How to Read Tile Label
Purchasing tile can be challenging. There is a lot more to be considered when buying tile then finding a color and pattern that will work in your room. Every tile has an intended use and it is recommended to read the label before the final choice is made to ensure the tile serve its purpose. Understanding the label will go a long way and it may even save you money. But how to read it?
Most of the labels will contain 5 rating categories. Some of the manufacturers add more to provide even more information about their products. The most common categories are:
- Grade/ Classification
- PEI rating / Wear rating
- Water absorption
- Slip resistance
- Tone & Frost
Let’s examine the label even further.
Most manufacturers use 3 grade categories.
Grade 1 is the highest quality; usually offering 5 or less percent of the tiles with slight differences in color or flaws in the enamel. Recommended for walls or floors.
Grade 2 is similar to Grade 1; however, grade 2 will most often have more defects or imperfections and will be less expensive then grade 1. Recommended for walls or floors.
Grade 3 is the lowest quality product. Usually thinnest tiles, intended for walls with most possible imperfections and differences in color.
PEI rating (Wear rating) *
I and II – indicates the lowest resistance. These products are not intended for floors.
III – this grade indicates moderate resistance and are suitable for all residential uses.
IV– high resistance. These types of tiles can be used for all residential and some light commercial projects.
IV+ – means the highest resistance and is suitable not only on all residential projects but also on all commercials uses and heavy traffic areas.
*PEI Ratings apply to glazed ceramic tiles only.
Non-vitreous (low dense) – High absorption rate. More than 7 % of water is being absorbed. These types of tiles are not suitable for outdoor use or for room with a lot of moisture.
Semi-vitreous (Medium dense) – Moderate absorption rate. With this types of materials, 3 to 7 % of water is being absorbet. Therefore, these products are not recommended for outdoor use or wet rooms.
Vitreous (High dense) – This type oftiles has low absorption rate, .5 to 3 %; and are suitable for outdoor use and wet areas.
Impervious (extremely dense) – Lowest absorption rate – .5 % or less. These products are suitable for all kind of projects – indoor and outdoor.
Slip Resistance ( C.O.F. – Coefficient of Friction)
Low numbers – indicate less friction, meaning the surface will be more slippery.
Higher numbers – indicate more friction, meaning the surface will be less slippery.
TIP: C.O.F. greater than .50 is usually recommended for standard residential uses; however, C.O.F. greater than .60 is required and used for all commercials applications.
Tone & Frost
Tone: This rating indicates variations in tone from one tile to another.
Frost: This rating informs the buyer if the particular product will withstand the changing weather, especially during the freeze-thaw cycle. This rating is helpful if the tiles that you are looking for are meant to be installed outdoor. Snowflake indicates tiles are frost-resistant.