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Where can we use porcelain tiles or ceramic tiles?

The Porcelain Enamel Institute rating, more commonly known as the PEI rating, is a great tool to help you determine the recommended use for the porcelain tiles or ceramic tiles.

All tiles will be classified with a PEI rating, although it is more common with porcelain floor tiles. In summary, the 5-scale rating is as follows:

• PEI 0 – No foot traffic (wall tile only)
• PEI 1 – Very light traffic (e.g bathroom)
• PEI 2 – Light traffic (e.g. bathroom and bedroom)
• PEI 3 – Light to moderate traffic (most domestic floors; no heavy appliances/traffic)
• PEI 4 – Moderate to heavy traffic (e.g. door entry, kitchen, balcony, some commercial)
• PEI 5 – Heavy traffic (all domestic/commercial uses with heavy abrasion/footfall)

Today, most ceramic floor tiles will carry a PEI rating from 3 to 4, with porcelain tile ranging from PEI 3 to 5. Our advice is to always check with a member of staff to confirm your intended use of a porcelain tile.

If you are needing a floor porcelain tile for a commercial project, discuss your requirements with a member of staff, however, it is recommended that you should look at a floor tile with a PEI rating of 5.


Ceramic tiles are very easy to work with: they can be scored, cut and nipped fairly easily with the right tools. Most DIY’ers, and certainly fixers, don’t have any problems.

As porcelain tile are denser and much hard wearing, they are generally heavier and harder to work with (cut, etc). The average DIY’er may find it more difficult to work with them, however, a professional fixer should have the right tools to help them do the job. Regardless, it may take more time compared to tiling the same area with ceramic tiles.

Whatever porcelain tiles you are fixing, it is imperative that you fix them with the right tile adhesive. See a member of staff for more specific advice.

Price Difference

You may expect porcelain tiles to be more expensive than ceramic tile, however, this is not always the case. Each type of tile can vary from one end of the price scale to the other. Look out for some fantastic deals on both types of tile in your nearest showroom.

The Future of The Tile Market

Many of the tiles available in the UK are manufactured overseas and imported, which is having an impact on tile trends/availability in Britain. In particular, there are a huge number of tile manufacturers located in Southern Europe, where Mediterranean climates prompt their local market to demand a wider range of outdoor porcelain tiles, where outdoor living spaces are popular (i.e. Spain and Italy).

Consequently, overseas porcelain tiles manufacturers have started to introduce a wider range of porcelain tiles, suitable for outdoor use, to satisfy their local markets: these ranges are subsequently imported into the UK.

It is therefore not uncommon in today’s market that a lot of porcelain tiles, even those at the cheaper end of the budget, are porcelain tiles. However, due to many of these ranges having a glazed finish, they have similar properties to porcelain tile, particularly if they have been manufactured to a PEI rating of 3 or 4.




  • TIME:2014-03-20 13:20
  • AUTHOR:Lilian Tan
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