The Porcelain Enamel Institute came up with a way to test the strength of a glaze on commercial tile to determine its long-term durability. The rating system is good for any type of tile, not just porcelain. Most floor tiles will have a PEI rating so that you can determine whether the floor is strong is enough for your traffic needs.
The PEI rating scheme is as follows:
- PEI 1 – Tiles rated PEI 1 are good for very light traffic. Usually, they are used for residential purposes in bathrooms, on countertops, and other areas where little traffic is expected.
- PEI 2 – In areas where light traffic is expected, a PEI 2 rated tile should be used. This would exclude areas such as kitchens, stairways, and foyers where heavy traffic is expected.
- PEI 3 – The PEI 3 rating is reserved for tiles that can withstand medium traffic. Most residential floors should be tiled with PEI 3 rated tiles, but commercial floors should not be.
- PEI 4 – Designed for floors that are expected to receive heavy traffic, you’ll often find PEI 4 tiles in residential areas as well as commercial areas such as restaurants and hotel lobbies.
- PEI 5 – The PEI 5 rating is given to the strongest tiles that can withstand very heavy traffic. You’ll find these tiles in commercial areas such as supermarkets, airports, and shopping malls.
Before you lay any type of tile in your commercial or residential building, check its PEI rating. Be sure to use a tile that is strong and durable enough to withstand your expected traffic.