Expert answers to five of the most frequently asked tile questions
Natural stone and porcelain tiles can make a home feel elegant and refined. In a commercial setting, tile provides a strong, attractive foundation that can hold up to wear and tear, while really making a statement about the company’s brand.
Planning a tile installation yourself can also be a lot of fun. From choosing the materials, textures and designs, to grouting a finished mosaic, tile installation is a worthwhile project that adds value and prestige to an interior space.
Not everyone is an expert on the subject, however. That's why we spoke to a product and design expert for Mission Stone & Tile to help answer five of the most frequently asked tile questions.
1. What is a PEI rating?
The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) gives glazed floor tiles a rating between one and five, indicating the material's suitability for different environments. The higher the rating, the more durable the glaze. The PEI rating only applies to glazed porcelain tiles.
●Class 1: Not suitable for foot traffic. Walls only.
●Class 2: Only suitable for light traffic, such as a residential bathroom.
●Class 3: Suitable for moderate residential traffic.
●Class 4: Suitable for heavier residential and commercial traffic. Unlikely to develop a patina.
●Class 5: Suitable for any residential or commercial use. Very unlikely to develop a patina.
A high PEI rating means a tile is resistant to patinas and scratches, but it's not indestructible.
Movement in the subfloor can crack the body of the tile. Proper installation will mitigate that risk.
2. Which materials will develop a patina over time?
Some types of natural stone, such as marble or limestone, will change over time. The tread of heavy foot traffic will eventually age marble from polished to honed and from honed to more honed.
In general, porcelain tiles will not develop a patina, as they are engineered to be more abrasion resistant. When you're looking for a material that won't change much over the years, porcelain tile is a great option. Plus, there are a number of aged styles that are designed to be artisanal, or have a slight patina. These won't change much in appearance once installed, and will appeal to those desiring a more weathered aesthetic.
3. Are floor and wall tiles interchangeable?
When installing tiles, you should always pay attention to the material's ratings. Floor tiles tend to have a higher resistance rating, making them suitable for most surfaces. The inverse, however, is not always true, meaning that, unless a wall tile is explicitly labeled as such, it shouldn't be used as flooring.
Additionally, while some ceramic tiles can be used for both walls and floors, you may want to choose porcelain tile over ceramic tile for any area that has heavier foot traffic. This is because porcelain tiles are fired at extremely high temperatures with higher concentrations of harder and finer minerals, making them more dense than non-porcelain ceramic varieties.
4. Which materials convey a sense of luxury?
Who doesn't want their home to feel luxurious? After a long day at the office, coming home to a well-designed environment can make it easier for the day's stress to melt away. Stylized porcelain is a good option, but natural stone just can't be beat.
When it comes to luxury, marble is a classic material - and for a good reason. Throughout the centuries, people have been drawn to the texture and aesthetic appeal of white marble with soft, flowing swirls. It evokes images of history's greatest buildings, from the stately Palace of Versailles to the sacred Taj Mahal.
If you're looking for a natural stone look at a less expensive pricepoint, you may want to consider porcelain tile with the (surprisingly realistic) look of stone.
5. What tile trends have emerged over the past decade?
In avant-garde communities, hexagon tile mosaics began to emerge as a trend a decade ago. Today, advancements in manufacturing technologies have made it possible to fabricate larger hexagon tiles.
Designers use hexagons and unique textures to create eye-catching tiles. Chevrons and herringbone designs have become equally intriguing.
Selecting tile for your next project should be fun. To learn more about the unique styles at affordable prices, visit missionstonetile.com