Frequently Ask Questions
1. Q: I saw something on the website that I want to purchase. Where can I purchase Eksa products?
A: Eksa does not sell to the general public, as we are a wholesale distributor rather than a retailer. We do; however, have a network of retailers in various locations throughout Western Canada that would love the opportunity to discuss our product selections with you. Please feel free to visit our showroom at any time to see physical displays of what we have online. Alternatively, review our list of retailers here to find one near you.
2. Q: Why can't I see pricing on Eksa’s website?
A: Because we are a wholesaler and don’t sell tile directly to the public, we don’t list any pricing on our website. As mentioned above, we have a network of retailers in various locations throughout Western Canada that would love the opportunity to discuss our product selections with you – and who have access to our pricing information and our stock levels that they will happily share with you.
3. Q: What is the difference between porcelain and ceramic tile?
A: Ceramic tile is typically made from a mixture of earthenware clay and various stabilizers such as natural minerals like feldspar, along with a variety of chemical additives which are fired at low temperatures after having been blended together. Ceramic tiles are most often softer than porcelain tiles, and are typically more prone to scratches, cracking, and wear than porcelain tiles are. Porcelain tile is generally made from highly dense assortments of clay, finely ground silica, and a high concentration of feldspar which improves the strength and durability of the tile when fired at high temperatures - which makes porcelain more dense and impervious than ceramic tile. Due to these characteristics, glazed and unglazed porcelain tiles are typically used as flooring in high traffic areas, home construction, offices, and retail spaces - as well as a variety of other interior and exterior applications. Another important difference between porcelain and ceramic tile is that some porcelain tiles can be used for exterior applications in regions that experience a high variety of seasonal and temperature variations, such as what we experience in North America. This is due to their lower water absorption rates and frost resistant properties. Ceramic tile cannot be used for exterior applications in these conditions.
4. Q: How is ceramic tile made?
A: Most commonly, ceramics (both tile and non-tile ceramics) are produced by the addition of heat upon processed clays and a variety of other natural raw materials which come together to form a firm final product.
To control the quality and desired appearance of the finished product, ceramics that use natural rocks and minerals as its foundation must undergo special processing to ensure that the particle sizes – and how they are distributed within the manufacturing process, come together in a way that ensures the mixtures consistent composition as these factors play a major role in the final properties and usability of finished ceramic.
Alternatively, chemically prepared powders that mimic the properties of natural rocks and minerals can
be used as starting materials for some ceramics. When this method is utilized, it is often due to the fact that synthetic materials can be easily controlled to produce powders that exhibit precise chemical compositions and particle size.
The next step is to form the resulting ceramic powder into the desired shape using one of many forming
methods for ceramics, which are most commonly extrusion, slip casting, pressing, tape casting or injection molding. After the powder is formed it undergoes a heat-treatment – referred to as firing or sintering, to produce the finished product.
5. Q: Can I install tile outside?
A: Typically speaking, any high quality porcelain tile can be used outdoors. Before you consider installing a tile in an exterior space (or any area that will not be continually heated such as a three-season room or solarium) speak with a professional in the industry to ensure that there is not something that you are overlooking. If a tile not rated for exterior use is installed in an exterior space, there is a very high probability that the installation will fail. Things such as slip-resistance, frost resistance, and water absorption rates must be considered and understood prior to use – especially in climates that experience several freeze-thaw cycles per season.
6. Q: What is a grout joint?
A: A grout joint is the space between two tiles on a floor or a wall that is filled with grout after tile has been laid, and a grout joint should be used to avoid breakage and fracturing in your tile installation. There may be a recommendation for the spacing used in a particular installation, based on the size of the tile or the way you would like the tile laid out (the pattern you want to use), as well as different requirements for floor and wall installations.
7. Q: What is shade/pattern variation and why is it something that I should pay attention to?
A: Tile coloring and patterning can range from static / monochromatic to being highly varied in coloring, patterning, and shading – often within the same colour in a series. Variation exists within individual tiles and from tile to tile within a series’ colour to impart a specific type of visual interest and these levels of variation are measured using a scale with ratings from V1 - V4. V1 represents a tile that is uniform / monochromatic in appearance from tile to tile, and V4 represents a tile with considerable variation from tile to tile (often within the same box). It is important to pay attention to this rating, as what you may see in a sample piece may not be representative of what a whole floor of that tile will look like.
Here is what the rating scale looks like:
Low visible shade and texture variation from tile to tile.
Tiles show distinguishable differences in texture and pattern within similar colours.
High shade and texture variation from tile to tile.
Random variations of shade and texture where one tile may have completely different shade or texture from another tile in the same collection.
8. Q: What does DCOF stand for?
A: DCOF stands for Dynamic Coefficient of Friction and it measures the friction between two surfaces. The results of this measurement reflect the amount of force required to keep two surfaces sliding against one another – or how slippery a tile is when walked on in a wet or dry setting. The higher the DCOF, the less slippery a tile will be.