Whether To Choose Rectified Or Non-Rectified Tiles

If you're installing a tiled splashback in your kitchen, you can choose either rectified or non-rectified tiles; both are available in various colours and patterns. Which is better depends on the overall look you're trying to create in your new kitchen.

The Variability Of The Firing Process

The main reason for choosing rectified tiles is the very narrow grout lines of 1.5 ml that they allow. These thin joins provide a smooth, seamless look because they reduce the separation between each tile. Traditional ceramic tiles, on the other hand, can't be installed so close together because the tiles, even within the same batch, can differ in size and shape slightly. This is due to the nature of the firing process, which is not an exact science. Even though several same-sized clay tiles may enter the kiln, each tile shrinks and warps in varying amounts, partly because of the moisture within the oven at that time.

The Role Of Grouting Thickness

These inconsistencies may not be apparent if you look at each tile individually, but they become more noticeable once the tiles are compared, in a row for instance. Typically, traditional tiles use thicker grout lines so that each tile can be maneuvered, shifted slightly to the left or the right, to disguise any irregularities. Some tiles edge into the grouting more than others, but this is generally not noticeable to the naked eye. Rectified tiles, on the other hand, are machine trimmed after firing, so the size of each tile is precise. This allows you to use very fine grouting; there is no need to disguise tile size variances.

Different Tiles, Different Looks

It's not considered a fault that traditional tiles are imprecise; this is ordinarily thought to be part of their charm. The pillow-shaped edges also create a warmer, softer look. Rectified tiles, though, because the sides are flat and sharp after trimming, look cleaner, sharper and more modern as a result.

Which type you choose depends on your design goals. If you are designing a splashback to evoke a smart minimalist look for your kitchen renovation, you might be better off picking rectified tiles. Installing larger format sizes and choosing a grout colour that matches the tile will create a more seamless look still. If, however, you are creating a vintage or country design, traditional tiles better exemplify this aesthetic. Their rounded edges and natural differences give a warmer, cosier effect.