Tile flooring can be confusing because there are so many types of tiles that are classified differently through distributers and resellers. Most types of tiles are made from a clay mixture to be kiln-fired. All of these tiles are under the large classification called “Ceramic Tiles”.
These tiles are split into two groups called porcelain tiles and non-porcelain tiles. However here is the confusing part – Ceramic tile is frequently referred as a non-porcelain tile!
What is ceramic tile?
Ceramic tile or non-porcelain tile is composed from clay that is fired in a kiln and almost always finished with a glaze. The glaze is a durable mixture that carries the color or pattern of the tile. Ceramic tiles are used for both floor and wall tile applications, but are softer than porcelain tile.
Ceramic tile has a PEI rating (Porcelain Enamel Institute rating scale) of 0 to a 3 rating and is suitable for very light to moderate traffic. These tiles tend to be used as backsplashes for kitchens because they are very prone to wear and tear.
What is porcelain tile?
Porcelain tile is generally made by some sort of dust pressed method from porcelain clay. This results in a durable tile that is very dense, resistant to stains and an extremely smooth tile to the touch. So dense that these tiles are almost impervious to water, with an absorption rate that is less than 0.5% and are frost resistant.
Porcelain tile is more suitable for high traffic areas because the tile thickness is designed to be 30% stronger than granite. Porcelain tiles are available in all types including unglazed, high polished finish and with a matte finish.
Porcelain tile has a PEI rating of 4 to a 5.
How to buy ceramic tile and porcelain tile with the Tile PEI rating.
Before buying Cincinnati Tile from Valvano Carpeting, keep in mind you need to shop for tile for that particular area and know how much traffic will encounter it. This scale is not a measurement of quality, but is used to clearly indicate what to use in an area that each manufacturer recommends.
PEI rating (Porcelain Enamel Institute rating scale):
- Tile Class 0 – No Foot Traffic: Ceramic Tile backsplashes for kitchens and bathrooms.
- Tile Class 1 – Very light traffic: Ceramic Tile bathroom, master bath or spa bathroom.
- Tile Class 2 – Light Traffic: Ceramic Tile that is used in second level main bathroom areas or bedrooms.
- Tile Class 3 – Light to Moderate Traffic: Residential area Ceramic tile for kitchens and some walkways.
- Tile Class 4 – Moderate to Heavy Traffic: High foot traffic Porcelain tile for entry ways, kitchens and countertops.
- Tile Class 5 – Heavy Traffic: Porcelain tile that is designed for high traffic in residential, commercial and industrial floors.