You’ve got a home project you’re really excited about, and you know you want to use fabulous tile to complete your vision. You found an unglazed ceramic porcelain tile in the perfect shade of blue. But is it the right kind of tile for your particular project? The immediate two questions you need to ask when determining the right type of tile for the job are:
- Where will the tile be located?
- How much traffic will the tile have to absorb?
Let’s look at both those significant questions separately:
Where will the tile be located?
This question is essential because it addresses the issues of the size and material of the tile. If it’s serving as the backsplash of a kitchen or bathroom, the tile will probably be ceramic glazed tiles that protect against moisture and stains. But if you’re looking at tile for flooring, you’ll want to find a material that provides more texture. You’d probably want an unglazed ceramic tile that has good slip resistance, though they do require sealing to prevent staining. If exposure to extreme temperatures could be an issue, check out porcelain tiles. Porcelain tiles are made of 50% feldspar and are fired at higher temperatures than their ceramic counterparts. They resist scratching and can handle anything from pets to children to high heels!
Another issue is tile density and moisture absorption. If the tile is going in a bathroom, you’ll want to install a tile that is denser and heavier, with a lower absorption rate. The denser the tile, the less moisture it absorbs and the more slip resistant the tile becomes.
How much traffic will the tile have to absorb?
Tile is an extremely durable material, but not all tile was made for walking on. The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) is an industry association that created a rating system to measure the durability of a tile’s enamel glazing. There are six classes of PEI ratings, though most homeowners only need to concern themselves with the first three.
- Class 0 – Light-duty, walls only; never underfoot.
- Class 1 – Walls only, residential or commercial, for example, shower surrounds in a residential bathroom
- Class 2 – Walls and light floor traffic. Typically, residential bathrooms.
- Class 3 – Normal foot traffic. Tiles for most residential applications, including counters, walls, and floors.
- Class 4 – Moderate to heavy traffic. Walls and floors for homes as wells as moderate commercial and light industrial applications.
- Class 5 – All applications, residential, heavy commercial, and institutional foot traffic.
If you have found the tile solutions for your project, it’s time to work! In case you might have a few more questions about selecting tile, contact our helpful experts. We can talk through all of your choices together and help you find the right tile for your next successful project.