Tile can be one of the most complex of built-environment specs, so knowledge of current and advanced technologies and best practices in specification is a key to success in every project. In the architectural community Mosa is known for unparalleled support in the specification process of their high-tech porcelain tile. The company has now put together a handy checklist of 10 top considerations in specifying tile for contract installations:
What is required?
Consider the sector, usage, traffic, substrate conditions and placement of the tile within the project. Is it a wet area? A food service area? Will it get vehicle traffic? Is it outdoors? This all needs to be kept in mind because it could have serious side effects should the wrong tile be specified.
What is available?
A world of tile is available to designers, but only certain tiles will meet or exceed industry standards for performance required in most contract applications. Within the category of performance tile, gather the possible options. Then consider what you will need to complete the design. Find out what is offered for transitions, for stair treads and so forth. There’s no frustration like showing your client a tile and then discovering you can't make it work in your design because there’s no way to end or begin something.
Consult the product brochure
Tile is one of the areas of design where manufacturers and showrooms are compelled to list all of the technical data and third-party testing in their brochures. Most can be found online as downloadable pdfs. This will be the most useful reference for an individual tile. Mosa also offers brochures by segment , outlining the various considerations for specific building segments.
Determine aesthetic values
This is always at the top of any spec list, but becomes critical in a material that will literally be cemented into place and is likely to outlast most other elements of the design.
Determine structural integrity
Researching the substrate is important whether it is renovation or new construction. Rigid substrates provide a solid foundation while surfaces such as stair landings and suspended walkways require a tile that is superior in strength. Check on the breaking strength, modulus of rupture, abrasion resistance, bond adhesion and other performance characteristics of the tile you will be specifying and make sure it is sufficient for the location of the installation.
Confirm verifiable technical data
The ASTM manual is the best place to double check that what you find in the brochure actually meets or exceeds industry standards. Mosa tiles meet or exceed industry standards across the board.
Determine product characteristics
Slip-resistance, freeze-thaw endurance, product durability and practicality of the area you will use it and many other desirable characteristics will also be listed in the product brochure.
Review installation recommendations
Check in with your showroom, tile representative or directly with the experts that make your tile. They should be a font of information regarding best practices in installation.
Determine required maintenance schedule
Does the usage require a fast-drying tile, such as in spaces that are open 24-hours? Look for one with the least surface absorption. Also consider tile that is meticulously rectified to allow for the smallest grout joints, which are the areas that require the most maintenance.
Review sustainability considerations
If you are designing for certification with LEED, the internationally recognized certification system for the design, construction and use of green buildings, when selecting building materials look for third party seals such as membership in the Green Building and Design Council, and consult product brochures. Mosa tiles contribute to LEED certification, as the tiles are Cradle to Cradle Silver Certified.
Mosa Magazine provides news and inspiration for designing with tile; the articles are not intended as technical documents.