In the brief history of this product, it has had numerous names including; thin panel porcelain tile, reduced thickness porcelain tile, slim tiles, porcelain panels or simply thin tile. These names have been applied because currently there is no industry standard (ANSI or TCNA Handbook) for this product category nor has an official name been determined. For the function of this ACT test, the category is referred to as “Thin Porcelain Tile” or “TPT” as an abbreviation.
TPT is a versatile new tile product in the United States that has been developed in Italy and imported to the US. It is now grabbing the attention of architects, designers and specifiers as well as residential consumers, satisfying their craving for ever-increasingly larger tile products. These tiles presently range in size from 1 m x 1 m (39-3/8” x 39-3/8”) to 1.5 m x 3 m (59” x 118-1/4”) or just under 10’. That is one piece of tile covering from eleven to almost fifty square feet of wall or floor surface in one piece!
Thin Porcelain Tile is being introduced to the world market by many different manufacturers utilizing several different manufacturing processes. This tile is typically characterized as having a thickness of between 3.0 mm to 6.0 mm and up to 5.0’ by 10’ in width and length. Currently TCNA, ANSI and ISO do not have a product standard for manufacturing, which eventually will establish the benchmarks by which the quality of materials will be evaluated. There are no industry installation standards identifying the correct methods and materials necessary to properly install these tiles in a way that meets the performance requirements expected in the North American marketplace.
In the absence of current standards for these products, the Study Guide and field test for TPT follows the recommendations of a May 2014 Position Statement issued jointly by the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA), International Masonry Institute (IMI) and International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC). You can read the Position Statement here.
Working with a module of 1 m x 1 m, installers will be required to demonstrate proficiency in substrate preparation, handling and movement of the tile, use of special installation tools and techniques for bonding and mortar coverage, grout joints and movement accommodation joints, and field cut around an electrical outlet or shower control.
Those wishing to take the test must be pre-qualified.