Ceramic and Porcelain tile are very popular flooring solutions in Florida.  Sand, dirt and other substances tracked in by people and pets clean up fairly easily. Tile can feel cool to walk on in the heat of summer. Pets often like to lounge on tile for that reason. There are so many sizes and patterns to choose from, but it is important to know that not all tiles are made for all applications.

All tiles have a PEI rating. The rating was derived by the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) to rate the strength of the glaze against wear and scratches.The rating system ranges from a 1 – least resistant to a 5 – most resistant.Testing is done on a machine that utilizes a carbide wheel and weights for even pressure that is placed on the tile. As the wheel turns, the number of revolutions it takes to penetrate the glaze of the tile is recorded.

PEI Class 1 Rating (No foot traffic) –

 Recommended for wall use inresidential and commercial applications only.

PEI Class 2 Rating (Light traffic) –

 Recommended for both wall use and bathroom floor applications only.

PEI Class 3 Rating (Light to moderate traffic) -

 Recommended for countertops, walls and floors where normal foot trafficis expected.

PEI Class 4 Rating (Moderate to heavy traffic) -

Recommended for all residential applications as well as medium commercial and light institutional.

PEI Class 5 Rating (Heavy to extra heavy traffic) -

Recommended for all residential as well as heavy commercial and institutional applications.

In addition to the PEI ratings, consumers should be aware of the difference between Ceramic and Porcelain tile. Ceramic tile generally has a red or white clay color structure with the pattern of tile you see glazed on top. If this tile is chipped, you will see the color underneath.

Porcelain tile is more dense. The color goes all the way through so that if it were to chip, it won’t show as blatantly as ceramic. Additionally, thru-color body porcelain is the most dense and the color and texture go all the way through. While porcelain usually cost more than ceramic it can be a worthwhile investment in a beautiful floor.

An other consideration is tiling outdoors on a porch or patio. Not all tiles are rated frost proof which help prevent cracking from very cold weather. This is less of situation in Florida than in other states, but does happen. Porcelain tiles are more suited for outdoor use.

Floor tiles range vary from 8 x 8, 12 x 12, on up to 24 x 24 inch. The larger tiles, mostly 16x 16 and 18 x 18 are very popular and they visually expand the look of the room. However, the larger the tiles the more level the floor needs to be for a quality installation.

A little bit of information will go a long way in selecting the perfect tile solution that will be beautiful for years to come.