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what are chipped edge tiles?

Natural stone tiles come in a range of finishes and if you are looking at tumbled or antiqued tiles you may come across the terms tumbled edges and chipped (or chiselled) edges. In this article we explain these terms and the differences between the two.

12 December

Chipped edge is a term associated with the finish of natural stone tiles, often known as Chiselled edge and similar to Tumbled edge. The chipping process produces uneven edges giving the tile an aged, worn appearance with matte surface.

What’s The Difference Between Chipped (Chiselled Edge) And Tumbled Edge Tiles?

Initially, pre-edging, both tiles have a honed finish before undergoing any finishing process. The key difference is that the chipped edge process only affects the edges of the tile, while the tumbling process affects both the edges and the surface of the tile.

The chipped edge effect is created by the tile being manually fed into a machine that chips the top edge of the tile, one edge at time without affecting the surface, whereas the tumbled edge is entirely machine-created: the honed tiles are placed on a rack, smaller stones and pebbles are put into the machine and the rack is rotated. As the rack rotates the stones and pebbles bash against the tiles creating a tumbled finish on both the edge and surface.

Deciding On A Tile’s Finish

Starting life as large blocks typically measuring 3m by 2m, with lighter Travertine blocks weighing from 7,000kg, to heavier Granite blocks weighing in at over 18,000kg. Blocks are inspected for cracks and flaws, and tested for hardness and durability before being shipped to a processing plant.

The blocks are then cut into slabs with a gang saw. It's at this point when the surface finish is determined. Working on one slab at a time, slabs are laid horizontally on a large conveyor line called a 'polishing' line. The slabs pass under heads fitted with diamond/grit abrasive pads and grind away the rough surface, starting with very coarse grades and graduating to finer grades. Depending on the finish required and the toughness of the material, the process is repeated a number of times.

Cleaning Chipped Or Chiselled Edged Tiles

A common misconception of chiselled edged tiles is that they will be difficult to clean and maintain. In reality, once sealed, natural stone tiles are as easy to maintain on a daily basis as porcelain tiles. Natural stone tiles are porous and will benefit from long term maintenance with a strip and deep clean.

We’re often asked how regularly natural stone tiles require re-sealing. There are a number of variables in place, which may determine when you choose to reseal, including the type of stone used, the level of footfall and the regular cleaning regime. Some customers like the ‘patina’ of tarnished stone and prefer not to reseal at all.

Generally, after five years, your stone tiles can be restored to their original appearance by a professional strip to remove soils and resealing to form a new barrier against stains and dirt.

At StoneStore our Chipped Edge Unfilled Travertine tiles come in a pattern set consisting of four different tiles sizes to make up the classic Opus or French patterns. This unfilled travertine tile pattern set with a lovely “brushed” surface looks as though it has been worn away over many years. It's generally medium-light beige in colour and provides a distinctive "rustic" look in country cottages and barn conversions.