Tile Flooring - Grade Breakdown & Flooring Types
Mosaic, Porcelain, Quarry & Terra-Cotta Tiles
Tile flooring is not a new phenomenon but is one that is going through a major increase in popularity. Manufacturers are now able to combine elegance and class with sought after attributes such as low maintenance, high durability, and hygiene.
The key with tile flooring is to make sure that the product selected will be suitable for the intended use. In other words we have to be sure the tile is durable enough to survive the intended conditions. To safeguard consumers from making the wrong choice manufacturers grade tiles using a five point P.E.I (Porcelain Enamel Institute) guide. A breakdown of this is given below.
Tile Flooring Grades
- Grade One - Ideal for bathrooms - where soft foot wear is prominent
- Grade Two - Ideal for standard residential traffic - excluding kitchens and entrance ways where traffic would be higher than normal.
- Grade Three - Suited for both residential and light commercial areas.
- Grade Four - Designed for commercial and light institutional facilities i.e. hotels and health resorts.
- Grade Five - Best suited for heavy traffic areas where there could even be a chance of regular water spillage - shopping malls and fast food outlets.
* Please note that this table only gauges tile durability and has no bearing on price or quality.
Types of Tile Flooring Available
1. Mosaic Tiles: These are no bigger than six inches square in area - so not very big. Mosaic tiles come fixed on a latex mesh and /or punctured paper. The major benefit of these little guys is that they are very dense and durable as well as having a thick glaze that is resistant to near every stain. Showers are a popular setting for these tiles because their size lets them more easily follow the lay of the floor and because there are so many joints they provide some traction thus having greater slip-proof properties.
2. Porcelain Floor Tiles: These are composed of similar clays and silts that are used to produce china. The clays used can accommodate high firing temperatures which produce a highly durable, robust, strong and attractive tile. Porcelain can have three finishes - plain, rough or polished and each is just as resistant to staining. These qualities make this material suitable for both commercial and residential flooring applications.
3. Quarry Tiles: Are typically untreated (not glazed) and are produced from shale and clays. The fact that this type of tiled flooring is untreated means it provides a better grip surface. With regards to dimensions they are generally thick and dense which makes them ideal and well suited to heavy commercial and institutional facilities. The one draw back is that colors are restricted to mainly very earthy shades - although some manufacturers do go to lengths to incorporate dyes into the clay.
4. Terra-Cotta Tiles: Are a firm outdoor favorite and can be man or machine made. The machine made ones are a lot denser. A well known man made tile is the Saltillo which can typically have animal track marks imprinted on it. Such tiles are very porous and as a result are prone to easy staining; they therefore need to be finished with a wax.