Ceramic Tile PEI Scale

Know your PEI

The PEI Scale was established by the Porcelain Enamel Institute to help create standards consumers could rely on to help determine which tiles to buy for which purpose. The PEI rating is an indication of tile hardness and they are a valuable guide to tile choices for different projects. Both Ceramic and porcelain tiles are rated, but because of the natural hardness designed into porcelain most people seem to be more concerned about the PEI rating of ceramic tile. Use the right tile for the right surface and you'll be a happy consumer. The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) has a scale that was created to determine the resistance of an enameled surface in relation to the traffic and wear the surface will endure. Once a tile has been assigned a rating, tiles can be evaluated to better determine which tile to use for a given application. The PEI rating of ceramic tile is one factor to help ensure that the tile suggested is sufficient for the project.
The Porcelain Enamel Institute was founded in 1930 and has three primary objectives aimed at advancing porcelain enameling manufacturers and suppliers thereof:
1. To promote manufacturer's new products and their process improvements to manufacturing operations.
2. To provide general promotion of porcelain products.
3. To advance and protect the porcelain industry.
The PEI Scale, or PEI Rating, is a vital tool when deciding which tile is best for you because it classifies the ceramic surface in terms of how much wear the tile can bear without damaging its appearance.
•    CLASS 0: Tiles technically unsuitable for floors
•    CLASS 1 - Residential and commercial wall and bare foot traffic
•    CLASS 2 - Wall and residential bath floor, and soft soled traffic
•    CLASS 3 - All residential floors and light commercial floors
•    CLASS 4 - Medium commercial, light industrial and institutional, moderate soiling
•    CLASS 5 - Extra heavy traffic, abrasive dirt, chemically more resistant
While it is true that the higher the PEI rating, the greater the resistance of the enamel, the PEI floor rating is not the only factor that should be evaluated when choosing a tile.
Other factors to consider when choosing porcelain tile include:
a)    Consistent shape and dimension. If the tiles shape is irregular not only will it be difficult to keep straight grout lines but it will be difficult to install.
b)    Stain resistance and breaking strength are important in areas where items may be dropped or spilled on a regular basis such as a kitchen floor or possibly a bathroom.
c)    Abrasive hardness, chemical resistance, resistance to cracking, and freeze thaw resistance are all characteristics of tiles that are used for exterior applications such as exterior areas such as walkways and driveways.
d)    Texture is important in all areas. A smooth tile will work better on the wall of a shower while a slip-resistant tile would work great for the floor.

All these factors should be taken into consideration when selecting a tile for a specific area. The good thing is that with so many to choose from, there is sure to be the perfect tile for any location in your home.