Ceramic Or Porcelain Bathroom Floor Tiles

Ceramic Or Porcelain Bathroom Floor Tiles

Ceramic Or Porcelain Bathroom Floor Tiles?

Tiles have been used to cover floors, and walls, in bathrooms for centuries, and they constitute the most used floor covering in the world. They are by no means monolithic in materials. colors. or motifs, and it is this wide variety that among other attributes makes them so appealing.

How to choose your bathroom floor tiles in view of this variety?

First it is essential to differentiate between ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles, as there is a lot of confusion about the terms.

All tiles are mostly made of clay, minerals and water, the mixture is then processed with heat, and the surface is coated with a glaze to keep the tile from being porous. It is in the glaze coating that design motifs and color is applied.

In Europe the difference between ceramic and porcelain is a question of the color of the clay used in the process. It is not a quality assessment, however porcelain being made of a light or white clay will produce better glaze colors.

In the United States the definition of porcelain varies widely from the European view, and it is indicative of quality. A porcelain tile in the US can have a red, or white body indiscriminately as long as the quality is high.

There are many discussion on this topic on the internet, but few really get to the point about what it means to you the consumer when you are trying to buy bathroom tiles .

My advice, ignore the label and look for a tile pattern and color you would like to have, look for the size you want as it will affect the look of your tiling design, then choose a tile that is rated for the application you want. You cannot use wall tiles on the floor but your can use floor tiles on a wall. Oh! you might want to look at the price too! But I will leave that up to you.

How to read tile labels

In view of what I said earlier, what do tile labels mean? On a given box of porcelain or ceramic tiles in the US you will find graphic symbols and ratings each addressing a different characteristic of the tiles in the box.

Grade: This is a numeric rating from 1 to 3 given after a visual inspection of the tile. The lower the number is, the better the rating. Many tiles rated as a 2 might be just fine for your purpose and be much cheaper than a 1 rating. You will probably not see tiles that are rated 3 in major US stores, as they have visual flaws, like variations in size.

Ceramic Or Porcelain Bathroom Floor Tiles

PEI: Refers to the abrasion, or wear standard as designated by the Porcelain Enamel Institute. This standard is more important for floor tiles than it is for walls, and if you are buying wall tiles you can ignore it. There are 5 groups in this rating. Group I is the softest tile and can only be used for walls. Group II is suitable for flooring uses but only in low traffic areas. Group III will work well for normal foot traffic. It is a medium wear tile that will work for bathrooms, kitchens, or most any room, but is not suitable for outdoor uses. Group IV and V are the hardest tiles usually used in commercial applications.

W.A. Indicates the resistance to water penetration. Outdoor uses would require a better resistance since it is exposed to the elements. This rating is given by the American National Standards Institute, and ranges from 0.5% to more than 7%. The lower number of 0.5% indicates the best possible resistance and these tiles can be used outside as well as inside. For bathrooms and showers a rating of 0.5 to 3% is suitable.

C.O.F. The Coefficient of Friction (C.O.F) rating is important as it relates to the degree of slipping that a tile floor might have. The rating can be wet or dry. For general home usage you should look at a dry rating of 0.5 or above. For bathroom floors that might get wet you should choose tiles that are rated wet ranging from 0.5 to 0.7. If you are planning to use tiles on an outside area where people will be walking this is a very important rating to enforce as slipping accidents can have serious consequences.

Frost: Tells whether a tile can be used outdoors in area that freeze. If the frost icon is not present, do not use these tiles outdoors in areas where they might freeze.

Tone: Rates the variation in tone, or color, from tile to tile. These variations are common in many colors at the exception of white or black. More important than tone variation in the selection of tiles should be the variation in size. Tiles made in the US will exhibit very little variations.

In conclusion will you buy ceramic or porcelain tiles? It does not matter, as this is more a selling gimmick than true evaluation of a tile. Don’t buy a better quality tile than you need, buy tiles that you like for their aesthetic value, and for the design you have in mind; buy tiles that are safe to walk on and that will serve you well.


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