Comparison of Flooring Materials #4 – Floor Tiles

Image source: FloorAndDecor.com

So far in the series we’ve talked about pros and cons of:

Ceramic floor tiles are yet another type of popular flooring materials.

The two types you can find in stores are ceramic and porcelain (which is in fact a type of ceramic). Both are highly durable and have very good heat conduction (they are perfect for underfloor heating but can be unpleasantly cold when it’s switched off – especially next to tarrace doors). Both can be glazed and thus can resemble wood, stone or be covered with patterns.

The most important differences between the two are:

  • water impermeability – due to its density, porcelain is practically impermeable to water (can take water of only 0.5% of its volume). Other ceramic tiles need to be glazed to gain the same quality.
  • price – porcelain is more expensive
  • porcelain tiles can be used both outside and inside whereas ceramic is better to be used indoors
  • ceramic tiles are easier to cut making them a better choice for DIY passionates

However, regardless of what material you decide on, when choosing tiles from a particular manufacturer you need to pay attention to their parameters. Depending on the type, they differ in durability, abrasion class, resistance to dirt or moisture.

Abrasion

As far as abrasion is concerned, tiles are divided into 5 types but only 3 of them are suitable for kitchens.
PEI 1 – these are tiles with excessive abrasion and are not suitable for the floor. They are much better suited for walls.
PEI 2 – due to excessive abrasion, this type of tiles can be laid on the floor only in very rarely used places
PEI 3 – tiles with this abrasion class are suitable for rooms where soft-soled or no shoes are used (e.g. bathroom).
PEI 4 – such tiles are suitable for all rooms in an apartment
PEI 5 – tiles of the highest abrasion class can be used in public buildings and places where hard-bottomed shoes are used, such as corridors. One can walk on them in shoes, use trolleys and clean by floor cleaning machines.

Anti-slip property

The letter R is used to mark the anti-slip properties of tiles, which should be R8 in damp rooms.
The anti-slip properties can be achieved in two ways – through convex and concave patterns on the tile and through the appropriate glazing.

Glazed and unglazed surfaces

Ceramic tiles can be purchased with glazed and unglazed surfaces (which can also be polished making them more slippery).

The main advantage of unglazed ceramic tile is the fact that they are homogeneous and, as a result, minor damage and chips are less visible on such tiles. However they are more difficult to maintain and take more water.

Obviously, chips are quite well visible on glazed tiles. But then again glazing makes them more resistant to water and easier to clean.