Architect Corner – Are Porcelain Tiles Slippery When Wet?

Slip resistance is a crucial area of health and safety. Whether in a commercial building or a residential space, the risk of slipping is something that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) cares deeply about.
It’s also something that designers and specifiers have to take very seriously. Whether or not a tile is slippery when wet depends upon several variables. Here’s a quick guide to controlling the risk so that safety is never compromised.

What Makes a Surface Slippery?

Slipping occurs when two surfaces have so little friction that they cannot stop the flow of kinetic energy.

All materials have an inherent slip risk. Coarse and rough grains are the least slippery. Smooth surfaces are the most.

In addition to this, extra factors can have an influence. Cleaning detergents can leave a smooth, slippery sheen that renders an otherwise safe floor hazardous. Socks and other footwear can be too soft to generate friction, leading to a slip hazard.

Water, oil, and other contaminants can also send anyone flying.

blue pool tiles for big indoor pool

How is Slip Resistance Measured?

Slip resistance is measured by a variety of HSE approved tests, such as the pendulum test. These give a surface an ‘a PTV Rating’.

inside pool looking out at sitting area leading to garden

How Does Porcelain Measure Up?

Porcelain tiles are treated to have different finishes. These finishes can alter the PTV rating.

For instance, texture can be created through processes within manufacturing, using different molds to mimic the effects of bush hammering. Bush hammering creates miniature points of impact that make a surface look and feel like natural, weathered stone.

In porcelain tile innovation, visual intensity is no barrier to creating a safe, anti-slip finish.

As such, some porcelain tiles are designed specifically with slip resistance in mind. Examples of these include the lively Archipietra, the classic Torino, the subtle Ardosia, as well as the Corfe, the Signature, and the Basaltino.

Drawn from client feedback and designer influence, these tiles are the most popular solutions in areas where water is likely.

Whether in a bathroom or on the edge of a pool, texture is everything when it comes to staying safe.

looking along pool at gym area with glass wall

What About Other Materials?

Natural stone can be an excellent surface for areas that may become wet. Different stones and various finishes have different slip resistances. If anti-slip properties are a concern, porcelain may be a better choice than natural stone.

Increased Safety

Slip resistance is at the heart of flooring research and development. Aesthetics, cost and availability remain crucial considerations for designers.

The future of bespoke flooring solutions, commercial porcelain flooring, and anti-slip design are all moving in the direction of increased safety.

To hear more about the health and safety requirements of porcelain, how it is tested and certified, or to learn the slip resistance of specific ranges, please contact us.