Ceramic is a material needed for the design of many different products and has been incredibly important throughout time, serving a variety of purposes. Ceramic materials have been used as early as 24,000 BC, predating agriculture by thousands of years. These had entirely aesthetic purposes, being used for figurines, but were later used for stylish pottery that acted as water vessels. They were also fashioned into tiles throughout prehistory, much like they are today. The most recent major development in the lifetime of ceramics occurred in the second half of the Nineteenth Century, when ceramic materials were adapted for electrical insulation.
Ceramic tiles in buildings enhance the attractiveness of those buildings. They do not significantly insulate the heat of a building, but they can cover up anything visually unappealing that is improving the R-value of the structure, such as fiberglass. Even though they are often misconceived as being naturally waterproof, they do not actually bear this quality, requiring glazing to make them less porous. Despite the fact that these tiles might not be serving a practical structural purpose, it is still essential that they maintain the best quality so that they do not degrade or take away from the overall completeness of the walls where they are placed.
ANSI A137.1:2019: American National Standards Specifications for Ceramic Tile classifies different kinds of ceramic tiles by their shapes, sizes, and grades. It also indicates the proper way to assess the ability for the tiles to resist water after they are properly glazed. The standard defines a tile as “a ceramic surfacing unit, usually relatively thin in relation to facial area, having either a glazed or unglazed face and fired above red heat in the course of manufacture to a temperature sufficiently high to produce specific physical properties and characteristics”. It provides information related to understanding ceramic tile for manufacturers, retailers, and even consumers.
ANSI A137.1:2019 was published by the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), an ANSI-accredited nonprofit that develops standards for the tile industry. It has several other standards relating to ceramic and glass tiles. These include:
ANSI A137.2:2013: American National Standard Specifications for Glass Tile
ANSI A138.1:2012: Green Squared American National Standard Specifications for Sustainable Ceramic Tiles, Glass Tiles, and Tile Installation Materials
ANSIA108/A118/A136.1:2019: American National Specifications for the Installation of Ceramic Tile
There are many other standards that contribute guidelines for the quality, safe use, and proper care of ceramic materials. ASTM International has published over 300 standards intended to assess the condition of ceramic materials before they are used in a product.