Tiling can be a deciding factor in the success of any build and with such a vast number of options available, finding the right commercial tiles for your project can be challenging.
In this article we’ll run through some of the key things to look out for, hopefully making the process slightly easier.
Specifically we’ll look at:
- Buying considerations for commercial tiles
- Commercial tile materials
- Anti-slip properties
Key Buying Considerations for Commercial Tiles
A well tiled environment should provide many years of faithful service, but this is only if you choose the right commercial tiles for your specific needs.
Even the slightest misjudgment could lead to being penalised financially or, worst of all, having to remove your tiles and start again, a move which can again prove to be highly expensive and put a dent in your commercial interest.
However, if you’re diligent enough to invest some time into considering exactly what it is that you need, this can pay dividends in the long run.
Therefore, you need to seriously consider the five following factors which will help you to refine your search:
- Size – The size of your tiles can make a real difference to your commercial projects and this is why you need to make sure the required size is determined very early on. You’ll discover that some tiles are only available in certain sizes, so even if you completely love a specific set of tiles, they may never be the right ones for your project’s specific needs. You also need to bear in mind the visual impact of larger tiles as these require less grout lines; this creates a sense of space and can add real depth to your commercial settings as a result.
- Material – The variety of materials on offer when it comes to tiles certainly provides you with plenty of choice, but sometimes it can feel like too much choice. Different materials all have their own unique properties such as strength, moisture retention and risk of damage, so research is essential here. Certain materials are also easier to cut, so depending on the amount of adjustments that could be necessary, you may need to seriously consider which material you go for.
- Budget – One of the biggest considerations to take into account is the budget set aside for your commercial project. It may seem tempting to go for an expensive, high quality finish, but this isn’t necessarily correct for a number of reasons. Firstly, you may not have enough money to cover a commercial setting from head to toe in ornate glass tiles. Secondly, extravagant tiles may not be required for your project and can easily be substituted for something cheaper.
- Durability – Everyone wants their tiles to last for years and retain that aura of newness which can provide a real boost in terms of aesthetic appearance. This is why you need to understand which tiles can deliver real durability and last for years, while minimizing visible wear and tear upon them.
- Anti-slip rating – Finally, the anti-slip rating is a very important aspect of your commercial project which needs thorough investigation. If your commercial setting is going to lead to water on the floor, then you need to investigate the most suitable level of resistance to help reduce the risk of accidents for people walking through these areas.
Commercial Tile Types
Commercial tiles come in a wide range of materials that vary greatly in terms of cost, aesthetic and durability.
Some of the more popular types include:
- Porcelain – Well known for their durability, porcelain tiles use a refined clay mixture which is fired at very high temperatures to produce their amazing strength. The high density of commercial porcelain tile flooring severely reduces the amount of moisture that can be absorbed and makes it perfect for bathroom flooring. However, this density also means that porcelain tiles are difficult to cut and specialist tools may be required to work with them. Porcelain tiles also tend to be quite expensive and considerably more so than ceramic tiles.
- Ceramic – These tiles start off as thin slabs of clay which are coated with a glaze before being oven fired to harden. Commercial ceramic floor tiles are often the go-to choice for large flooring projects as they’re easy to cut and the accompanying price tag is relatively inexpensive. However, one of the main drawbacks of ceramic tiles is that they’re unable to cope effectively with cold temperatures and this can lead to chipping and cracking.
- Glass – With some of the most ornate designs available in commercial grade tiles, glass tiles are perfect for adding a touch of refined class to your projects. In particular, commercial kitchen tiles made from glass can be used to design stunning kitchen backsplashes and bathroom floors can be transformed into amazing spectacles with glass mosaic tiles. The wonderful aesthetics of glass tiles, however, comes at a price due to the expertise required to not only cut them, but also install them correctly.
- Natural Stone Tiles – Highly versatile thanks to their ability to be used inside and outside, natural stone tiles are also a stylish option to ensure that your projects catch the eye. There are five particular natural stone tiles that you should be looking at:
- Granite – The crystalline structure of granite gives a density not dissimilar from porcelain, so granite tiles are very strong and are some of the best natural stone floor tiles available. This strength and density, of course, does mean they’re very heavy and may not be suitable for all projects. Cleaning and maintaining the tiles is also an issue as they’re highly sensitive to staining. Granite tiles are also relatively expensive compared to other tiles.
- Marble – Naturally elegant, marble tiles are available in a wide range of colors and have a natural luster that can create amazing results when used in bathroom wall tiles. Marble, of course, is also a natural material, so this can lend your projects an eco-friendly edge. A major drawback of marble, though, is that it’s very slippery when used as flooring. The other issue to consider is the cost and it is, in fact, one of the most expensive tile options on the market.
- Slate – One of the strongest tiles to be produced by commercial tile manufacturers, slate comes in a wide range of colors and offers that rare combination of visual appeal and durability. Highly resistant to stains and spills, slate tiles are also blessed with a strength which ensures cracks, scratches and chips are a rare occurrence. These benefits are counterbalanced somewhat by the high initial cost and need for regular maintenance e.g. renewing surface sealers and barriers. Read our article on Black Slate tiles for more info on how theses can be used.
- Travertine – Commonly found forming around mineral springs, travertine is a natural stone with a range of earthy colors which bring a warm presence to any project. As with all natural stones, travertine is very durable and can remain undamaged even after many years of use. This natural state, however, does mean that it’s porous and sealing this can be labor intensive. Although less expensive than other natural stone tiles, it’s still more costly than other man made tiles.
- Terracotta – Fired in a kiln at high temperatures, terracotta is made from a combination of red and brown clays. Firing it ensures that it’s highly durable, so it’s perfect for kitchen floor tiles. Terracotta comes with a weathered look that can’t be created artificially and allows it to add vast character to your projects. Terracotta is also a highly porous natural stone and can be difficult to maintain. The kiln firing ramps up the production cost and makes for expensive tiling.
Safety is always paramount when you’re working in commercial settings such as kitchens, so it’s vital that you prevent accidents and injuries from occurring. One of the best ways to minimise these risks is by installing anti-slip tiles which retain a level of resistance even in settings where spills and leaks are common. This is obviously an equally important for exterior floor tiles that are constantly exposed to the elements.
All commercial non slip floor tiles come with a resistance rating to help indicate the non-slip level on offer.
The various levels of resistance can be categorized into three groups:
- Group A (Resistance R10) – These tiles are mainly used where the risk of water spillage is low and the need for high resistance is constantly at a minimum. Living areas such as bedrooms, lounges and hallways can dispense with this need for extra resistance and Group A tiles are more than suitable in these settings.
- Group B (Resistance R10 – R11) – Areas which experience a certain amount of water on the floor pose a small, but potentially dangerous risk in terms of slips and injuries and this risk needs countering with suitable flooring. Toilets and dressing rooms can soon find a build-up of water creating potential slips, so group B tiles add a little bit more resistance to keep everyone upright.
- Group C (Resistance R11 – R13) – Certain working areas will always be wet and this includes swimming pools, kitchens, operating theaters and saunas; naturally, these settings require highly resistant flooring to reduce the risk of accidents and the accompanying injuries. This is where group C tiles step in; thanks to their high resistance they will ensure that any risk of slips is severely minimized.
Where to Start?
With such a wide array of commercial tiles on offer, finding the right ones for your project can seem a daunting task.
SRK specialises in sourcing the best supplies from across the globe, and will happily work with you to find the most appropriate materials at the most competitive prices.
If you have any further questions, or would like to know how SRK UK can help, don’t hesitate to get in touch.