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What you need to know before purchasing wall or floor tile

Tile can be an awesomely beautiful and durable choice for walls and floors.  This can apply to lobbies, locker rooms, shower areas, and even exterior walls.  Tile can appear to be wood, stone, marble, silk, linen, and even cotton.

Wall Tile on Columns and Reception Desk

Exterior Wall Tile

These are key points to consider before any tile selection

1. What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles? 

Porcelain is a denser tile and therefore more durable.  It also is impervious to water absorption, a must for long-term water exposure.  Most porcelain tiles have what is called – “through body composition” which means there is a uniform color of the material throughout and small chips may not be as noticeable as ceramic.  The bottom line – is for most commercial projects use only porcelain tile.

2. How do you pick the best non-slip tile?

Have you ever seen a locker room and shower area with mats on the floor to prevent slipping?  Very few tile products that are rated as “non-slip” are good enough to use in a shower area.  Your best choice will often be a tile rated for indoor and outdoor areas such as patios or pool decks.  It will have a wet DCOF range (dynamic coefficient of friction) of 60-70.  Also, some tile products can be ordered with a “textured finish” which can work well. The traditional 2”x2” – 12”x12” mesh product provides many more grout lines which add to the non-slip capability but often this is not the look or style that may be desired.  Being able to pitch a tile floor to a drain is also key in reducing slippage. Usually, tiles bigger than 6”x6” cannot be properly pitched to a drain.

Learn 5 Slip Resistance Categories 

The ANSI A326.3 divides slip resistance into five categories: 

  • ID (Interior, Dry) 
  • IW (Interior, Wet) 
  • IW+ (Interior, Wet Plus) 
  • EW (Exterior, Wet) 
  • O/G (Oils/Greases) 

These categories break down generally how you would expect: ID flooring is designed for indoor areas with minimal-to-no water exposure, while EW flooring is designed for outdoor areas that are expected to get wet. 

The trickiest distinction is probably the difference between IW and IW+. The former is designed for floors that will get wet regularly, though they’re unlikely to get wet constantly (e.g., kitchen floors, grocery store floors). The latter is designed for floors that are designed to get wet constantly during use (e.g., shower floors, locker room floors). 

O/G is a specialty category designed for car shops, commercial kitchens, and any other flooring that needs to withstand exposure to oil or grease. 

3. What is rectified tile? 

A tile that has been precisely ground and machined to give a near-perfect edge allowing for thinner grout lines and a cleaner look.

4. What is the best grout to use? 

Epoxy grout is considered to be a superior choice for any kind of tile project. Epoxy grout is waterproof, durable, doesn’t need to be sealed, is stain and chemical-resistant, and can withstand high traffic areas.

Beautiful non-Slip Floor Tile Choices:

Tile has durability and beauty like very few finishes.  A little attention to detail in your choices will be appreciated by your customers now and long into the future. See some examples below.

If you have any questions on your design project, email or contact us.

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