Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

What are the different types of tiles?


Wall and Floor Ceramic tiles are made from clay, pressed, glazed, then fired in a kiln at high temperatures.  The finished surface glaze gives a tile its unique colour and pattern. This glaze can be glossy, matt or in some cases contain ‘grit’ to make a tile more slip resistant.

More than most other surface covering materials, tiles keep looking good for a lot longer thanks to their resilient nature. Being hard and strong and having low porosity (especially glazed products) means that tiles resist scratching and withstand the wear and tear of everyday traffic better than most other materials.  They are also hygienic/non-allergenic and generally easy to clean and maintain.  Not to mention other benefits like having high stain resistance, don’t fade and are fire and static resistant.


Refers to ceramic tiles that are made from finer clays, with a higher silica content. Porcelain tiles have added ingredients to give superior density and strength. They are pressed under greater pressure and fired at higher temperatures.  Consequently they tend to be stronger, less porous, more resilient products than traditional wall tiles or glazed ceramic floor tiles.  Porcelain tiles are sometimes also referred to as “vitrified” (because of their “glass like” nature).  They may be glazed with a matt, gloss, or textured finish. Or unglazed porcelain tiles may be matt, textured or polished. Porcelain tiles have long been used in commercial and industrial applications, but have become a highly desired product also in residential applications, not only because of their inherent strength and durability, but also because of the aesthetic beauty of these products, upmarket appeal and resemblance to natural stone without the maintenance.  Tilers may charge more to lay porcelain tiles because they are harder to cut than ceramic tiles and require the use of more expensive diamond blades and tools. Also, many porcelain tiles are “rectified” and can be laid with a minimal grout join of 1.5mm as per Australian Standards, which requires more care and precision. (Please refer to “What is rectified?”)

  • Full Bodied Porcelain – refers to unglazed porcelain tiles that carries the colour and pattern throughout the entire thickness of the tile.  These tiles have traditionally been used in heavy commercial and industrial environments where there is a higher risk of chipping.  They are also a great choice where you will be seeing the profile (Eg; bullnoses for stairs or pool coping.)
  • Double Loaded (or “Double Charged”) Porcelain – is a variation of the full bodied product where two layers of a porcelain tile have been fused together under pressure and heat to create a tile that has most of the technical qualities of a full bodied porcelain but at a reduced cost.  The colour and pattern generally only goes to around a third of the thickness of the tile.
  • Natural Stone: Marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, bluestone, and slate are quarried from the earth. Natural stone may be available in various finished surfaces- such as: polished, honed, matt or textured. Each piece is unique. Some stones are extremely hard, and some quite soft. Some are porous and may require sealing.

What are “Rectified Tiles”?

Rectified tiles are machine cut after their manufacture (by water or laser jet) to give the tiles a 90 degree angle square edge. This gives the tile a “slab like” minimal look and is often desired for aesthetic purposes, as grout lines are less obvious. However, more time, effort and skill is required when laying rectified products to ensure the best end result (& consequently there may be higher installation costs).

Do I need to seal my tiles?

Glazed products are already stain proof and generally do not require sealing and are consequently a popular choice for residential situations (especially bathrooms) as they are easy to clean and maintain. You may apply penetrating sealer on your unglazed tiles or your grout joints. The penetrating sealer is an invisible, stain resistant shield that is absorbed into the surface.

Some unglazed products have a surface treatment during the final stages of manufacturing which penetrates the surface pores and assists in resisting staining.  However some products – especially polished porcelains where small “micropores” have been created during the polishing process – may require sealing to protect against staining.  Most of our porcelain does not require a sealer. It is recommended to seal natural stones and terracotta products. There is a choice available of penetrating, satin or gloss finish sealers. Our staff can guide you with selecting the right sealer for your situation.

Tiling/Tools checklist?

  • Adhesive- choose the right adhesive for your job
  • Waterproof membrane (if tiling wet areas)
  • Grout- we can help you select a colour to either blend or contrast your tiles
  • Grout and tile sealers
  • Silicone- use only premium quality mould resistant silicone
  • Trowel/ adhesive spreader
  • Grout spreader/ squeegee
  • Tile cutters/Wet saw/nippers/ hole cutters for taps/ tile drills/ diamond blades/ tile file)
  • Bucket (for mixing adhesive/ grout)
  • Sponge/ cleaning cloth
  • Spirit Level/ tape measure and chalk line for setting out.

Can I tile over existing tiles?

Yes, providing that the existing tiles are firmly bonded to the existing background and have no damp/moisture. You will have to clean the existing tiling thoroughly and degrease them before fixing the new tiles. There are two options; firstly, 80 percent of the existing tile surface will need to be abraded before applying the adhesive. Secondly, a primer/bond enhancer can be applied to existing tiles prior to applying the adhesive.

Ensure that you use the correct primer and adhesive when tiling over existing tiles. Ask our staff for a recommendation in light of your specific situation.

What is a “Vitrified” tile?

A dictionary would define the word “Vitrify” as: To change or make into glass or a glassy substance, especially through heat fusion.

A vitrified tile is a tile which has been processed in such a way that it has very low porosity (and water absorption) which make it stain resistant and very strong.

What are ‘seconds’ tiles?

These tiles are graded as second quality by the manufacturers in that they do not meet the International standards. They are tiles that may exhibit small surface imperfections, (Eg: pinpricks, rough edges, colour or size variations)

What is shade/batch variation?

Tiles boxes display a ‘batch number,’ which indicates the items specific production run. As with most products, tiles may vary in shade, colour, size and appearance from batch to batch. Variations occur as a result of many variables (ingredients, dyes, temperatures both within the kiln and outside air temperatures etc all can influence the end result.)

Consequently, it is important to buy all you need at one time. It also means that if you are buying large quantities, we will ensure that you are being given the one batch. If you require extra tiles to complete your job, we recommend bringing in the original box to match the exact batch.

We want you to be happy with the end result of your tiling.  To ensure this we recommend you check boxes delivered all display the same shade/tone/reference numbers. Laying constitutes acceptance of the product so it is important to identify any issues prior to laying.

Many tiles are manufactured to exhibit varying degrees of pattern variation (colour, tone, texture) within a batch. This is an aesthetic characteristic of tiles aimed to achieve a more natural and random appearance. Some tiles display an arrow on the underside to help you lay the tiles in the right direction to help bring out the pattern. Check you are happy with the colour, size and quality of the products delivered – under international manufacturing standards, variations are allowed in terms of sizing, surface imperfections, curvature etc.  However it is important that you are happy with the end result so we urge you and your tiler to check 2-3 boxes prior to laying as laying constitutes acceptance of the product.

What is “Nano Finish”?

Nano technology refers to a factory treatment that seals porcelain tiles. A nano-level stable protective structure is formed on the surface of the tiles. This technology means your tiles will NOT stain and do NOT require sealing.

Can I pick up my order directly? Will someone help me load car?

Yes, absolutely. When picking up your order, please consider that a maximum of 15-20 m2 can be safely transported in a normal vehicle due to the weight.  For larger orders, we recommend the use of a commercial vehicle or a trailer. Our staff can advise you of the total weight of your order.

Does Uptiles do Tile Installations?

We do not do tile installations. However, we have excellent contacts with tradesmen and can recommend a specialist in the different fields (Eg. bathrooms/porcelain/stone laying/outdoor paving.)

Do you measure and quote?

Yes. At Uptiles we are happy to measure and quote from your plans. We can provide an accurate quote based on all your tile and material needs.

Which adhesive do I need?

There are numerous brands of adhesive on the market and each brand has several different adhesives designed for specific purposes and uses on different substrates. For example, concrete floors require a different adhesive to cement sheeting, as does glass, porcelain tiles, timber floors, waterproof membranes and some substrates where lots of movement is anticipated. Our knowledgeable staff will advise the best adhesive to use for your job. Uptiles recommends only the best and most reputable products on the market.

How much wastage?

When working out quantities required it is advisable to allow an additional 10-15% of the area being tiled.  This covers wastage when cutting and allows you to retain a box or more of spare tiles to ensure that, in the event that the tiles suffer any damage in the future, you can replace them with the same shade.  Every production run results in different shades and, even if you can still source the same tile down the track, it is most likely to be from a different shade which may be noticeably different.

DISCLAIMER:  The information provided here is intended as a general guide only.  For more specific instructions or issues please make sure that you make your own enquiries or discuss further with your Uptiles consultant.