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Tile Frequently Asked Questions

People wonder about a number of things when they are looking to use tiles for a surface. Tiling materials can be confusing if you overlook the nuances that define their proper uses and maintenance. This page is dedicated to providing you with answers to frequently asked questions about tile. It also includes some information about rating systems.

How long does ceramic tile last?

Ceramic tile is a very durable material when subjected to normal household use. If properly cared for, ceramic tile flooring will last for several decades and even longer. It is safe to say that with the proper care and maintenance of ceramic tile, you will tire of the color before it wears out or needs replacing.

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What types of finish are available on tile?

There are a number of finishes use for tile and there are a range of colors too. Some the more popular finishes of tile include the following:

  • Polished
  • Shiny
  • Satin
  • Matte
  • Natural

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What is rectified tile?

Tiles are considered rectified when they are put through a process referred to as grinding. This process trims each piece to the exact same dimensions. This process makes the assembly aesthetically pleasing.

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What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tile?

Ceramic tile and porcelain tile are similar with some differences that are not readily noticeable. Both materials are very durable and last a long time. As a rule, porcelain is denser than ceramic and is water and stain resistant. Yet, they are a bit more expensive too.

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What can tiles be used for?

Tiling surfaces is a broad subject because tiles can be used for covering a wide range of surfaces. SOme the surfaces that are covered using tile are:

  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Fireplaces
  • Backsplashes
  • Countertops
  • Hearths
  • Showers

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Are all tiles the same?

Not all tiles are the same. They differ in characteristics and durability. Thus, it is important that you select the proper tile for the application for which you plan to cover. For example, floor tile needs to be more durable than wall tile. A lighter weight option works better on walls although not required. Density affects the durability of the material and by extension, the surface as well.

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How can I tell where a tile can be installed?

You can determine where tiles may be installed be looking at their wear rating. Wear ratings indicate the applications in which tiling may be used. Here is a table showing wear ratings:

Rating Application
1 Walls only.
2 Light residential areas except kitchens.
3 All residential applications.
4 All residential and light commercial applications.
5 All residential commercial applications including heavy traffic areas.
6 Stone applications.

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Are tiles non-slip?

Each tile will have its own degree of slip resistance. This characteristic of the tile is measured and communicated using the dynamic friction coefficient. These indices are grouped in classes and the class indicates where the tile may be safely used.

  • Class I - Having a coefficient of less than 0.4.
  • Class II - Having a coefficient of greater than 0.4.

Class I tiles are strictly for indoor use and Class II tiles are able to be used for shower floors and may be used outdoors.

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Is there a way of rating certain tiles?

Yes there is. The Porcelain Enamel Institute uses a rating system that describes the characteristic properties of tiles regarding the durability and hardness. This PEI rating can be used to determine the best tile for a particular project and which is best for a certain area. PEI rating chart is as follows:

PEI Location Application
0 Wall These tiles should not be used on floors.
1 Floor Very light-wear surfaces without direct access from exterior areas. (e.g. bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.)
2 Floor Light-wear areas that do not receive a lot of traffic (excluding kitchen entrances).
3 Floor Light to moderate traffic areas such as kitchens, hallways, and balconies.
4 Floor Moderate to heavy traffic. Suitable for all residential applications and medium commercial to light institutional.
5 Floor Heavy to extra heavy traffic for all residential and heavy commercial, industrial, and institutional workspaces.

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What should I clean tile with?

The cleaner you choose to clean your tile with will depend on the type of substance you are trying to remove. For regular cleaning, using a pH neutral, streak-free cleaner will do the trick. However, there are occasions where extraordinary cleaning must be done because of the substance being removed. Some substances respond well to acidic cleaners and cleaning others with alkaline detergents seem to work better.

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Booster Porcelain Ceramic Cleaner Booster Porcelain Ceramic Cleaner

Cleaning detergent for use on porcelain, ceramic, and other sintered materials that removes a number of substances.

List Price: $10.31
4" Copper Core 4" Copper Core

4" copper core diamond blade for heat dissapation and a continuous rim designed to cut various materials like porcelain.

List Price: $25.02
6" Diamond Porcelain Blade 6" Diamond Porcelain Blade

6 inch diamond porcelain blade with mesh design and thin kerf that is made for cutting porcelain and ceramic material cleanly.

List Price: $45.11
StrongEdge 45 Knife Grade 1.5 Qt Set StrongEdge 45 Knife Grade 1.5 Qt Set

StrongEdge is the strongest clear, flowing epoxy specifically designed for fabrication and lamination and won't delaminate.

List Price: $45.46

1" Weramic CNC Core Bit 1/2 Gas 1" Weramic CNC Core Bit 1/2 Gas

Weramic 1/2 Gas CNC Core bits have been designed specifically for large porcelain panel and ultra compact sintered stone materials.

List Price: $84.00
14" Ceramic & Porcelain Blade 14" Ceramic & Porcelain Blade

14" ceramic and porcelain bridge saw blade for cutting sintered materials including ceramics, porcelains, and other sintered materials.

List Price: $259.05