How to Determine Tile Quality in Ceramic Floor Tiles

Planning on shopping around Perth for high-quality ceramic tiles? Before you do, you have to make sure the tiles fit your intended applications. Ceramic tiles are a popular flooring option in many Australian households due to their elegance and robustness. But not all ceramic tiles are created equal. Ceramic tiles vary in hardness, durability, slip-resistance, and shade variation, making it crucial that you understand how these qualities affect their overall performance.

Thankfully, there is a floor tile rating system that classifies ceramic tiles according to these qualities to help consumers like you make an informed purchase. Here’s how you can determine the quality of ceramic floor tiles by looking at the floor tile rating system.

Tile slip ratings
Ceramic tiles are often prized for their hardness and durability. But one of the main concerns against tiles is their slipperiness. Some tiles are smoother than others, which can contribute to slips and falls. This is where tile slip ratings come in. As the name suggests, tile slip ratings determine how slippery a tile is by conducting a series of tests. This lets consumers know which tile is suited for areas such as the bathroom, kitchen, poolside, etc.

The first test is a wet pendulum test where a foot-shaped object with a rubber outsole is swung over a wet tile, thus mimicking the movement of a heel strike. This gives the tiles a P-rating. Here is how the ratings go.

Wet Pendulum Test (P-rating)

Pendulum ClassificationSkid Resistance ValueSlip risk
P012 and belowVery high
P112-24Very high
P225-34High
P335-44Moderate
P445-54Low
P554+Very low

The second test is called an oil-wet ramp test where the tiles are laid out on an incline and the testers walk on the tiles to determine what angle they become unsafe. The angle is then used to give the tile an R-rating which is highlighted by the table chart below.

Oil-wet ramp test (R-rating)

Slip resistanceCorrected Mean Acceptance Angle (degrees)Slip risk
R96 -10Very high
R1010-19High
R1119-27Moderate
R1227-35Low
R1335+Very low

Finally, the barefoot wet ramp test. This test is quite similar to the previous one, except the testers walk barefoot on an inclined tile surface sprayed with water. This gives the tile an A, B, or C-rating.

Barefoot wet ramp test (A, B, and C-rating)

Slip resistanceCorrected Mean Acceptance Angle (degrees)Slip risk
A12-28High
B18-24Moderate
C24+Low

Tile wear ratings (PEI rating)
The next rating is tile wear ratings. Basically, this test determines how hard-wearing the tiles are from scratches and marks. Both glazed and unglazed ceramic tiles are subject to surface abrasion caused by moving objects, foot traffic, and other forms of friction. Here is how the rating goes.

RatingWear Application
PE-1Light dutyBedrooms and bathrooms with soft footwear and bare feet.
PE-2Regular dutyBedrooms and bathrooms with normal footwear.
PE-3Medium dutyDining room, living room, kitchen, hallways, and entrances.
PE-4Heavy dutyPublic buildings, residential establishments, and retail spaces.
PE-5Extra heavy dutyCommercial areas with plenty of foot traffic like hotel lobbies and airport concourses.

Shade variation (V-rating)
Thanks to digital tile printing technology, ceramic tiles have evolved from just plain, white tiles to intricately designed tiles that come in multitudes of colours. Some ceramic tiles emulate surfaces like stone, timber, and bricks for that truly distinct look. This is called a unique variation in the tile industry. The intricacy of the tile is also rated to give consumers an idea on the level of variation the tiles have.

RatingAppearanceLook
V0Very uniform appearanceTiles look uniform and use a monochromatic colour with zero variations.
V1Uniform appearanceTiles have minimal differences between each piece from the same batch (production run).
V2Slight variationTiles are clearly distinguishable from one another by texture/pattern while using similar colour tones.
V3Moderate variationEach tile has its own unique design, but the colour tones may slightly differ from one another/
V4Substantial variationRandom colours and designs from each tile. This makes for a very unique look that creates an artful and colourful flooring.

It’s no surprise that ceramic tiles have found their way on many Australian properties and establishments. It combines both beauty and functionality into one package, thus giving you an elegant yet durable flooring option. But before you purchase ceramic tiles, make sure you understand the floor tile rating system to determine which tile best fits your specific requirements. It will also help you when contacting a professional tiling service. A high-quality tile will last you decades and this guide will help you determine the right floor tile to use.

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