Tile Terrific

by Tania Wannenburg
Tile Africa Jnl 6 15

Tiles offer an array of unique benefits when specified for any space, be it commercial and residential.

Tiles offer several unique benefits when specified for any space, be it residential or commercial. One particular advantage is the ease of cleaning that tiles provide.

Before selecting a particular tile, it is good to know what the various tile types are and what areas they are best suited to.


Ceramic tiles

These tiles are available in a wide variety of colours, patterns and sizes. They complement almost any furnishings and décor and also have a long service life while being both scratch- and fade-resistant. “Consider ceramic tiles for your lounge, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom,” says Debra Retief, Marketing Manager at Tile Africa.


Porcelain tiles are manufactured from ceramic material; however, they are fired at higher temperatures than ceramics. Porcelain is available glazed or unglazed – the latter may also be referred to as full-bodied tiles. These tiles are resistant to moisture, deep abrasion and frost and can be used in outside areas. However, avoid polishing them, as moisture makes them slippery.

Natural stone tiles

These include slate, sandstone, granite and natural limestone such as travertine and marble, and are all different in appearance and their colour doesn’t fade. An important consideration is that these tiles need to be sealed to prevent any stains from occurring.

“We recommend installation by a professional and they will also be able to seal the tiles,” says Debra.

Mosaics are tiny tiles which come in a variety of materials including glass, metal and even natural stone. They have the ability to withstand hot and cold temperatures, which makes them ideal for areas where extreme temperatures may be present. “One important factor to remember when choosing natural stone mosaics is that they need to be sealed to prevent staining,” says Debra.

Inkjet tiles

“Consumers are seeking flooring solutions that are going to offer them long-term value,” notes Debra. “Inkjet tiles offer customers on-trend finishes that they desire without having to pay too much to get the look they’re after.”

Inkjet printing technology allows for high-definition printing on uneven surfaces such as ceramic and porcelain tiles. This has led to the development of tiles that look exactly like wood and natural stone but at a fraction of the price.


An added benefit of tiles is that their abrasion resistance is tested and rated according to internationally recognised Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) standards. “Each of the five PEI ratings measures the degree to which a tile’s surface will withstand wear,” she says. “Generally, all tiles are suited for domestic application – provided the PEI is correct.”

For use in domestic environments look at tiles with a PEI rating of one, two and three. PEI 3 can be used in both interior and exterior areas ranging from the entrance hall and kitchen to the patio. The PEI 3 rating may also be extended to areas that experience light commercial traffic.

Debra concludes by offering the following tip when selecting tiles for an installation: “Take into consideration lead times of tiles that need to be ordered or even customised. This is especially important when purchasing tiles that need to be imported or when selecting to use new technology such as water-jet cutting – which allows one to create designs on the surface of tiles.”

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