What is the Difference Between Wall and Floor Tiles?
Posted on June 15, 2021

Tile styles and trends have drastically changed in the past few years. Traditionally what was used as a floor tile is now being used to decorate and strengthen the wall. These tiles are no more restricted to your kitchen or bathroom. So does it really matter if it is a wall tile or a floor tile? Technically, Yes!. It is really important to learn the difference between wall and floor tiles!

At Ferreira’s, you get a huge variety of tiles categorized for different use. The team of experienced tilers are already ready to fulfil your requirement and also answer all your queries from time to time. As a professional, we would like to throw some light on what makes wall and floor tiles different from each other.

Let’s Clear Our Basics

We all have wondered whether wall and floor tiles are different from each other or it is just some marketing gimmick. The tile market is huge and confusing. We often come across queries like whether there are some tiles specifically designed for the floor and some for the wall? Is there only one type of tile that is used for both areas interchangeably? Well, both these tiles are way too different from each other. Let us tell you exactly what floor and wall tiles are!

What is a Floor Tile?

Floor Tile

As easy as it can be, floor tiles are the ones that are used for your floor. They are very strong and are capable of resisting wear and tear. As we don’t want our kitchen tiles to break within a few months of installation, using floor tiles is the only option. At Ferreira’s, floor tiles are used only for flooring purposes and have a PEI rating from 1 to 5. In simple language, they are robust and resistant to wear.

What is a Wall Tile?

wall tiles

In technical language, wall tiles have a rating of 0 on the PEI scale. It means that they cannot bear weight as compared to the one used for your floors and are only suitable for walls. For those looking for kitchen splashbacks and shower walls, wall tile works the best. They are relatively easier to install and clean any grease or oil on the tile.

| Also Read: Understanding the Different Types of Tiles: Wall, Floor, Bathroom, & Roof |

Wall Tiles vs Floor Tiles

There are a lot of differences when it comes to wall tiles and floor tiles. When looking for tiles in the market, you need to pay attention to the Coefficient of Friction Rating (COF) and Porcelain Enamel Institute Rating (PEI) as they play a major role.

worker install stone wall tile with cement for house decoration

COF rating helps in determining which type of tile goes on the wall and floor. Whether it is made up of ceramic or porcelain, every tile has a certain COF rating. The higher the rating, the greater the friction will be.

PEI ratings are another important factor that you need to check when looking for tiles. This rating defines the durability and sturdiness of the tile. The Porcelain Enamel Institute has issued five classes of PEI rating that tile companies can use if they feel. The rating ranges from Class 1- for areas with no foot traffic, to Class 5- for areas with heavy foot traffic.

Wall Tile: A porcelain or ceramic tile can have any COF and PEI rating. Often manufacturers categorize them as wall tiles on their store or website.

Floor Tiles: For interior flooring, the tile needs to have a COF rating of 0.50 or more. The ones used for exteriors have a much higher COF rating. It usually starts from 0.60. The PEI rating needs to be 3 to 5 in order to qualify as a strong floor tile. The best thing about floor tiles is that they can be used as wall tiles.

Wall vs Floor Tiles: Appearance

Wall Tile: Talking about the appearance of ceramic and porcelain wall tile and floor tile, there is no appreciable difference. However, it is smaller in size and lightweight as they are installed on the vertical surface.

Floor Tile: The sizing of a consumer-level floor tile can range up to 18×18 inch square sizes. Large-sized floor tiles are really popular due to their super-large format.

Water & Heat Resistance

Wall Tile: Wall tiles have the same resistance to water as compared to floor tiles. However, they are thinner than the floor tiles which makes them a little less resistant to extreme heat.

Floor Tile: They are typically thicker in size. It means that they are much better resistant to heat if installed as a countertop. Floor tile holds a slight edge which makes it the best for water and heat resistance.

Durability & Maintenance

Wall Tile: They are thinner than floor tiles and can crack if used as a floor tile. Wall tiles are durable and perfect for wall installations.

Floor Tile: Floor tiles are thicker and durable as compared to wall tiles, and are therefore perfect as a wall as well as a floor tile.


Floor Tile: They are robust and durable, therefore, floor tiles have the best lifespan.

Wall Tile: They are slimmer and less strong as compared to floor tiles. Wall tiles are not as durable as the other ones.

These are some of the major differences between wall and floor tiles that will help select and shop smarter. However, there are a few FAQs that customers have when looking for wall or floor tiles.

| Also Read: How To Measure Your Room For Carpet and Floor Tiles |


Laying Ceramic Tiles

Can floor tiles be used on walls?

They look great when installed on the floor. However, due to their robust and durable nature, floor tiles fit perfect as wall tiles.

How to match floor tiles to wall tiles?

It is important to coordinate your tiles to highlight colours and shapes in the room. This helps in creating a cohesive look. Try to find floor tiles that are lighter than your wall tiles.

Do large tiles make a room look bigger or smaller?

Larger tiles make your room look bigger than usual. The reason is that the grout lines are thinner and fewer. Large-format tiles make floors look more streamlined and create an illusion of a much bigger space.

Choosing your tile without knowing the difference between wall and floor tiles can be a bit difficult and expensive. Connect with Ferreira’s if you need any assistance in finding the perfect colour, shape, material if tile for your space. Our tilers have expertise in this segment and will help you with design, supply, fit, and aftercare services.