The tiles durability is determined by its’ scratch resistance and the hardness it has. The value system rates and tests the tiles and then describes the strength of the tiles and what kinds of traffic are suitable for those tiles.
The MOHS tests Ceramic and Porcelain tiles for their density and scratch resistance. This is alongside the rating system that decides the quality of the tiles by using a scale of 1-10. The finest and hardest quality tiles are suppose to lie in the 10 scale while tiles of soft quality are said to lie in the number 1 scale. To find out which tile rating is most suitable for your kind of application, it is advisable to refer to the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) scale.
This scale is not actually a certification of the tiles quality standards; in fact it describes the areas where tiles in a particular scale can be used. The scale rating and the areas which the tiles have been designed for are given by the manufacturer. Tiles fall into different catergories dependant on where they are on the scale. A class of 0 shows that tiles are delicate and a class 5 shows these tiles are suitable for heavy traffic areas. The six classes are described as:
Class 0 – No foot traffic. Such tiles are only suitable for interior walls and cannot be used as floor tiles.
Class 1 – Traffic that is light. Tiles falling in this category are suitable for interior walls and residence bathroom floors with allowance of only barefoot traffic.
Light Traffic – Class 2. These tiles can be used for second level bathroom and bedroom floors and can stand the pressure of slipper and soft-soled shoes only.
Traffic that is light to moderate – Class 3. Such tiles can be used for both residential walls as well as floors that can include bedrooms, bathroom tile designs, foyers, family rooms, dining rooms and kitchens. If you want a tile that can provide you with a good service then these are the tiles.
Traffic that is moderate to heavy – Class 4. Tiles in this catergory are suitable for entrances, balconies, countertops and kitchens. This is because they can withstand outside dirt and stand abrasions. They can also be used for semi-commercial, light industrial wall and floor applications that can include offices, showrooms, shopping malls, hallways and restaurant dining areas.
Class 5 – Heavy Traffic. Airports, subways, supermarkets, industrial areas and commercial areas can use these tiles; in fact they can be used practically everywhere. They are suitable for any kind of floor or wall tiling.
Taking this rating system into consideration, you can easily locate the type of tile that is suitable for the area where you plan to use it.Choosing the right kind of tiles that are effective for your chosen area is very important so ensure you look out for the markings. Before you regard the aesthetic beauty of the tiles make sure you consider the abrasion resistance; this is extremely important. Otherwise, you might end up with tiles that look gorgeous in your kitchen, but not quite as suitable for decorating the bathroom.