Ceramic Wall Tiles and Porcelain Floor Tiles They are not the same

I know from experience, ceramic wall tiles can NOT be used on floors. Ages ago – well before we opened The Stone Quarry of Jupiter – my husband and I installed a beautiful 4×4 ceramic tile on our bathroom floor.

The next thing I knew, our tiles were cracking – and not because of a poor installation. Opps, we had used a wall tile on our floor. We didn’t know any better.

There is an old saying: “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

Our clients are probably using some of these keywords to search for tile:

  • Flooring Palm Beach County
  • Flooring Martin County
  • Tile Palm Beach County
  • Tile Hobe Sound
  • Tile Jupiter Fl

I doubt that few, if any, are searching for “can I use a wall tile on a floor.”

In this article we’ll show you:

  • How to determine if a tile is a wall tile or a floor tile.
  • How to tell if a tile is suitable for residential flooring applications.
Herringbone Blue Ceramic Tile

It's all in the PEI Rating

The PEI Rating is a code. This code will tell anyone who knows how to dicifer it, if a tile is a wall tile or a floor tile.

This PEI Rating comes from the Porcelain Enamel Institute. To read more: http://www.porcelainenamel.com/About_PEI/

Before we get more into the PEI Rating, I want to point out that the Tile Council of North America has a different rating system. This can be a little confusing as they are not interchangeable. But since manufacturers are still labeling tiles using PEI Ratings, we will focus on that.

A Numeric System

In the PEI system, a tile can be given one of 5 ratings. Some factories use Roman Numerals: I, II, III, IV, V. And some factories use Arabic Numerals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. But either way the letters PEI will proceed the number.

The ratings are given to a tile product based on the hardness of its glaze. The manufacturer uses a standardized test to determine the hardness.

Decifering The Code

In short, the lower the number =  the less wear and tear a tile can withstand. Conversely, the higher the number the more wear and tear a tile can withstand.

Test your knowledge:

  1. TRUE/FALSE – Tiles with PEI of I (or 1) can be used in all floor and wall applications.
  2. TRUE/FALSE – Floor tiles can also be used on walls.
  3. TRUE/FALSE – A Tile’s PEI Rating will tell you if it can be used for residential flooring.
  4. TRUE/FALSE – A tile with a PEI Rating of IV (4) can be used in any interior residential application

Answer Key:

  1. A PEI of I or 1 means the glaze cannot withstand heavy traffic, therefore this tile would only be suitable for walls. The answer is False.
  2. If a tile is suitable for floors, then it is also suitable for walls, which get less wear and tear. The answer is True.
  3. The PEI Rating will tell you how much abrasion a tile can withstand. Knowing this, you can tell if it is suitable for flooring. The answer is True.
  4. The PEI Rating of IV or 4 is the next to the highest rating a tile can receive. This rating is reserved for light industrial, therefore it is more than enough for a residential application. The answer is True.

The PEI Ratings

  1. The Roman Numeral I – this tile is only suitable for walls.
  2. The Roman Numeral II – this tile is suitable for walls and residential floors that receive minimal traffic.
  3. The Roman Numeral III – this tile can be used for either floors or walls in a residential setting. Walls in a commercial setting.
  4. The Roman Numeral IV – the next to the highest rating available. Can be used for light industrial floors and walls. More than enough for residential.
  5. The Roman Numeral V – The highest rating available. Can be used in commercial applications for floors or walls. Exceeds requirements for residential floor and wall applications.

Earlier we mentioned Ceramic Wall Tiles and Porcelain Floor Tiles. Not all floor tiles are Porcelain some are Ceramic. To find out more about the differences between Ceramic Tiles and Porcelain Tiles click here.