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Expert Answers to Your Tile FAQs

Expert Answers to Your Tile FAQs

Planning a tile installation yourself? We know this can be a fun/challenging/exciting/awesome experience - from choosing the materials, textures, and designs, to grouting a finished mosaic – there is no doubt that it’s a worthwhile endeavor that will add value and prestige to your space.

HOWEVER, sometimes a project this important requires a bit of handholding.That's why we spoke to a product and design expert at Mission Stone & Tile.We asked them to outline the five most frequently asked questions they receive, plus how they answer each one. Here’s what they had to say:

FAQ #1:What is a PEI rating?

The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) gives glazed floor tiles a rating between one and five. This number indicates the material's suitability for different environments (ex: walls, floors, high traffic vs light traffic). The higher the rating, the more durable the glaze. The PEI rating only applies to glazed porcelain tiles.

Here’s what each rating means:

  • 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.
  • Class 5: Suitable for any residential or commercial use.

A high PEI rating means a tile is resistant to patinas and scratches but that doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. Movement in the subfloor can crack the body of the tile – but don’t fret - the proper installation will mitigate that risk. We know you will do your due diligence!

FAQ #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 even more honed. 

There are several aged styles that are designed to be artisanal or have a slight patina. These will appeal to you if you are looking for a more weathered aesthetic. Tiles that imitate the look of a material that has been exposed to the elements can give a space an earthy, natural, contemporary look.

There are TONS of floor tile designs that look great honed, but we understand if that is not the look you are trying to achieve. If you have the time, an interior design consultation can be totally illuminating if you’re curious about how to best utilize the look of a patina in your tile project OR which tiles work better for your personal style.

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. They won't change much in appearance once installed.

FAQ #3: Are floor and wall tiles interchangeable?

When installing tiles, you should always pay attention to the material's PEI rating (like we discussed above). Floor tiles tend to have a higher resistance rating, making them suitable for most surfaces. The inverse, however, is not always true. Unless a wall tile has application details that say it can withstand foot traffic, it should not 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 denser than non-porcelain ceramic varieties.

(P.S. Our friends at the spruce went into more detail on this topic. If you’re interested in knowing additional info, check this out!)

FAQ #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 price point, you may want to consider porcelain tile with the (surprisingly realistic) look of stone.

While you can do lots of looking around at your favorite online tile store, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick search for “tile flooring near me” so you can touch these materials and see the difference between them. Some things are just nice to do IRL!

FAQ #5:What tile trend is hot right now?

In avant-garde communities, hexagon tile mosaics began to emerge as a trend over a decade ago. Today, advancements in manufacturing technologies have made it possible to fabricate larger variations of hexagon tiles. Their popularity has skyrocketed and now you see hex a lot more – in a myriad of sizes, colors, & patterns. This trend is red hot & not going anywhere. 

Whether it’s traditional hexagon shape, or a more unique take on hex (like this elongated beveled beauty) you can be sure you’ll fall in love with some variation of this tile trend.

Designers have been using hexagons + unique textures to create eye-catching tiles. (Houzz has an excellent article on this. Check it out!)

Chevrons and herringbone designs have become equally intriguing. They can make your space look effortlessly chic - even though we know you will have put in a lot of effort 😊

Selecting tile for your next project should be fun – not stressful. We’re here to help! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions about your project. Dial 888.266.4925 or e-mail us at info@missionstonetile.com with any comments, questions, or quirky tales of home improvement. We’re excited to hear from you. Happy renovating!

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