If you are like many people who are preparing to select new tile for their home, you may have already researched differences between ceramic and porcelain tile products. Through a close review of these differences, you may have decided which product type you want to scale down your search to. However, assuming that all porcelain tiles or all ceramic tiles have the same physical properties can lead to detrimental results in the years ahead. If you want to select the flooring, counter or backsplash material that is durable and well-suited for a specific area of the home, you must be aware of what is PEI rating.
What Is a PEI Rating?
PEI stands for the Porcelain Enamel Institute, which is a reputable industry organization based in Georgia that has been working for the best interests of enameling plants as well as the producers of related manufacturing equipment for decades. It has created a PEI rating for all types of tile materials, including flooring tiles, wall tiles and more. The rating is for all enamel-coated tiles, including ceramic and porcelain products.
This is a rating that describes the material’s coefficient of friction, or COF. This is related to a product’s density and overall hardness.
PEI 0 – Walls only, light duty
PEI 1 – Walls only, residential and commercial (bathroom walls, backsplashes)
PEI 2 – Walls and light-duty floors (bathrooms)
PEI 3 – Walls, floors and countertops (residential kitchens, laundry rooms, foyers)
PEI 4 – Walls and floors, medium commercial duty (restaurants, hotels)
PEI 5 – Floors, heavy commercial and institutional duty (malls, schools, airports)
Why the PEI Rating Matters
You may spend a substantial amount of energy and time searching for a gorgeous tile material to install in a specific area in your home like a bathroom or basement for example. Many homes have several different styles of tile that provide function and decorative appeal in unique ways. When you carefully select the right material and pay for professional tile installation, you understandably want to maximize the benefit that the material provides. Unfortunately, when you install a material with a PEI rating of 1 in a high-traffic area of the home, the result may be tile that quickly shows signs of excessive wear and that requires premature replacement. This material may chip or crack easily as well. On the other hand, materials with a higher PEI rating, which are denser and more durable, are often more expensive. It may not be cost-effective to pay for such expensive products when a product with a lower PEI score would suffice for your needs.
Where to Find a Product Rating
While a PEI rating is useful to consumers, it is not created specifically for consumer use. There is no industry requirement or consumer protection law that requires manufacturers to publish this information. For this reason, it is not always published or easy to find. In fact, you may need to read the fine print or product specification details to identify a product’s PEI rating. Other areas to look for the PEI rating are a tearsheet and tech specs. Keep in mind that the use of this rating system is not universal by all manufacturers. Some products without a PEI rating are described as being well-suited for a specific use. In the event that you cannot find a detailed product description related to intended uses or a PEI rating for a specific product, it may be safer to shift your interest to another product with published usage recommendations.
As important as it is to find a beautiful product that has amazing aesthetic benefits in your home, you need to select the right product based on conditions in the space and how the space will be used. Because so many factors must be analyzed carefully before you decide which product to purchase and install, you should have convenient access to a great selection of options.