Technical Specifications and Standards for the Installation of Ceramic and Stone Tiles

John P. Bridge  (3-12-2012)

Despite its impressive title this document is not extensive. I merely want to post some basic information pertaining to standards for tile setting in the United States and Canada. Who writes the rules? Who sets the standards? Are there, in fact, standards for ceramic and stone tile setting in North America?

In short, yes, and I will list the various agencies here:

Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Promulgates and publishes the standards for tile setting issued by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The particular ANSI area that pertains to tile setting is A-108. The Tile Council also issues a handbook each year that recommends methods for various installations based on ANSI and information derived from other industry sources. Although voluntary, the standards published by TCNA are those that are usually referred to in court cases when “prevailing standards” are called for.

National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Membership is comprised of tile contractors, products companies, information providers and others associated with the tiling trades. NTCA issues technical information for its members and provides practical training in methods and standards at select locations throughout the U.S. The association publishes Tile Letter magazine on a monthly basis. NTCA is affiliated with the Tile Council of North America.

Terrazzo Tile and Marble Association of Canada (TTMAC) Canadian equivalent of both the TCNA and the NTCA combined. Sets standards and methods for tile setting in Canada, although the TTMAC remains in close cooperation with the NTCA. As much as is practicable, tile setting standards in the U.S. and Canada are closely aligned.

Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) At one time one of the main training elements of the tile industry, the CTEF is now chiefly concerned with contractor and tile installer certification.

Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) Membership composed of tile sellers and wholesale distributors in North America. CTDA is the chief marketing instrument for tile sales on the continent.

Marble Institute of America (MIA) Authority for standards applicable to dimensional stone. More and more the tiling and stone trades are coming together with one group of installers crossing over to the other. Both industries strive for cooperation. The MIA defers to the tile industry when it comes to installing stone tiles two feet square and smaller.

Engineered Wood Association, formerly the American Plywood Association (APA) Industry driven body that sets standards and specifications for construction wood in the U.S. Of particular interest to the tiling trades are flooring grade plywood and oriented strand board (OSB), as well and wood trusses and I-joists.

American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM) Sets standards for development, manufacture and testing of tile and related materials. ASTM is an international organization the ranges well beyond the tile industry.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Exactly what its name implies. The ISO is currently working on tiling and tile making standards, as well as standards for just about every other construction area you can think of.

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