Can you use floor tile on walls? Uncategorized

Can you use floor tile on walls?

Trent and the team at Regina’s Flooring Superstores have established a strong and loyal customer base through their commitment to excellent customer service. By being part of the powerful buying group that is the Flooring Superstores chain, they are also able to provide quality Regina floor coverings at unbeatable prices.  In our latest flooring tip we share information on floor and wall tiling options.

Ceramic and porcelain tile have long been used as a covering for both flooring and for walls. Tile is tough and durable, capable of lasting for many decades, with only minimal grout work, before full replacement is necessary. The tile market is huge, varied, and often confusing. One familiar point of confusion is the differences, if any, between floor tile and wall tile. Are some tiles designated purely as floor tiles and others as wall tiles? Or is there simply one type of tile that is used interchangeably for both areas? Though overlapping to some degree, a few basic differences do make one tile better for one area than for the other area.

How to Determine If a Tile Is for Walls or Floors

When shopping with Flooring Superstores Regina for wall or floor tiles, you can be rest assured that we will give you the best advice.  Tile manufacturer  provide a wealth of information and will part out COF and PEI ratings in the specifications section.

But some companies go one step further and use the COF and PEI ratings to classify the tiles for the ease of shopping. For example ..below from Tierra Sol

Technical Definitions

Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) Slip Resistance:

The dynamic test method is that a flooring having a minimum dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) of 0.43 has “high slip resistance”. If the DCOF falls within the 0.30-0.42 range, then the test method states that the flooring is “acceptable, with an increased probability of slipping,” and values below 0.30 are categorized as “low slip resistance” and a “higher probability of slipping”. Please note that not all tiles with a DCOF of 0.42 or greater are necessarily suitable for all projects: you must also consider type of use, traffic, expected contaminants, expected maintenance, and manufacturer’s guidelines.

Coefficient of Friction (COF) Slip Resistance:

Coefficient of Friction refers to the static slip resistance of a tile or stone surface typically under both wet and dry conditions. Many manufacturers have converted solely to DCOF (above) in technical specifications as the DCOF test relates better to slips occurring while a person is walking.

PEI Rating:

The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) developed this test standard for abrasion resistance for glazed tile. The ratings are as follows:

Wall use only, not recommended for floors
Very light traffic floor; private residences where soft footwear is used such as bathrooms and bedrooms
Light traffic floor; private residences where normal footwear is used such as bathrooms and bedrooms)
Light to medium traffic floor; private residences where normal footwear is used such as dining rooms, living rooms, kitchens
Medium to high traffic floor; private residences and public buildings were normal footwear is used
High traffic floors; busy public buildings and areas such as shopping malls, airports


The tone rating is an indication of how much variation there is in the colour and shade of the tile. The range of ratings on this scale is V1 to V4 as follows:

Low visible shade and texture variation from tile to tile.
Tiles show distinguishable differences in texture and pattern within similar colours.
High shade and texture variation from tile to tile.
Random variations of shade and texture where one tile may have completely different shade or texture from another tile in the same collection.

Water Absorption:

The measure to determine the level of water a tile absorbs which ranges from Non-vitreous (absorbs more than 7% water) to Impervious (absorbs less than 0.5% water). This measure is important for tiles or stone used in areas with wet environments or with consistent freeze/thaw cycles.

Abrasion Resistance:

A measure for a tile’s surface abrasive hardness. The higher the rating number, the harder the tiles surface.

Here are some rules for tiles that you should live by!

Do Not Use Wall Tile on Floors

One strict rule of thumb is to never use wall tile for floors. Tile that has been rated as right for floors can be used on walls. But the opposite is not true. Nobody expects to walk on the wall, so wall tile is often softer and less durable than floor tile. Because wall tile usually does not stand up to the abuse of floor tile, it tends to be softer or more prone to breaking. The best example of this is glass tile, which is very brittle and will not last long as a floor material before breaking. But glass’ fragile nature does not matter on walls,backsplashes where abuse is not as likely to happen .

Use Smaller Tile on Walls

Small tiles are often used on floors. Classic 1-inch hexagonal mosaics have long been installed on bathroom floors. Consumer level floor tile can range up to 18-inch by 18-inch square sizes. With the popularity of super-large format tile, these sizes are sometimes much greater. Because of its visible nature and the difficulty of installing wall tile on a vertical surface, wall tile tends to be smaller and lightweight. As an example of these sizing guidelines, 18-inch square floor tile usually will not work on walls, as it would look garish and overpowering. OR your bathroom would have to be palatial and large enough to support tile of that size, lts face it,  most residential bathrooms do not reach that size.

Use Vitreous Tile for Walls That Experience Water

Tile, when installed on walls, is most often installed on shower and bathtub walls. With this high concentration of water, the hard, glazed surface (vitreous) of wall tile is most favorable. By contrast, an absorbent tile such as terracotta or quarry tile can be used on a horizontal floor surface, but it would never be used as a wall tile in a high-moisture environment.

Experiment With Unique Materials for the Wall

If you are interested in exotic or unique materials, wall tile has it covered. Some tiles are made of leather, tin, stainless steel, aluminum, and plastics. These are materials that could never be used for the floor.

Use Specialty Tiles on the Wall

Wall tile lends itself to extra embellishments that are found less often in the floor tile. Bands, borders, and listellos are often found in wall tile installations to improve the look and reduce field tile visual monotony.

Our Regina flooring team is always more than willing to take the time to help you find exactly the right tile that you are looking for that fits your lifestyle needs.
In stock, we have a variety of ceramic, porcelain and stone tiles. Ask our Flooring Consultants about professional tile installation. Our large Warehouse Showrooms display many options to suit your personal style, home and budget. Call our Regina flooring store or request a quote!

When choosing flooring, pets, kids, allergies, and personal style are all factors to consider . Then you can consider choose the color, finish, or type of floor covering…If you feel overwhelmed simply let our Trusted Regina flooring experts at Flooring Superstores walk you through the decision making process. Our aim is to make it as stress free as possible.

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