How to choose the type of tile that is right for you -

Where is the tile being installed?

The most important factor to consider when choosing a type of tile, is where it will be installed. Not all tiles are suitable for all applications. However, whatever type of tile you choose, if it is installed properly, it will bring a lifetime of function and beauty to any installation.

Glazed products perform according to the hardness of their glaze. This hardness is determined by the manufacturer and rated using a PEI scale (Porcelain Enamel Institute). This PEI rating will determine the proper usage of each product.

PEI I

Tiles suitable for interior wall application.

PEI II

Tiles suitable for residential bathrooms where softer footwear is worn.

PEI III

Tiles suited to general residential traffic, except kitchens, entrance halls,  and other areas subjected to continuous heavy use.

PEI IV

Tiles suited for all residential and light to medium commercial areas.

PEI V+

Tiles suitable for heavy traffic and wet areas where safety and maximum performance are a major concern such as exterior hallways, food service, salad bars, building entrances, around swimming pools or shopping centers.

NOTE: All tiles are suitable for interior wall use.

Many tiles have a glazed surface. Glaze is liquid glass that is sprayed or poured onto the surface of the tile. It is then fused to the body of the tile using tremendous heat during the firing process. Strength and wear resistance are determined by its hardness. The following factors will have an effect on the glaze hardness:

  • Temperature – Higher temperatures result in harder glaze.
  • Color – Dark glaze colors such as blacks and blues are usually softer than the lighter color glazes.
  • Gloss Level – Shiny glazes are usually softer than matte or satin finished glazes.

What if your tile is not glazed? Since unglazed products do not have a glaze, they do not have a PEI rating, but can be installed anywhere - interior or exterior. However, unglazed tiles are more susceptible to staining and mold. It is not advised to install these products in wet areas, unless the tile will be maintained with a penetrating sealer on a regular basis.

What look do you want?

The shading and texture of the product are other factors to consider. Do you want tiles with a smooth surface or a rough, textured surface? Do you want the tiles to all look the same, or have some or a lot of variation for a unique installation? Whatever the look you decide, keep in mind that shade variation is inherent in all fired products. Many tiles are deliberately produced with a wide shade variation in order to capture the natural beauty of the product.

Shade and Texture Index

Low

Moderate

High

Very High

Shade Variation

Shade Variation

Shade Variation

Shade Variation

LSV

Differences among pieces from the same production run are minimal.

MSV

Clearly distinguishable texture and/or pattern within similar colors.

HSV

While the colors present on a single piece of tile will be indicative of the colors to be expected on the other tiles, the amount of colors on each piece may vary significantly.

VHSV

Random color differences from tile to tile, so that one tile may have totally different colors from that on other tiles. Thus, the final installation will be unique.

NOTE: Shade variation is an inherent characteristic of ceramic tile. Always make color selection from a product sample. Since the shipment may vary from samples, please inspect the entire shipment before installing. During installation, cartons must be mixed. Installation constitutes acceptance of the product.