Technical

Industry Tests and Standards

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are nationally recognized organizations, which provide the testing procedures and standard values, respectively for ceramic tile produced in the United States. 

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed over 17000 technical standards. European tile manufacturers follow and test production using the ISO standards for ceramic tile.

Installation Standards

ANSI writes the specification standards for the installation of Ceramic Tile.  Its publication is a compilation of voluntary standards.  These standard specifications define the installation and material of ceramic tile as well as test methods and physical properties for ceramic tile installation materials.  These standards are typically referenced and included in the ceramic tile sections of project specifications.

Technical Tests

Below are common technical test standards done for North American and European produced ceramic tile.

Industry Test

ASTM

ISO

Slip Resistance

ASTM C 1028  (COF)

 

Abrasion Resistance  - Glazed

ASTM C 1027

ISO 10545-7

Abrasion Resistance – Through body

 

ISO 10545-6

Frost Resistance

ASTM C 1026

ISO 10543-12

Water Absorption

ASTM C  373

ISO 10545-3

Chemical Resistance

ASTM C  650

ISO 10545-13

Break Strength

ASTM C  648

ISO 10545-4

Stain Resistance

ASTM C 1378

ISO 10545-14

Scratch Hardness

MOHS Scale Rating

MOHS Scale Rating

Slip Resistance

Neither ANSI nor ASTM establishes an industry standard identifying a minimum coefficient of friction (COF) value whereby ceramic tile is labeled “Slip resistant”. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends a minimum static COF of 0.60 (wet and dry) for accessible routes and 0.80 (wet and dry) for ramps. OSHA recommends a minimum static COF of 0.50 (wet and dry) for slip resistant walking and working surfaces.

The COF may vary within and between production runs because of the inherent characteristics of fired clay products.  COF can also vary from its original state due to the presence of contaminants, floor finishes and other factors.

Italian tile manufacturers often perform the American tests (ASTM C1028) at the request of American distributors who are commercially specifying tile in the US.

Technical Specifications

 

ASTM C1028

 

 

Slip Resistance
This standard tests the anti-slip properties by determining the coefficient of friction between the tile and a body with a rubber surface.  This test is performed in both dry and wet conditions.  The COF (coefficient of friction) is defined as the horizontal force needed to overcome the vertical force of the objects weight.

 

 

ISO 10545-7

ASTM C1027

 

 

Resistance to Abrasion and Tread Wear
Abrasion resistance is the capacity of the glazed surface to resist the wear caused by foot traffic or the abrasion caused by mechanical equipment.  The wear action determines the suitable applications for each tile. 

Class 5     Heavy Commercial: suitable for intense commercial and all residential
Class 4     Commercial: suitable for medium commercial and all residential
Class 3     Heavy Residential, Light Commercial; suitable for all residential,     average abrasion
Class 2     Residential: suitable for residential excluding kitchen, entryways, and stairs
Class 1     Light Residential: barefoot traffic and traffic without abrasive dirt.
Class 0     Wall tile only; not suitable for floors

Through body porcelain tile does not have a glaze and does not receive this test. It receives the deep abrasion test 10545-6. (conform or not conform)

ISO 10545-12

Frost Resistance
Frost resistance is directly related to water absorption.  Frost resistance is a quality tiles have when they are subjected to water at temperatures lower that 0 degrees C without being damaged by stress generated by their moisture content freezing.  If tiles absorb water and freeze the tile may fracture as the tile expands. Tiles may be rated as frost resistant or not.

Any tile that meets ISO 10543-3 at <.5% water absorption also meets ISO standard 10545-12 for frost resistance. 

ISO 10545-3

Water Absorption
Absorption is the product capacity for water penetration.  Porcelain tile is an impervious, very dense product with a very low absorbency rate.  Ceramic tiles are more porous and generally less durable than porcelain tiles due to a less dense body composition.  Ceramic wall tiles are the least dense and can have a water absorption rate of over 10% of its weight.

Porcelain tile is less than .5% absorption by definition therefore it meets ISO standard 10545-3. 

ISO 10545-13

Chemical Resistance
The ISO standard 10545-13 tests a tiles resistance to chemical interaction.  Tiles, which are going to be exposed to aggressive chemical, should be evaluated based on the performance of the test.  (Commercial kitchens, swimming pools)

ISO
10545-4

Break Strength
Tests the tiles resistance to heavy loads.  The breaking strength is the force needed to break the tile.

ISO 10545-14

Stain Resistance and Maintainability
Method applicable to all working surface of ceramic tiles to determine their resistance to stains.  Each staining agent must remain on at least 5 testing samples, for at least 24 hours.  Removal of the staining agent takes place in subsequent steps using various agents and cleaning procedures.

Class 5      Stain removed with hot water
Class 4      Stain removed with weak cleaner
Class 3      Stain removed with strong cleaner
Class 2      Stain removed with specific solvents
Class 1      Stain not removed

To meet the standard a tile must be rated Class 3 or higher.

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