Why Do Tiles have a Bevelled Edge?
Tiles can have a moulded rounded edge, straight cut or bevelled edge depending upon the type of tile and manufacturer. Ceramic tiles are usually moulded while natural stone tiles and porcelain are either finished with a sawn and ground edge or the upper, exposed edge is cut off at a 45 degree angle to form a chamfer.
In order to understand the advantages of bevelling it’s probably worth taking some time to briefly describe the popular alternatives.
Rounded Moulded Edge
Ceramic tiles and other moulded tiles such as porcelain are made by pressing the uncured or unfired tile mixture into a mould. This is then hardened and in the case of standard ceramic tiles finished with a layer of coloured glaze.
The edge, which has a quarter circle or quadrant profile is obtained by the shape of the tile mould.
Grouting is predictable although the thickness can seem to vary depending upon how rounded the edge profile is compared to the tile thickness
Straight Cut – Sawn or Polished Edge Tiles
Popular with porcelain, quartz and most natural stone tiles; the tile edge is made by cutting tiles from a larger slab of material.
Rectified, cut edge tiles are very popular when narrow or invisible grout lines are desired.
Edges are relatively sharp, can be prone to chipping and unless the substrate is perfectly flat; may be difficult to fit with one edge seeming to be slightly higher than an adjacent edge. This can happen with rectified porcelain tiles when tiles may warp ever so slightly during drying and firing; making it impossible to match heights all the way along the mating tile edges
Bevelled Edge Tiles
Bevelling is an additional process that can be used to take off as little as 0.5 mm of tile edge to create a micro bevel that helps to avoid chipping when tiles are butted together or can be several millimetres thick on substantial stone tiles
The bevel forms a gap between tiles that helps allow for slight differences in edge height when tiles are fitted.
Grout thickness tends to appear narrower than with rounded edge tiles as the bevel acts as a guide and funnel so that grout is normally below the bevelled edge and simply fills the gap evenly