Blog/Designing Tile Surfaces that Endure
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Designing Tile Surfaces that Endure

Most architects and designers have a deep desire to build a body of work - a legacy of meaningful design that endures over decades and longer. Designing spaces that last starts with specifying environmental aspects such as hard surfaces that will stay fresh and intact for years to come. Knowledge of current and advanced technologies and best practices in specification is a key to success in every project.

When it comes to flooring, one top concern is strength. When designing for spaces that need to endure large static or dynamic heavy loads, it is essential to assess a tile’s breaking strength and Modulus of Rupture before specification. Proper installation and an appropriate substrate are also key. When selecting material, the first measurement to look for when determining the tolerance of porcelain flooring under dynamic (moving) or static (still) loads is Breaking Strength – the standard to look for in tile is ASTM C648 for loads of 250 lbs. Remember this is just a minimum – if you really wanted to drive a car over the floor, you would need something far greater than 250 pounds.

Of course most floors won't have to bear auto traffic, but it is surprising how often a surface is specified without regard to the vehicular traffic related to maintenance. This is a real consideration in any commercial space. When designing floors for multi-level or high-ceilinged areas, consider that even if the space does not endure a heavy day-to-day load, maintenance in a tall space, such as a multi-story lobby, may require regular use of heavy equipment – for instance, a scissor lift – just to change light bulbs or wash windows.

The second standard to seek out is Modulus of Rupture, also known as Bending Strength. This standard measures how far the tile can bend before cracking or breaking. ISO 10545-4:2014 specifies a test method for determining the modulus of rupture and breaking strength of all ceramic tiles. If your porcelain is going to be subjected to heavy loads, ask your tile professional about the product’s Modulus of Rupture, or MOR. Mosa has applied state-of-the-art technology to develop a range of porcelain tile that exceeds the minimums for these key requirements, assuring that your legacy designs are ready for the test of time.