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How to Determine the Surface Durability of Tile

by Roger

For any tile you choose you want to make sure that the surface is durable enough to last in that particular area. This is determined by using what is called the PEI, or Porcelain Enamel Institute, rating of your tile. The PEI rating is a number from 0 to 5 with a 5 being the most durable.

This scale is used by most tile manufacturers to determine the wear durability and should be printed on the box of tile somewhere. If it is not you can always contact your tile manufacturer for the information.

General guidelines for proper installation areas are as follows:

  • Group I: Tile suitable only for residential or commercial walls. Not suitable or recommended for foot traffic.
  • Group II: Tile suitable for general light residential traffic. Not recommended for kitchens, entryways, heavily used bathroom floors or any other area subject to continuous use foot traffic.
  • Group III: Tile suitable for all residential and light use commercial foot traffic areas.
  • Group IV: Tile suited to all residential, medium commercial, and light industrial applications such as restaurants, hotels, and hospital lobbies.
  • Group V: Tile suitable for all residential, heavy commercial, and industrial applications such as airports, malls, and subways.

The particular group number or PEI rating is a measure of the durability of the tile surface only. It does not determine the slip resistance, overall strength, moisture absorption, or quality of the tile itself, only the quality and durability of the surface or glaze. For most residential flooring applications it is always best to go with a PEI rating of three or higher, although a two is suitable for some applications.

By taking the PEI rating into consideration when choosing your tile you can ensure you have a properly durable tile for your particular installation.

The PEI rating is only one aspect to consider when choosing your tile. There are a few others which must be taken into account for an overall proper tile choice. You can always simply walk in someplace and pick out a tile without utilizing the available information, however, taking advantage of the different rating systems ensures a proper choice for lasting durability of your tile installation.

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