PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) – It’s All About Tile Strength

If PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) had it their way, we would use porcelain and ceramics for just about every application possible. Those are, after all, the products the industry group represents and promotes. And all things considered, this might actually be a pretty good idea!

Personally, I’ve just finished a total bathroom renovation in my fixer upper, complete with all new ceramic tile – both on the floor and in the shower. I’m certainly pleased with the final results of the new bathroom tile, but I’m also glad I did the research to figure out just how to complete the project correctly.

I do want to mention PEI ratings before moving on. I knew nothing about this before setting out to buy my tile for the job, but the salesman was happy to bring me up to speed. Basically, the PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) has developed a simple 5 step rating system for the application, strength, and durability of the products they represent.

For example, a PEI 1 Rating means that the tile is not intended to get foot traffic, but it should work fine on a backsplash or shower wall. The scale goes all the way to the 4+ rating, which means the tile is strong enough for even extra heavy or institutional foot traffic. It pays to keep in mind that part of the process is proper planning – otherwise all the hard work might fall apart in no time at all.

Another thing I learned on the job was just how important it is to use a level while installing and setting the tiles. Not only did it help me keep everything even and flush as a whole, but it also helped me make sure each individual tile was not crooked or protruding. Nothing worse than a stubbed toe in the middle of the night!

I lucked out for the shower portion of the tiling – my brother-in-law, who is actually a tiling contractor, came over for the day and finished the job for me. I must admit, the floor was not too difficult, but I was a little worried about doing the vertical surfaces myself, trying to make the tiles stick in place and stay there. I’m glad I had the help!