What is Porcelain?

Porcelain is actually a type of ceramic, the main characteristics of which are low porosity (absorption rates of less than 0.5%) and colour that penetrates the entire body of the tile, rendering it very durable. Porcelain can be either glazed or unglazed depending on the desired look and intended use.

Unglazed Porcelain

These tiles are extremely durable and frost proof.  The initial tile is matt in finish.  The same tile can then be either semi or fully polished.  Polishing unglazed porcelain results in a high gloss finish. Unfortunately, polished porcelains are more susceptible to staining because dirt gets trapped in the opened surface pores.  Sealants or other pre-surface treatments can prevent this problem as long as routine re-application of the protective treatment is maintained.

Glazed Porcelain

These tiles have a glaze applied over the porcelain body and it is therefore the glaze’s hardness that determines where the tile can be used, in a similar way to normal ceramic tiles, although some glazed porcelain can be used outside as the body is frost resistant.

Floor Tile PEI Ratings

Grade 1

Light domestic use – barefoot or soft footwear, i.e. bathrooms and bedrooms.

Grade 2

Moderate domestic traffic – tiles suited to use in the home except in areas where there is direct access to outside such as hallways and kitchens.

Grade 3

All domestic use – suitable for all areas of the home including kitchens and hallways.

Grade 4

Tiles suitable for domestic and public use where moderate to heavy traffic occurs i.e. hotel lobbies, restaurants and supermarkets.

Grade 5

Tiles suitable for all types of use whether domestic or in public areas of very heavy traffic.

Slip Resistance

There are various ways of measuring slip resistance.  Two of the most commonly seen in this country are the pendulum test and the ramp test.  We have used ramp test ratings throughout the site where available.

The dry ramp test measures slip resistance for areas of wet shoe traffic. The R value is greater in areas of higher resistance to slipping.

The wet ramp test measures slip resistance for areas where people will be walking with wet bare feet.  It is measured in values of A to C. A is suitable for mainly water splash areas for example changing rooms, B is for pool surrounds, shower areas etc and C is for walk through pools, ramps into pools etc.

High Definition Printing

The latest tiles are produced using inkjet technology which can print exact reproductions of natural stone or wood in very high definition even on tiles with uneven surfaces, making them difficult to tell apart from the real thing.