Floor Tile & Wall Tile: What is the difference?

October 18, 2018 Tagged: Flooring Basics

Floor Tile & Wall Tile: What is the difference?

Believe it or not, they are not the same thing. While there are similarities between the two, the differences make a certain tile better for floors than the walls. Generally speaking, because of how slick wall tiles can be, never use wall tiles on the floor.

Certain tile manufacturers categorize their tiles as floor or wall while others don’t, making the landscape even more confusing.

Looking at a COF rating is one way to determine whether a tile is on the wall or floor.

Tiles meant for the floor need to have a minimum level of friction that makes them safe for walking called a coefficient of friction (COF). The higher the number, the more friction. Tile with a COF of .50 or greater can be used on indoor tiles.

Wall tiles don’t have to have any friction and can be slick like glass.

Looking at the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) ratings is another way to separate the two types of tile. This factor defines the hardness and durability. There are several ratings to use.

Ratings range from Class 1 (Not for feet, walls only) to Class 5 (Heavy-duty foot traffic).

Tile labeled for use on the floor can be used on walls, but the opposite is not true. You should not use wall tile on the floor. Tile meant for the wall is usually softer and less durable than floor tile because it is designed for less wear and tear. No one will be walking on the walls.

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