Ceramic tile is manufactured in sizes ranging from 1” to 24” squares. Ceramic tile is normally boxed and priced by the square foot, regardless of the size of the individual tile itself. Tile size is relative and is usually referred to by its nominal size, not its actual size. During the firing process, ceramic tile will shrink by about 10%. When considering what size tile would be appropriate for your given space, start by determining the size of the room. Scale plays as important role in creating a room’s overall balance.
Ceramic and porcelain manufacturers have created tiles that offer textures, colors, and patterns resembling natural stone products. To further enhance a natural look, tile can also be made to feature heavy textures, chiseled and hammered edges, and even resemble wood.
The beautiful decorative tile you might put on your kitchen backsplash may not be recommended for installation on your floor. Most manufacturers have a rating system that is based on the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The most common system rates ceramic tile abrasion resistance, or the overall durability of the tile. There are five classes of tile durability.
Class 1: No foot traffic. These tiles are suggested for interior wall applications and not for the floor.
Class 2: Light traffic. These tiles are suggested for interior wall applications and for residential bathroom flooring only.
Class 3: Light to moderate traffic. These tiles can be used for residential floor and wall applications including bathrooms, kitchens, foyers, dining rooms, and family rooms. They are a good all-around performer.
Class 4: Moderate to heavy traffic. These tiles are recommended for residential, medium commercial, and light industrial floor and wall applications, including shopping malls, offices, restaurant dining rooms, showrooms, and hallways.
Class 5: Heavy to extra heavy traffic. These tiles can be installed anywhere. They will hold up in floor and wall applications in high traffic areas such as airports, supermarkets, and subways.
You may also see a rating for slip resistance, which is measures by its Coefficient of Friction (COF). The higher the COF, the more slip resistance the tile. This is important when selecting a floor tile for areas that get wet, such as your shower or bathroom floor.
Other ratings listed by the manufacturer might include scratch resistance, moisture absorption, chemical resistance, and breaking strength.