Ceramic tile ratings are set up in a grading system of 1 to 5, based on the tile’s toughness and durability. It’s a good thing to educate yourself on the different tile grades, as choosing the right ceramic tile for a specific application can be make or break when it comes your tile lasting as long as possible.
An Explanation of Ceramic Tile Ratings
The 1 to 5 tile rating applies only to one aspect of tile: visible surface abrasion resistance, which is fancy talk for how readily scratches show on the tile’s surface. A tile rating of 5 is the toughest in terms of standing up to scratching, dirt and traffic, one is the easiest to damage.
- Grade 1: This is the weakest of all standard grade ceramic tiles. It’s really only suitable as a wall tile.
- Grade 2: This is best for light traffic areas. Again, a great product for wall tiles, but it will also work in residential bathrooms, where foot traffic is minimal.
- Grade 3: Where ceramic tile ratings are concerned, grade three is most common in residential building, and perfect for light to moderate traffic. This makes it a very sensible choice for residential kitchens, countertops, residential flooring, and all areas that receive lighter wear and tear (i.e., grade 1 and 2 areas).
- Grade 4: This grade is a step up from grade 3 tile grades. It’s still a good choice for residential uses, such as tile floors and countertops, but it can also take the heavier abuse of light commercial foot traffic, such as you’d find in a doctor’s office.
- Grade 5: This stuff is as tough as it gets. When it comes to standard grade ceramic tiles, grade 5 is built to take a beating. It’s mostly used in high traffic commercial areas such as shopping malls and airports.
Which Grade Is Best for You?
There are two questions to ask yourself, here. The first is how much money you have to spend? The second is how worry some you are about the toughness of the tile you’re purchasing?
Stone Tile Textures
When choosing the surface for a bathroom or kitchen remodel, many homeowners turn to the classic look and excellent durability of stone tile. Though choosing things like color and size often come down to personal preference, stone tile texture is likely to be a choice based, at least to some extent, on practicality. Of the six basic stone tile textures that are commonly available, each has its own pros, cons, and situations where it will work best.
Honed: A low to medium gloss and an unglazed surface characterize this stone tile texture. Honed tile is likely to hold up better than some other stone tile finishes in high traffic areas, making it an excellent choice for floors. Though it is porous, its slightly rough surface provides traction. It has a duller, flatter appearance than polished stone tile.
Polished: A polished stone tile texture is very glossy and is prized for its brilliant color. Its surface is very resistant to moisture, but can become very slippery when it gets wet. Often used on countertops and walls, polished stone tile gets its shiny surface not from a coating, but from manipulating the stone itself.
Flamed: A flamed tile texture is created under extremely hot conditions. When exposed to this level of heat, natural crystals in the stone explode and create a uniquely textured surface. Though porous, this texture, once again, provides a certain amount of slip resistance.
Tumbled: A tumbled stone tile texture is often used when a homeowner wants a more weathered, classic appearance. Its slightly rough texture is created by tumbling various types of natural stone to achieve a worn surface. Marble, granite, and limestone can readily be found with a tumbled finish.
Sand Blasted: Natural stone tile that is sandblasted has a textured surface with a slightly glossy finish. The process of sandblasting can also be used to etch images and designs in natural stone.
Sawn: Sawn tile’s unique surface is created by using a gang saw. Sawing can be combined with other techniques such as sandblasting or honing to alter the surface even further. Appropriate in several different settings, it presents yet another option for those who want the genuine look and feel of natural stone.
Mixing Stone Tile Textures
Though you probably want to keep tiles used in a single setting relatively uniform, having different types of tiles for different rooms of the home is certainly a technique used by many homeowners. In some instances, you’ll need a different textured tile for multiple settings, as the performance of each is more appropriate under different circumstances.
When using natural stone, it is important to remember that there is little telling exactly what a finished installation will look like. Though you can specify things like color and texture, the final appearance depends on what concentrations of minerals and water different pieces of the original stone has been exposed to.
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