Home » Technical Focus: Gauged Porcelain Tile, Changes in Industry Standards and the Building Code
As Gauged Porcelain Tile (GPT) continues to grow in popularity, so does the number of changes to our industry standards and even the building code. When GPT first arrived in the U.S. from Europe in early 2010, the industry and installers were suspicious — “How can it be that much larger and thinner, too?” In 2014, the industry released the “Position Statement on Thin Porcelain Tile,” written by the National Tile Contractors Association and tile setters unions. This document stressed the importance of the tile contractor being cautious, as no industry standards were available to establish quality materials and installation techniques and stressed following the manufacturer’s direction. At the time, I was working as a product manager for a tile manufacturer and in the process of creating a GPT, or what we called thin tile, product line. That seems so long ago, but here in 2020, we have ANSI product and interior installation standards that have been out for three years. The future looks positive for GPT as an exterior standard is nearing an ANSI vote and the International Building Code (IBC) will change in 2021 to include larger sizes of all porcelain tile on an exterior.
Sometimes, creating a new ANSI standard can be quite difficult, and many take years, even decades. The creation of the initial GPT installation standard started in September of 2015. A small group of industry consultants, union and trade association representatives, manufacturers of GPT tile and setting materials manufacturers spent several days at Crossville Inc. in Tennessee, installing and observing different techniques and the results of the work. We removed the installed GPT panels the following day to confirm the coverage of the mortar; what difference did the different trowels make, different embedding procedures and what was repeatable? From these results, the ANSI A108.19 installation standard was developed. My understanding is that the tile technical committee started drafting the product standard about the same time. Through hard work, many conference calls and a couple of face-to-face meetings, approximately 18 months later, the ANSI installation and product standards were sent to the ANSI A108 committee and passed. This expedited timeline was unprecedented and accomplished due to the importance of the ANSI standards for GPT.
In this issue of TILE Magazine, we focus on mosaic tile designs and radiant heating. Through various installation case studies and project articles, learn how different types of mosaic tile add unique design touches to residential and commercial spaces. Also, be sure to check out our product showcase, which features the latest innovations in radiant heating technology, as well as our detailed technical focuses that cover the specifics of the evergrowing trend.