25 Tough at the bottom

Claire O’Brien at British Ceramic Tile looks at the compelling benefits of ceramic tile in commercial environments

eramic tiles have become one of the most popular surface material options for homeowners, purchas- ing through the big name ‘sheds’ for their home projects. Now they are increasingly being recognised for their advantageous nature when used in commercial fit-out projects too. As ceramic tile increases in popularity, the pattern, texture and size options of ceramic tiling are expanding too. So what’s behind the new trend in the popularity of ceramic tile in commercial environments?

C Durability

A primary beneficial factor associated with ceramic tiles is durability. Surfaces in commercial spaces need to be really tough. Unlike most tiled surfaces in the home, commercial spaces are often subject to a very high footfall and can often be subject to great weights when used as a floor surface. Installed correctly, ceramic tiles can withstand vast weights. Their durability is proven by the discovery of intact ceramic tiling installations found in the ruins of Ancient Rome and Europe. Handily, a scale of hardness exists for ceramic tile, rating the products from zero to five. Zero to two is categorised as being suitable for wall tile, three is appropriate for most residential uses. Four and five are the hardest ceramic tiles and are suitable for commercial applications. This scale not only gives customers the choice of their type of ceramic tile, but it also ensures that the tiles are approved as suitable for the desired use.


Resilience is an important feature needed in commercial applications, another reason why designers and specifiers are increas- ingly opting to pick ceramic tile ranges for commercial projects. Ceramic tiling is easy to maintain and clean. Heavy duty cleaning equipment and chemicals are often used in commercial spaces due to their efficiency and ceramic tiles are not only able to

When specifying for outdoor areas the critical point is a material’s ability to survive everything the weather throws at it

withstand the cleaning equipment’s weight easily but also are not negatively affected by the chemicals in the cleaning products.


Crucially, ceramic tiles do not harbour germs, making them the ideal choice for surfaces in any commercial environment. This hygienic feature means unwanted smells don’t linger and it helps in the battle to ensure the healthiest environments possi- ble. In spaces where large numbers of people must be in close proximity, such as transport hubs, public bathrooms and workplaces, a responsibility exists for speci- fiers to choose materials that perform positively in respect to the inhabitants’ health. Additionally, recent studies have shown a correlation between healthy workplace environments and company productivity and profitability. So the less germs carrying coughs and colds around, the better it is for the economy!


Once properly sealed, ceramic tiles can easily be made waterproof, making them a safe choice in spaces where people may be walking in and out frequently in all weather conditions such as shopping centres or reception areas. When sealed expertly ceramic tiling can even be used for exteriors. When specifying for outdoor areas the critical point is a material’s ability to survive everything the weather throws at it, including extreme tempera- ture changes: rain, snow and sunshine. Ceramic tiles are the runaway favourite in this respect – and if proof were required


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