The standard for ceramic tile, ANSI A137.1:2021 – American National Standard Specifications For Ceramic Tile, covers quality criteria useful for buyers, specifiers, installers, manufacturers, and the public.
Origin of Ceramics
Ceramics is an ancient art. Dating back to 24,000 BC—and originally composed of animal fat and bone blended with bone ash and a fine claylike material—ceramics found a true calling as functional pottery in 9,000 BC. In fact, the origin of the word “ceramic” is the Greek keramos, meaning “of pottery.”
Not too far ahead in history from there, ceramic tile graced walls in the days of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Current Market for Ceramic Tile
Once contemporaneous to the cave paintings of Lascaux, ceramics have expanded greatly over time.
In its recent history, U.S. ceramic tile consumption for 1Q 2021 was up 17.8% by volume vs. 1Q 2020, according to the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), the ANSI-accredited standards developing organization responsible for the publication of ANSI A137.1:2021. Clearly, the ceramic tile industry is holding strong—if this pace continues, the industry could see a record consumption of 3.34 billion square feet in 2021.
Ceramic Tile Covered by ANSI A137.1
Ceramic tile is aesthetically driven, but the placement of these mosaic or simple tiles on walls, ceilings, and floors can conceal visual obstructions and ultimately improve the R-value of buildings. Ceramics are not inherently water-resistant, even though ceramic tile is often utilized with this quality in mind. In fact, the waterproofness of ceramic tile derives from several treatment processes of the material, particularly glazing or firing. Ceramic tiles are available in an assortment of different types with varying characteristics, including glazed wall, mosaic, quarry, pressed floor, porcelain, and specialty tile.
ANSI A137.1:2021, like the 2019 edition it revises, describes the normally available sizes and shapes of ceramic tile. This American National Standard covers a breadth of information, including the basis for acceptance and testing methods prior to installation, marking and certification of ceramic tile, definitions of relevant terms, and physical properties of Standard Grade Ceramic Tile, Second Grade Ceramic Tile, Decorative Tile, and Specialty tile.
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.”
The standard provides information related to understanding ceramic tile for manufacturers, retailers, and even consumers.
Ceramic Tile Aesthetic Classes
The standard features several aesthetic classes—V0, V1, V2, V3, or V4. The letter “V” indicates “variation,” and each number quantifies the degree of variation of overall color and/or texture—what a consumer can visually expect with a particular product. While ceramic tile isn’t inherently waterproof, this is still a highly-valued quality of the material, so ANSI A137.1:2021 also classifies tile based on water absorption.
Why Adhere to ANSI A137.1 Requirements?
Ultimately, the text of ANSI A137.1:2021 serves as a reference standard for buyers and specifiers of ceramic tile, and it can aid producers in maintaining quality control of ceramic tile manufacture.
For example, porcelain tile is defined, in accordance with ASTM C373, as ceramic tile that has a water absorption of 0.5% or less. The Certified Porcelain Tile logo placed on the packaging for tile meeting this stipulation is attainable with the help of the ANSI A137.1:2021 standard.
ANSI A137.1:2021 – American National Standard Specifications For Ceramic Tile is available on the ANSI Webstore.