Essential Guide to Buying the Right Tiles in the Philippines
Check the tile grading system in the package if you want to measure the quality and thickness of tiles. The grades are divided into three grades:
- Grade 1 – has the highest quality usable on walls and floors. It has also the thickest tiles, with ¾-inch thick.
- Grade 2 – much like Grade 1, but is less expensive and has some imperfections. It is approximately ½-inch thick, ideal for walls and floors with moderate traffic.
- Grade 3 – has the thinnest tiles, with ¼-inch thick. Only recommended to be used on walls since it cannot withstand high traffic.
PEI Wear Rating
The PEI (or Porcelain and Enamel Institute) Wear Rating measures the ability of tiles to resist abrasion. This rating is only applicable for glazed tiles and is divided into five categories:
- PEI I – No foot traffic. Tiles are for wall use only.
- PEI II – Light traffic. Both for wall and floor applications with little traffic such as bathrooms.
- PEI III – Light to moderate traffic. Used in areas with normal traffic. Ideal for walls, floors and countertops.
- PEI IV – Moderate to heavy traffic. Ideal for all residential applications, light institutional and medium commercial foot traffic.
- PEI V – Heavy to extra heavy traffic. Ideal for all residential applications, heavy institutional and commercial foot traffic. Recommended for floor use only.
Mohs Hardness Rating
To determine the hardness of tiles, refer to the Mohs rating. The said rating is used to measure the scratch resistance of tiles. A scratch test is performed using special tools made of different minerals to determine the hardness of the tiles.
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Tiles are rated from 1 (Talc) being the softest to 10 (Diamond) being the hardest. Make sure to check for the Mohs rating when you visit your tile supplier in the Philippines.
Porosity or water absorption refers to the ratio of voids to solids in tiles. It helps identify the right tile to use outdoor and in wet areas. The denser the tiles, the less water it absorbs and the better it is to install in areas requiring moisture-proof flooring.
Porosity is divided into four categories:
- Impervious – Absorbs less than 0.5%
- Vitreous – Absorbs 0.5% to 3%
- Semi-vitreous – Absorbs between 3% to 7%
- Non-vitreous – Absorbs more than 7%
Coefficient of Friction
Coefficient of Friction (C.O.F.) measures the slip resistance of tiles. It is calculated based on the force required to slide an object across a surface divided by the object's weight. The higher the C.O.F. number, the more the tiles are resistant to slip.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires floor tiles to have a C.O.F. higher than 0.60 for it to be considered safe. The video below demonstrates how C.O.F. is measured.
Now that you have learned these important factors, you should be able to make sound decisions when you’re buying tiles. Before you visit your tile supplier in the Philippines, make sure to determine what you need and check the ratings to get the right tiles for your space.