Porcelain tiles offer many benefits that you understandably want to bring into your home. They are well-known for their durability and overall resistance to wear. They are moisture-resistant, easy to clean and available in numerous colors and styles. While these general qualities apply to all porcelain tiles, there are significant differences between the many products on the market today. One of the factors that you should pay attention to as you compare the options is the PEI rating.
What Is a PEI Rating?
The Porcelain Enamel Institute has established a universal rating system that helps consumers understand the features and qualities of the different products that they may be interested in purchasing. The PEI rating specifically is determined through a rotary abrasion testing machine. As the machine’s steel ball bearings run across the surface of the product, an experienced professional observes the impact on the tile. The PEI rating measures how resistant the product’s surface is to abrasion. Because of this, the PEI rating is only used to rate the enamel glazing’s wear layer on the surface. The rating will not indicate how slippery the tile is or its overall strength.
A Closer Look at the Rating System
Porcelain tile can be used in residential and commercial properties on a variety of surfaces. It is commonly used on walls and shower surrounds, on counter tops and on floors. The PEI rating class begins with a 0-rating, which is best-suited for light-duty applications in homes. Tile with this rating should only be used on walls and is not practical for counters or walls. If you step up to a 1-rating product, the tile is suitable for use on walls in both residential and commercial buildings. It may also be used in shower surrounds. With a PEI rating class of 2, the tile is suitable for walls and for low-traffic residential floors. Commonly, tile with this rating is used on bathroom floors. The PEI rating class of 3 is practical for all surfaces in the home that receive moderate traffic. Tile with a PEI rating of 4 is suitable for any type of residential use as well as for light commercial use. The top tile rating of 5 is practical for high-traffic areas in homes and commercial buildings. Generally, it lacks the decorative appeal that many people desire in their homes. Because of this, it is most commonly used in commercial areas.
How to Use the PEI Rating When
While the PEI rating is a universal standard that can be used by all tile manufacturers, some companies do not publish their ratings. There is also not a published library that consumers can use to research PEI ratings. Therefore, you should initially search for this important rating on the product’s specifications sheet before making a purchase. If a tile manufacturer has chosen to forego publishing this information, it may have a recommendation regarding the location and room type that it should be used in.
Choosing the Right Tile Rating for Your Next Project
The PEI rating should be analyzed in conjunction with slip resistance and strength as you prepare to make your purchase. Generally, homeowners choose different tiles for all of the various surfaces that they are focusing on. For example, the tiles that are installed on a bathroom floor will not be used on the shower surround. If you want to install the same tile flooring throughout the home, choose the highest PEI rating that is suitable for the most high-traffic area that will be covered.
Finding New Tile for Your Home
Regardless of where you intend to install your new tile, you understandably want to find attractive tile that is well-suited for your décor. While finding tile that has the right look for your home is important, other factors must be considered. If the tile will be installed on a counter or on the floor, it should be strong enough to resist damage related to impact or force if something falls on it. Flooring also should have some texture to reduce the risk of slipping accidents.
While it is easy to assume that texture, color and style are the most important factors to pay attention to when selecting tile, you can see that other factors must be considered as well. You understandably want your new tile to look great in your home for many years regardless of where it is installed. With this in mind, research the PEI rating for each product that you are seriously considering installing in your home. By doing so, you can make a smart material selection that provides beauty and functionality for years to come