Our handy guide will help you to better read tile packaging and become an informed shopper. Brandon-area homeowners who know what to look for will be better equipped to find the perfect tiles.
Tiles aren’t just ceramic; there are tiles made of porcelain, natural stone, brick, cement, and many more materials on the market, and each material works better in some applications than others. Ceramic, porcelain and natural stone are the most versatile, and are suitable for walls, and floors, even shower floors.
The overall quality of a tile is determined by its grade. Tile grade ranges from 1 (highest) to 3 (lowest). It should be noted that Grades 1 and 2 are similar, but Grade2 will likely be less expensive. Both Grades 1 and 2 can serve as flooring tile, while Grade 3 is only suitable for wall use.
The resistance to wear is varied among glazed tile, and the Porcelain and Enamel Institute has come up with a rating system for homeowner to follow. The numbering in this rating system works in reverse of Tile Grade, with I being the lowest rating and V being the highest. Some ratings indicate that a tile is not recommended for flooring applications. It should be noted that this rating system rates glazed tiles only, so this rating is not used on unglazed tiles.
PEI I – Wall use only. These tiles cannot withstand the weight of foot traffic.
PEI II – Can withstand some light foot traffic and abrasion. Best used for residential bathrooms; suitable for residential and commercial interior walls.
PEI III – Withstands residential foot traffic. Suitable for residential flooring, walls and countertops.
PEI IV – Able to withstand moderate to heavy foot traffic. These tiles can work for residential flooring. These tiles may also work in some medium commercial spaces.
PEI V – Heavy duty; these tiles are suitable for all home use and heavy commercial applications.
If you happen to see the acronym W.A. on the tile displays or packaging, this indicates how much water that tile can safely absorb. Water absorption in tile is broken down into four classes which measure the percentage of the tile’s weight the tile can absorb. A tile’s W.A. class will be vital in helping you determine if a tile is suitable for outdoor use.
The lowest absorption percentages indicate the densest and most versatile tiles. It should be noted that all tiles are suitable for indoor use.
- Non-vitreous – Absorbs 7% or more moisture. These tiles are suitable for indoor use only. They absorb too much moisture to be used outdoors.
- Semi-vitreous – Absorbs moisture at a rate between 3% and 7%. Like Non-Vitreous tiles, these are also best suited for indoor use only.
- Vitreous – Absorbs moisture at a rate between 0.5% and 3%. These tiles are often classified as frost-resistant, though Vitreous tiles can get damaged in colder conditions which have freeze-and-thaw weather. This problem is far less common for Central Floridians, of course. Also suitable for entryways in homes; since entryways face the elements more than the rest of the interior of your home, having moisture resistance makes sense in this room.
- Impervious – Absorbs less than 0.5% moisture. These tiles work wonders for outdoor use and will hold up against frost conditions. Can also be used indoors and for entryways.