Helpful information on everything from industry terms to tile benefits and design tips
For centuries, artisans and builders have chosen tile for its natural durability, beauty and versatility. Today, the tile industry employs advanced manufacturing processes to transform the basic elements of clay, fire and water into this unique surfacing material. At Crossville, our responsible product development, efficient manufacturing and environmentally sustainable practices ensure our tile maintains its innate advantages while constantly achieving more varied, versatile looks, styles and sizes for a broadening range of applications and inspired designs.
We’re always happy to provide answers and technical information to help you choose the right Crossville tile for your project. Contact us
About Porcelain Tile
Porcelain tile is a kind of ceramic tile. To be classified as ‘porcelain,’ a tile must meet certain standards of strength and moisture resistance. The body of porcelain tile is typically made from the same or similar raw materials as traditional ceramic, but in different proportions. Porcelain is also fired at higher temperatures than other ceramic tile. This powerful combination creates tile with heightened strength and minimal water absorption (less than 0.5%), allowing it to outperform even real granite. All Crossville porcelain tile is certified by the PTCA as meeting genuine porcelain standards.
Because of its advanced durability and moisture resistance, many porcelain tile lines are strong enough for the most demanding commercial applications. Porcelain withstands heavy foot traffic, is impenetrable to water and stains, and holds up to extreme temperatures beautifully.
All tile products are tested and rated based on the variety of factors below, making it easy to find the right product for every application.
- Breaking Strength: The strength of porcelain comes from unique clays, fired at extreme temperatures, which produce a harder, denser tile for unmatched durability and performance. Breaking strength is assessed by how much weight is needed to cause breakage. Porcelain tile surpasses the industry standard for breaking strength.
- Mohs: This is a scale of hardness, ranging from 1 (talc) to 10 (diamond). It’s used to determine a material’s scratch resistance. Porcelain tile often has a rating of 6, 7, 8 or 9; while other, less scratch-resistant, non-porcelain tiles are rated at 4 or 5. On the Mohs scale, each rating is 10 times harder than the previous number. For example, natural granite is usually rated 6 or 7, so a Crossville Porcelain Stone® tile with a rating of 9 is actually up to 30 times harder than natural granite.
- Water Absorption: Water absorption is expressed as the percentage of water absorbed by the body of the tile. Porcelain tile is ideal for wet-area applications such as tub surrounds, showers, etc., because it is impervious to water—with a rating of 0.5% absorption or less. The more impervious the tile, the more frost-resistant, meaning it can be used outdoors. Check product specifications for details and recommendations for use.
- Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF): Dynamic Coefficient of Friction is the latest, most reliable measure for indicating COF on a tile’s surface. Porcelain tile must have a DCOF of 0.42 for “level interior floors expected to be walked upon when wet” (as stated by the Tile Council of North America). Crossville provides a comprehensive DCOF chart for all of its products.
- Shade Variation: The color, texture and other details of porcelain tile may vary from piece to piece and from production run to production run. While manufacturers often have proprietary methods for conveying the anticipated variation for tile products, most use terms such as “low shade variation” for very little color or design change from tile to tile and “high shade variation” to denote dramatic differences from tile to tile. It’s important to be aware of shade variation prior to installation to avoid surprises. Working from multiple boxes of tile is recommended to achieve a favorable mix. Crossville’s shade variation ratings range from V1, for Uniform Appearance, to V4, for Substantial Variation.
- Through-body: This refers to the presence of color throughout the thickness of a tile. Typically, unglazed coordinating-body tiles are the only tiles that can be fully polished.
Crossville offers products suited for indoor and outdoor (including exterior cladding), horizontal and vertical, and wet and dry applications—giving you a full range of residential and commercial options. Specifications and recommendations for use vary by product; consult individual product pages for details.
Crossville porcelain tile offers countless customizable options for any inspired design. Our tile collections come in rich color palettes and textures, an array of sizes and assorted decorative options to suit any space and style. Tile’s flexibility and modularity invite unique patterning and creative, fully customized installations that lend unmatched ambiance—and value—to design projects.
Tile for Exterior Use
Many porcelain tile products are suitable for outdoor installation, thanks to their advanced properties of strength and moisture resistance. Tile with proper performance qualities is excellent for use on patios, decks or walkways, or even as exterior cladding for buildings. The design opportunities are immense, as designers can play with texture, colors and sizes to customize exteriors as effortlessly as they would interior spaces.
Along with finishing touches of trim and decorative accents, tile and porcelain slabs make a lovely and durable wall covering. We offer a range of Crossville wall tile selections to suit any style.
Mosaics are a bold, beautiful way to cover walls with colorful, artful patterns and pictures, allowing designers to mix and match colors and finishes for truly custom looks. Mosaic tiles with proper slip resistance properties can be applied to wet-area flooring to provide more traction, and a pop of patterned style.
Indoor Air Quality
Tile promotes better indoor air quality, as it does not trap allergens like dust, pet hair and pollen. It cleans quickly and easily with minimal maintenance or harsh chemicals, making it an excellent choice for commercial environments such as hotels, schools, healthcare facilities, or anywhere there’s heavy traffic and the need for ongoing cleaning.
Crossville’s porcelain tile collections promote a cleaner, greener environment inside and out, thanks to our industry-leading, companywide commitment to eco-responsible practices and products. Learn more about our environmentally friendly Hydrotect Surface
Technology, green certifications, tile recycling and other Sustainability initiatives, and discover what makes Crossville the most beautifully responsible choice in tile design.
Style & Design
Crossville’s porcelain tile collections reflect the latest in distinctive design—often looking ahead to future trends. Our products combine brilliant-to-subtle colors, a multitude of sizes and beautifully crafted decorative details to offer diverse and near-limitless installation opportunities.
Large-format tiles, like our sought-after Laminam by Crossville line, are extremely popular in today’s décor. Many of Crossville’s products are available in larger sizes—up to 24 x 24 tiles and 12 x 36 planks. The beauty of large-format tile is that it creates an open field with fewer grout lines. Whether tiling a small bathroom or a very large space such as a lobby or school dining hall, large-format tiles create a feeling of natural, unbroken space.
Today’s tiles come in an incredible array of colors and color palettes. From neutral and subdued, to bold and opulent, Crossville offers a shade for every mood, space and style.
With more options than ever before, it’s even more important to consider some key elements when selecting tile color:
- Does the space have natural, overhead or ambient lighting? Cooler tones may look harsh in artificial lighting, while limited lighting may dull a vibrant color.
- Is this a high traffic area? Heavy traffic areas may not be best suited for lighter, low-variation tiles, or very dark tiles that may show dust.
- What other elements exist in the room’s décor? Is there wallpaper, lots of furniture or a dominant color scheme? Softer, neutral tones may provide the right contrast to busy patterns on walls or upholstery, creating a more open feel for the room. Deep colors may add warmth to a large space, or help to showcase light wood furniture or fabrics.
Tile patterns mix colors and sizes to achieve clever designs that instantly customize an environment. Custom patterns are easy to create using contrasting light and dark tiles, or contrasting finishes—especially when using Crossville’s Design Tools for floor patterns, backsplashes and more. Framing the tile flooring with a border of mosaics or liners gives a clever, area-rug effect. Mixing modular sizes adds an unexpected touch of whimsy. The pattern possibilities are nearly endless.