Porcelain Tiles – The major difference between porcelain tile and ceramic tile is how it’s made. Both tiles are made from a clay mixture that’s fired in a kiln, but porcelain tile is made from more refined clay and it’s fired at higher temperatures. This makes it denser and more durable than ceramic tile.

Exterior Porcelain Tiles – The most significant difference is that exterior porcelain is the thickness, which is usually a minimum of 20mm as a result these products feature expetional durability and breaking strength.

Water Absorption – Usually expressed as a percentage, this reflects the amount of water absorbed by a tile. Porcelain tile is categorised as “impervious,” which means it has a water absorption rate of less than 0.5%.

EN standards define tiles by their water absorbency.

<0.5% = B1a (very low water absorption)
0.5% <3.0% = B1b
3.0% <6.0% = B11a
6.0% <10% = B11b
>10% = B111 (high water absorption, normally a wall tile)

Each classification has a technical advantage depending on the end use.

PEI Rating – Applies to glazed floor tiles and is a testing system to rate the wear and tear due to friction. 

PEI 1 – Very light domestic traffic usage – such as residential bathrooms or bedrooms. These Tiles are not recommended for any area that will have any constant or heavy foot traffic.

PEI 2 – Light domestic traffic usage – tiles suited to use in the home, this tile should not be used in areas such as kitchens, entry ways, stairs, or areas with heavy traffic.

PEI 3- All moderate traffic domestic use – suitable for all areas of the home, This tile should not be used for commercial use.

PEI 4 – Moderate to heavy traffic, tiles suitable for residential Interior Floors, and light commercial applications, such as restaurants, lobbies, etc. 

PEI 5 – Heavy Traffic usage -These Tiles can be used on all residential interior floors, and all heavy commercial applications, such as airports, shopping malls, supermarkets, etc. This tile is an excellent choice for Industrial applications where extreme durability is required.

Rectification – A product that has undergone a further manufacturing process , where the tile is cut after the firing process, to produce clean edges on all sides.

Slip Rating / Anti Slip/R- Rating 

Ramp Tests
The German ramp test is used to generate the DIN 51130 R ratings and DIN 51097 ABC ratings used commonly in North Europe. These tests can only be carried out in a laboratory, so does not allow in-situ testing of materials.

R Ratings (DIN 51130) – This is a shod foot test which uses oil as a contaminant. These results are interpreted into 5 groups, R9 to R13. R9 being the slipperiest and R13 being the least. Please note: R9 is not suitable for areas requiring slip resistance. The are no such categories as R1 – R8.

ABC Ratings (DIN 51097) – This a wet barefoot where a soap solution is applied as a contaminant, the results from this test are placed into three categories:

  • Class A – Dry areas including dry changing areas, dry barefoot corridors
  • Class B – As A plus pools surrounds, communal showers, pool beach areas, wet change areas
  • Class C – As A and B plus pool surround inclines, walk through pools, Jacuzzi floors and seats, inlined pool edges and steps

BS796 Part 2 4S96 pendulum test method.

Test result Slip risk
0-24………………………….High
25-34………………………..Moderate
35-64………………………..Low
65+…………………………..Extremely Low