Ceramic wall tiles are normally less durable than tile designed specifically for flooring. Most wall tile is glazed with a semi-gloss or matte surface. The glazed surface has a very low slip resistance and becomes slippery when wet. Therefore, glazed wall tile is much more suited for wall or countertop applications rather than floors.
Glazed Ceramic Tile
Glazed Ceramic Tile is comprised of two basic elements, clay and water. Various clays are mined, ground and blended to a fine powder, and pressed together to form the body of the tile. The pressed clay body is then dried to reduce the moisture content. Next, the surface of the tile is coated with a colored glaze (similar to glass). The glaze is then permanently fused to the surface of the tile by firing it in kilns at approximately 2000° Fahrenheit, to form the finished product.
Porcelain tile is made from a blend of fine-grain clays and other minerals to produce a very dense body, which makes it highly resistant to moisture, staining and wear. Because of these features, porcelain tile will withstand years of heavy foot traffic in both interior and exterior applications while maintaining its color and beauty.
Most tiles are rated for hardness or scratch resistance using the MOHS Test and rating system. The MOHS test rates tile from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest). Ceramic tile with a value of 5 or more is suitable for most residential floor tile applications. Tile with a value of 7 or higher is normally acceptable for most commercial applications or heavy traffic areas.
To help select suitable tiles for specific applications tiles are rated the P.E.I. (Porcelain Enamel Institute) scale. The tiles are evaluated for wear resistance on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).
- PEI 1: Light Traffic – recommended for residential bathrooms or other areas with light traffic and where shoes are not frequently used.
- PEI 2: Medium Traffic – recommended for residential interiors, except entryways, kitchens, stairs or any area where tiles may come into contact with gravel or sand.
- PEI 3: Medium-heavy Traffic – recommended for all residential interiors and light commercial applications. Not recommended for commercial entryway.
- PEI 4: Heavy Traffic – suitable for all residential interiors and most commercial applications, including shopping malls and public areas.
- PEI 5: Heavy-plus Traffic – all residential and commercial areas where heavy-duty wear ability is needed.
Vinyl tile is a composite, layered construction consisting of:
- A) Protective wear layer: Urethane and other high-performance wear layers make the product easy to clean and resist scratches and scuffs. Enhanced urethane offers the maximum amount of protection and is priced above regular urethane.
Less expensive vinyl no-wax tile does not have this protective wear layer.
- B) Protective clear film layer: This film adds durability and helps protects against rips, tears and gouges.
- C) Printed design layer: On this layer, a rotogravure printing process creates the myriad of designs available in vinyl tile. The visuals range from very realistic interpretations of natural materials to original and unique patterns.
- D) Vinyl tile backing: This bottom-most layer adds structural strength and durability. Generally the thicker the backing, the more durable the product.
Vinyl Composition Tile
VCT has a through-pattern construction of color and pattern extending throughout the thickness of the tile which makes scuffs, scrapes and traffic wear virtually undetectable. Available in 12”x12” tiles that allow for unlimited creative floor designs that are durable and economical. Uses include schools, hospitals, commercial, and any high traffic high use area.