You’re ready to start your kitchen remodel project or bathroom remodel project. In a considerable amount of cases, this can involve the use of tile on either floors or walls. You head to your nearest tile store to browse your possibilities. Suddenly, you find yourself with more choices of material than you ever imagined.
The choices seem endless: ceramic, porcelain, travertine, marble and glass. Along with the type of finish on the product, this can make for difficult decisions, unless you have the facts concerning the differences in each product. In this blog article, I will guide you as to the differences of the products and the application guidelines for each.
Let’s begin with ceramic tile verses porcelain tile.
- Ceramic tile uses red clay or white clay.
- It is kiln-fired at a specific temperature range which is lower than temperature ranges for porcelain tile and for a shorter period of time.
- Is more porous and less durable than porcelain tile.
- Its use is best in low traffic as well as dry applications.
- Typically has a PEI rating of 0-3. (PEI ratings are shown below.)
- Porcelain tile uses porcelain clay.
- The clay becomes denser and less porous as it is compressed.
- The kiln-fired process is then used at a higher temperature and for a longer time frame than ceramic tile.
- This process makes for a much harder and less porous tile.
- Its use is quite a bit more varied with bathroom and kitchen remodeling applications at the top of the list.
- Typically, porcelain tile have a PEI rating of five. which means they can be used for virtually any residential application.
PEI Ratings (1-5)
PEI 1. — No foot traffic use.
This is for Wall use only in residential and commercial applications. This type tile is not a good choice for foot traffic. Shower surrounds are a typical PEI-1 tile.
PEI 2. — Light traffic use.
Wall and flooring areas that receive little traffic are good choices here. This includes a residential bathroom.
PEI 3. — Light to moderate traffic.
PEI-3 rated tiles are best suite for walls and floors that receive normal foot traffic. This is a good, general purpose tile for all residential kitchen remodeling projects as well as bathroom remodel projects. This is not recommended for commercial use.
PEI 4. — Moderate to heavy traffic.
All residential applications including kitchen remodeling projects, as well as medium commercial and light institutional work with PEI-5 rated tile.
PEI 5. – Heavy to extra heavy traffic.
For use in all residential and heavy commercial and institutional foot traffic applications. Flooring is the application for this grade of tile . It is rarely attractive enough for interior residential applications.
The bottom line is to always use porcelain tile on your floor in your kitchen remodel area. Ceramic tile is too easy to break when dropping pans or glasses. Porcelain tile is much better choice for this application.
When you get to the back splash area in your kitchen remodel, the choices increase. The list still includes both porcelain and ceramic tile, with the addition of natural stone in the tumbled variety, as well as glass tile. The style changes somewhat with the subway tile taking the lead for most back splash applications. The subway tiles can be from 5″ to 12″ long and typically laid in a brick pattern. Many customers also use accent tile to compliment their back plash. This is a personal choice.