Published on Saturday, June 27th, 2020
When it comes to finding the best tile for your space, there are a lot of things to consider. From hardness to porosity, to size, texture, and color – it can be overwhelming. The first thing to consider is the location of where you will be placing tile. Bathrooms, kitchens, or elsewhere, will affect your choice. To better understand which tile is best for your space, we’ve compiled a list of everything to consider before making your purchase.
It’s understandable that your first thought is how the tile is going to look. However, durability is perhaps the most important quality of your tile. Consider this: when it’s time for spring cleaning, tile installation isn’t usually something people do every year. You will want a tile flooring that can withstand wear and tear for years.
Durability ratings are issued by the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) and are based on rigorous laboratory testing, therefore, you can use this scale to select the best tile for your space. As you can imagine, PEI 1 (Class I) is the most fragile while PEI 5 is the most resistant. Not all tile flooring is rated using this system, like natural stone for example, because it’s not human-made.
Class I: No foot traffic. Best for wall-only application.
Class II: Light traffic only with no scratching dirt or wall applications. For example, bathrooms and bedrooms without exterior access.
Class III: Best for light to moderate traffic, countertops, and walls. For example, all rooms of the house except for kitchens, halls, entryways, and other areas with high foot traffic.
Class IV: Great for moderate to heavy traffic. Often said to be the best floor tiles to use as they harness both beauty and function.
Class V: As you may guess, this class is best for heavy to extra heavy traffic and works well as exposure to scratching dirt. As far as durability, PEI 5 can work for any room in the house as well as commercial spaces.
Think about the location of where your tile will go. The answer to this question will narrow down the type of tile that makes sense for your project. Porosity is determined by the ratio of air holes to solids in a tile, which impacts the amount of water it absorbs. Here are Porosity Classifications:
Impervious: Water absorption of 0.5 percent or less – best for the kitchen and bathrooms.
Vitreous: Water absorption of 0.5-3 percent.
Semi Vitreous: Water absorption of 3-7 percent.
Non-Vitreous: Water absorption of more than 7 percent and not recommended for floor use.
For example, the kitchen and bathroom usually require a waterproof tile like ceramic or glass for the walls. In your living room or any room that gets heavy foot traffic, you would want ceramic, luxury vinyl plank, or porcelain because these are more durable materials.
Tile material comes in various sizes so finding a size that will fit your particular project shouldn’t be a problem. When sizing tile to a room, keep in mind that large floor tiles can make the room appear larger because there are less visible grout lines to break the pattern. Small tiles can create a crowded look, so they are often best in rooms with a minimalistic design.
With so many options out there, tile is a product you need to actually touch and feel before purchasing. Textured or Matte tiles are the less slippery options to smooth or shiny models. This is an important thing to keep in mind especially in areas with a high chance of moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Tiles that mock wood flooring is extremely durable and beautiful, marble tiles are exquisite, and stone tiles can offer a rougher look, however, can work in almost any setting when used properly. When it doubt, choose a neutral color with minimal texture. Although, don’t be afraid to take bold, decorative moves with your space. Just be sure to be thoughtful.
The color you choose can only be right for you, but there are a few basic rules to keep in mind.
While tile may appear identical from piece to piece, each tile will have color and shade variation. It’s important to lay out a few pieces to understand the true design. If you have any questions or concerns about your tile selection, feel free to speak with one of our experts.
Last but not least, a few bonus tips.
Grout is available in a variety of colors. You can choose to match the grout to the color of the tile or choose a contrasting color for a more dramatic look. Choosing a grout color that matches your tile floor offers a clean, cohesive look.
Glass tile is prone to water spots but doesn’t hold dirt. Natural stone is one of the hardest materials to clean because it holds dirt and grime within its pores. Ceramic and porcelain are very easy to clean but like natural stone, be sure to check if your chosen model needs to be sealed.
Wherever you are in your journey for finding the best tile for your space, the flooring experts at Scottsdale Flooring America are here for you.