring for your home.
What Is Rectified Tile?
Through the standard manufacturing processes for ceramic and porcelain tiles, up to 1.5 percent variation in size may occur from piece to piece. This is a minor variation that has minimal impact on your flooring project in many cases. A professional flooring installer will adjust his or her techniques and processes to account for this variation and to create a beautiful finished product that lives up to your expectations. However, there are instances when this minor variation in tile sizes can have a detrimental effect on the finished product.
When precision matters, choosing rectified tile is essential. Rectification is synonymous with correction or refinement. Through the rectification process, the flooring manufacturer takes a few additional steps after the firing process to address or to correct these natural size variations. This may include sanding, grinding or machining the tiles to perfection. Because of this, a rectified tile is considered to be a product with a finished edge.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Rectified Tile
The precise edges of rectified tile enable the flooring materials to be installed very close together. In fact, with this type of finished edge, it may appear as though there is no grout line present at all if a grout color with a close match to the tile’s color was selected. When most people think about installed porcelain or ceramic flooring, they think about tiles placed approximately one-eighth of an inch apart from each other, but there is variation to this. The thickness of the grout between the porcelain or ceramic pieces as well as the color selected dramatically impacts the final look that is achieved. However, the option of rectified tile enables the pieces to be placed as close as a few millimeters apart. This may seem like a minor difference, but it results in an almost-seamless look as opposed to a delineated or checkered look with thicker grout lines.
While rectified ceramic or porcelain tile flooring has an important aesthetic benefit that may make it ideal for use in some areas of your home, it does come with a few notable drawbacks. For example, because of the additional finishing step required to produce rectified flooring materials, these products are generally more expensive than soft-edged products. More than that, the equipment used in the rectification process can only be used for larger materials. In fact, most rectified tile products are the same dimensions regardless of the manufacturer, and there is only slight deviation in this area. If you need or want to use smaller materials, rectification is not available to you.
When to Choose Rectified Tile
Understanding when to install rectified porcelain or ceramic tile flooring versus cloud-edged tile can help you to narrow down the possible options for your upcoming project. Because rectified tile is only available in larger sizes, the best time to choose this material is when larger tiles are needed or desired. This is often for a large tile flooring project, such as throughout a large basement, kitchen or living area. Many people prefer to install smaller tiles in a bathroom because of the visual impact of grout lines. However, rectified tile with minimal grout lines may be suitable for smaller rooms as well. Keep in mind that rectified tile can also be used in other locations throughout the home. For example, if you prefer smaller grout lines and a seamless look in your shower or tub surround or as your kitchen backsplash, a rectified tile product may be a smart idea. Because these are larger tiles, however, they should be selected and used with care.
The Need for Professional Installation
Soft-edged tile products are more resistant to chipping than sharp-edged or rectified tile products. Therefore, the installation techniques for open-facing edges of rectified porcelain or ceramic flooring should be refined to reduce the likelihood of chipping. In addition, tile installation using fine grout lines requires exceptional skill and superior craftsmanship. If you have selected rectified tile to enjoy the benefit of fine grout lines, understand that this is not a do-it-yourself project that is suitable for most homeowners. More than that, even some professional installers do not have experience with this type of grout. Professional installation from an experienced crew is essential.
Even with the rectification process, tile dimensions still may not all be uniform. With fine grout lines, these small variations and imperfections can be very noticeable. Experienced flooring installation crews can account for minute variations in skilled ways to achieve the flawless look that you desire. Any installation company that you select for your rectified tile project should have profound experience with this type of work for the best results.