ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Raising the Standards for Home Renovations


New York, Jun 12, 2008

In today’s unpredictable housing market, many families are choosing to renovate their current home instead of buying a new one. Several key voluntary consensus standards help homeowners to plan safe, cost-effective renovation projects that will upgrade their living spaces with the latest amenities and décor.

One relatively simple yet highly customizable way to renovate a kitchen or bathroom is by laying ceramic tiles. The most common use for ceramic tiles is flooring; however they can also be used as an eye-catching backsplash for the kitchen sink, as walls for a shower, or even as a decorative mural.

Choosing the right grade of ceramic tile is facilitated by a family of international standards. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 189, Ceramic Tile, develops standards that classify and characterize ceramic tiles. Twenty-eight standards for ceramic tiles have been developed under TC 189.

Contractors installing new tiles in a bathroom – where water and steam make a daily appearance – find guidance in ISO 10545-3:1995, Ceramic tiles -- Part 3: Determination of water absorption, apparent porosity, apparent relative density and bulk density. This standard provides two methods for measuring the density and level of water absorption in ceramic tiles.

ISO 10545-13:1995, Ceramic tiles -- Part 13: Determination of chemical resistance is another standard that classifies characteristics of ceramic tiles. This standard specifies a testing method for chemical resistance, a key characteristic for tiles that will be washed with commercial cleaning solutions.

The United States holds the secretariat to TC 189, and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), an organizational member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), serves as the ANSI-Accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator.

Choosing tiles is an important step in home renovation, but before any work begins, certain safety precautions must be taken to ensure the health of the workers and residents. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is of particular concern for homeowners who plan to remain in their homes while renovation progresses. Whether the project calls for laying a tile floor, painting, or knocking down walls, pollutants and chemicals may linger in the air, presenting a serious health risk.

Residents should be alert to signs of inadequate ventilation before embarking on home renovations. These signs can include stuffy air, moisture condensation on cold surfaces, or mold and mildew growth. Other matters of IAQ that should be addressed include the possibility of lead paint and asbestos, pest control, and energy efficiency improvements.

American National Standard ANSI/SMACNA 008-2008, IAQ Guidelines for Occupied Buildings Under Construction provides project management in maintaining satisfactory indoor air quality (IAQ) of occupied buildings undergoing renovation or construction. The guideline covers how to manage the source of air pollutants, document the air quality, and communicate with any occupants of the building during renovation.

This standard was developed by the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.


For a complete list of ceramic tile standards developed by TC 189, please click here.

To learn more about IAQ during home renovations, visit this page on addressing indoor environmental concerns during remodeling provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a government member of ANSI.

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