Choosing the right tile is important. How your tiles look from a design perspective along with the wearability are vital components to consider when making your tile choices.
The PEI rating system for ceramic tiles in place today is an extremely reliable gauge for consumers to use in determining wear expectations for a particular tile choice. The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) has developed a rating scale that can effectively guide consumers through the sometimes arduous process of choosing the right tile.
PEI Ratings and suggestions for usage:
PEI Rating 1 – Suitable for floors that are walked on with soft footwear or bare feet. Only in areas that are not subject to scratching dirt and do not have direct access from outside. (e.g. domestic en-suite bathrooms)
PEI Rating 2 – Suitable for areas that are walked on with soft soled or normal footwear. On residential floors in living areas not subject to harsh shoes or heavy traffic. Access must be after foot traffic has passed over a carpet or rug. Not for kitchen floors or entrance ways.
PEI Rating 3 – Suitable for light residential floor areas. Including kitchens, corridors, halls. Where normal footwear is used without direct external access. Entry areas should be protected by mats to restrict abrasive soils and dirt from being trodden onto surface.
PEI Rating 4 – Suitable for heavy residential or light commercial floor areas. Areas that are subject to considerable traffic. This would include entrances, workrooms, restaurants, sales rooms and any area in a domestic home. Where normal footwear is used.
PEI Rating 5 – This is the maximum resistance against footwear traffic available. Will be suitable for all heavy duty floor areas. Any domestic use or commercial application. Shopping centre, airport terminals or any other high traffic harsh environment.
Always remember though, a floor tile can be used on a wall, but never use a wall tile on a floor.