Of course, you want ceramic tiles that appeal to your design sensibilities, and when you walk into our tile store in Erie, PA, you'll find an overwhelming assortment of colors, styles, shapes, and sizes. Make sure, however, that you buy the right type for your project because they all have different strength and absorbency levels, and the right or wrong one will impact your project. Here's what we tell our customers when choosing tile flooring
There's a difference between wall and floor tiles
Wall tiles are thinner, more slippery, and not meant to withstand the weight of people walking. Therefore, it should never be used as tile flooring, but you can use floor tiles on the wall. The Porcelain & Enamel Institute (PEI) has developed a class (or category) to determine a tile's strength, beginning with Class 1, a tile appropriate for the wall, while Class 2 is for indoor, light-foot trafficked room.
The most common is Class 3, which is excellent for indoor moderately heavy foot trafficked rooms and walls, backsplashes, and shower/tub surrounds. Class 4, however, is appropriate for both indoor and outdoor floors in busy, heavily foot trafficked areas and in light commercial spaces, such as boutiques or small offices. Finally, class 5 is for heavy commercial use.
Porcelain is a heavier, denser tile suitable for busy rooms, like the kitchen, patio, deck, and poolside floors outdoors. A large-format tile, it comes in countless colors and patterns. It is, in fact, often the preferred choice for wood and stone look tiles.
The 4 X 4 square is highly designed, thinner, and often glazed, the latter making it waterproof and giving it the hard outer shell. It is appropriate for indoor, moderately heavy foot traffic and countertops, backsplashes, and tub/show surrounds. Mosaics are the tiny, durable, decorative, and often glass-coated ceramics used for accents and now trending for bathroom floors.
Terracotta bricks are now coming inside because their reddish-brown color works so well in rustic decor. These are durable but absorbent, so ask about sealing. Subway tiles, the formerly all-white rectangles often seen on backsplashes, can be used on floors, as long as they're indoor low traffic ones such as in bedrooms.