What’s the difference? How to choose between non-slip, grip or external finish tiles

What’s the difference? How to choose between non-slip, grip or external finish tiles

There is an overwhelming array of terms used in the tile industry for tiles with a rough finish, which vary slightly from store to store.


We often have customers who come to our showrooms asking for “non-slip” tiles, which is something we have to clarify. We totally understand why people would like to specify tiles that aren’t slippery for the floors in their home. Having said this, the only tiles that will prevent you from slipping entirely are too rough for your to use inside, as the gritty surface will grab onto all spills and dirt. You can’t use a pressure hose inside your home! To help you with your research in buying tiles, this blog post will explain the different terms used for non-slip tiles, the appropriate places to use them and introduce the slip-rating system used here in Australia.


What is the difference between all of these terms?


Non-slip, grip, external finish, slip-resistant, slip-rated… technically, these are all umbrella terms for the same thing – tiles with a rough surface. Any tile that has a ‘structured’ or rough surface and is made of porcelain, will act suitably to reduce slipping on the floor and are generally used outside.

Different manufacturers, shop assistants and tilers use different terms, so it is important to point out the area in which you want to use the tile. For example; if your tiler recommended you buy “slip resistant” tiles for the floor in your bathroom, and you went to a retail store and asked for that exact thing, without specifying the area they are for – you may end up with tiles in your bathroom that are too rough to mop, vacuum or wipe clean. Non-slip tiles should therefore only be used externally.


If I can’t use non-slip tiles inside my home, what can I use to stop the floor being slippery?


The reality is that nothing you put in your bathroom or kitchen, when wet, will be slip-proof. The finish we use for porcelain tiles in the bathroom and kitchen is usually a “matt” (or “matte”) finish. This means the tile is glazed (therefore also non-porous) but has a flat, only slightly textured finish on it. This allows the tiles to be cleaned, moped and vacuumed easily.

Another precaution we can take when our bathroom when it is wet is the use of a bathmat.


What about slip-ratings?


When a tile is deemed non-slip, it has a ‘slip rating’ (which is now called a ‘P rating’) given to it after being tested through what the industry calls a wet pendulum test. All you need to know, is that the P ratings range between P1 and P5, P5 being the most slip resistant. The old method of testing a tile’s slip rating was an oil-wet ramp test, which gave a ‘R rating’. These ranged from R9 to R13.



If you are still confused about which finish you should be using in your home, feel free to pop into one of our stores and direct your questions to one of our lovely sales staff. We have a huge selection of both indoor and outdoor finish porcelain tiles on display in all of our showrooms. For more information on slip-ratings, you can contact the Australian Tile Council here.