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Can Wall Tiles be Used on the Floor?

  • December 10, 2020

It’s time to stop procrastinating on that remodelling job. You’ve wanted to install some tiles on the dining room floor for a while, and you have a stack of tiles left over from remodelling the walls in your living room. You like the design of the tiles and think they would fit the role.

Can wall tiles be used on the floor? After all, it is a wall tile, not a floor tile. Isn’t there a difference between the two? In this post, we’ll unpack everything you need to know about using wall tiles for your floor, and how this very important tiling question can be solved.

What’s the Difference Between Floor and Wall Tiles?

Some people think small tiles are for walls and large tiles are for floors. However, it’s all about your preference. Don’t listen to people that say you can’t use them interchangeably. The reality is wall tiles can work on your floor, depending on the tile in question.

Floor tiles need to be thicker and stronger than wall tiles because they bear a load. Some wall tiles are thin, and walking on them could result in breakage of the tile. To find out if your tiles suit the fitment on your floor, check out these three tile ratings.

Wall tile installation

What Is the PEI Rating for Tiles?

The PEI rating (Porcelain Enamel Institute) is a rating given to a tile based on the hardness of its glaze ( Generally, the harder the glaze, the more resistant the tile. The rating is a scale of one to five, with five being the strongest glazed tile.

Class 0 PEI – Wall tiles only – kept high above ground and protected from the elements.

Class I PEI –  Light footfall – Areas in the home with light floor traffic only, such as ensuite bathrooms.

Class II PEI –  Moderate footfall – Tiles suitable for light footfall residential areas like bathrooms and commercial use on walls.

Class III PEI – Regular footfall – This type of tile can be used throughout a residential area, including busy areas of the home, such as living rooms, kitchens and hallways.

Class IV PEI – Intense Footfall – Tiles suitable for use on residential floors that receiving heavy to moderate foot traffic, like the kitchen or hallway. Also suitable for commercial wall tiling and offices.

Class V PEI – Heavy Footfall – These tiles are very durable. Perfect for busy public spaces, such as airports, shopping centres and shop floors. These tiles are also suitable for busy residential areas and outdoor spaces.

Floor tile installation

What Is the COF Rating for Tiles?

The Coefficient Of Friction, or COF rating, is another critical feature to look for in a wall tile you want to use on the floor. This rating shows you the tile’s skid resistance. Using slippery porcelain tiles on the floor creates a slip-and-fall hazard around the home.

Can wall tiles be used on the floor? Only if it has a high enough COF rating. The higher the COF rating, the more grip offered by the tile. A COF of 0.5 or higher makes for suitable indoor flooring while you need a COF of at least 0.6 for outdoor patios and decks, as these tiles will be exposed to the elements.

What Is the WA Rating for Tiles?

The WA rating of the tiles refers to its water-resistance. This metric is important to know for use in the bathroom, around the pool, and in the kitchen. The four grades for WA include the following.

  • Non-vitreous tiles – Not water-resistant and not suitable for indoor or outdoor areas that get wet.
  • Semi-vitreous tiles – Light water-resistance and only ideal for locations around the home that don’t get wet like the living room or bedroom.
  • Vitreous tiles – Semi-waterproof and suitable for use in rooms with moderate moisture like the basement.
  • Impervious tile – Fully waterproof and ideal for use in the shower, bathroom, and around the pool.
Tiler installing swimming pool
Tiler installing swimming pool

Can Wall Tiles be Used on the Floor?

Most wall tiles have low COF, WA, and PEI ratings. Therefore, they aren’t suitable for fitment on the floor. However, if you ordered premium tiles for your living room job, check with the manufacturer to see if they meet floor use criteria.

Ceramic tiles and glass tiles can’t hold the weight of floor tiles, and you’ll end up with a disaster on your hands if you use them. Tearing up the floor and redoing the job will cost you a fortune. While most wall tiles aren’t suitable for use on the floor, there are plenty of flooring tile designs ideal for use on walls.

Most floor tiles feature design and construction with porcelain, natural stone, or ceramic. Finding the right tiles requires some time and patience when picking out the perfect set for your floor. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, get some advice to help you out.

Work with a Professional Tiler for the Best Results with Your Remodel

If you need help choosing the right set for your flooring job, call a professional. A tiling professional knows what tiles are suitable for the job. Their work comes with a quality guarantee and fast fitment. Why go to the hassle of doing the job yourself when you can have a professional service do it for you?

Look for tilers that offer a transparent estimate process, with an excellent reputation. Hiring the right tiler ensures you get the service you deserve, at the right price.

If you would like a list of local tilers in our area, give us a ring on 01425 621173 or alternatively pop us an email at We will be happy to help. We hope this blog topic has been helpful and if you have any further questions on this topic, we will answer with our best knowledge of the tiling industry at the contact info above. Thank you for reading.

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