Glossary of tile terms

A few words you probably know the meaning of and possibly one or two that you don’t.

Background tile

An undecorated tile, used as a base for hand-painting but generally, for consistency, also used, plain glazed for tiling the other parts of the room where hand-painted tiles are not required.

Hand painted tile panel

block of hand-painted tiles that go together to make up a decorative picture or panel, sometimes with a frame of border tiles.

Border tiles

A narrower tile than the main ones, usually used along the edge of the tiled area or, often, around a decorated panel.

Single décor tile

A decorated tile with a single design that can be used on its own.


Paste used to fill the gaps left between the tiles. Usually white but available in a range of colours. The width of the gaps is a matter for personal preference.