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Porcelain tile is a great choice for both indoors and outdoors, residential and commercial floors. It is strong, durable, and can last decades.

Material

Porcelain tile is generally made by pressing porcelain clays, which results in a tile that's impervious, dense, and smooth with a sharp formed face. Porcelain tiles have a much lower water absorption rate when compared to ceramic tiles, making them more frost resistant.. Glazed porcelain tiles are more wear and damage-resistance than ceramic tiles, making them suitable for residential and light commercial use.

Stain Resistance

To enhance resistance to stains, tiles can be glazed. In the glazing process the porcelain tiles are coated with a liquid glass that is baked onto the surface of the clay. In addition to protecting the porcelain tile from staining, the glaze also allows an unlimited array of colors and designs to be added to the tile.

Full-Body Tiles for Commercial Use

Porcelain tile whose color runs all the way through the tile, rather than just being baked onto the surface, are called full-body tiles. Since the color extends throughout the tile, these porcelain tiles do not show wear, making them ideal for commercial applications.

Porcelain Tile Ratings

The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) has developed a rating scale that can effectively guide you through the process of choosing the right tile for any particular application. This rating system is provided by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

PEI Class 5 Rating (Heavy to extra heavy traffic) - Recommended for all residential as well as heavy commercial and institutional applications.

PEI Class 4 Rating (Moderate to heavy traffic) - Recommended for all residential applications as well as medium commercial and light institutional.

PEI Class 3 Rating (Light to moderate traffic) - Recommended for countertops, walls, and floors where normal foot traffic is expected.

PEI Class 2 Rating (Light traffic) - Recommended for both wall use and bathroom floor applications.

PEI Class 1 Rating (No foot traffic) - Recommended for wall use only in residential and commercial applications.

Durability

If you drop a heavy iron skillet on equally rated ceramic and porcelain tiles, you will probably chip both. Because of the difference in density, there may be some things that may chip one or the other, but the difference is negligible.

Don’t do this to Porcelain Tiles!

DON'T use top sealers such as floor finishes. These types of floor sealers will change the appearance of the tile. When a tile is selected for the coefficient of friction values, the values may be changed by the application of the sealer. Rather than improving the ability to maintain the surface, top sealers will increase the maintenance requirement of the porcelain tiles. Also keep in mind that top-coating sealers will also show traffic patterns as the sealer becomes scratched or wears away. Some sealers may even peel off.

Other Problems with Top-Coating

Porcelain tile problems most frequently encountered with the use of top-coating sealers:

- Multiple coats of the top sealer can cause discoloration of the tile.

- Wear patterns are easily developed over time.

- If the porcelain tile sealer is improperly applied, it can turn to a milky-white color.

- When these problems occur, the sealer must be stripped from the tile and a new coat of sealer re- applied; this will cost you more money.

- Not cleaning the porcelain tile before it is sealed will cause the floor to look hazy.

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