What to consider when choosing tiles for commercial properties

Marble tiles are ideal for lobbies that strive for an exceptional feel and look. PHOTO | ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • Without a doubt, tiles have the utmost importance for commercial properties. Their versatility enables one to create a visually attractive atmosphere where guests feel comfortable, which can significantly contribute to your overall return on investment.

Tiles are the perfect materials to transform the way your commercial project looks and feels. Tiles come in various styles and offer a wide range of benefits from functional to safety, aesthetics and cost-effectiveness.  

When choosing tiles, the most vital consideration should be safety. Because your property will be used by people of diverse physical abilities, it is your responsibility to make it safe for all.  

This will require tiles that have high slip resistance ratings for both wet and dry conditions. 

Keneth Olupe, the sales manager at Romantic Tiles, Uganda, says the perfect solution can be found in the stunning porcelain and marble tiles for spaces such as restaurants, offices, banks and warehouses. This is because porcelain has a stunning finish that also offers a pleasant feel for users while its non-slip properties guarantee safety. 

The quality of your restroom will affect customer perception. A luxurious restroom can have an extremely positive effect on a business, because many people tend to avoid those with poor facilities.  

This is why well-designed commercial restrooms have become more important than ever. And nothing adds a luxurious touch as the use of tiles. For restrooms, Olupe recommends tiles that have a matt finish which has a rough surface, which gives it a high anti-slip rating. 


Many property developers are also moving towards bigger slabs (tile pieces) which have been adopted from other countries and are available in marble and other forms. Most big slabs on the market are 60 X 60 cm, 80X 260 cm and upwards. These come in two forms of glossy which are shinny and matt tiles which have a rough texture.

The advantage with big slabs is that a few tiles occupy a larger space. They are cheaper in terms of time and laying, however, one must get an expert with the ability to lay them well.


When choosing tiles for commercial properties, Olupe stresses that durability should be taken into account to prevent disruption of businesses for renovation and maintenance purposes.

“Commercial properties need tiles that can last long since there is high volume of traffic in all areas at all times,” he advises.

You can determine whether the floor tile has excellent durability by checking the PEI scale’s rating system. The scale ranges between Class 1 and 5, wherein one is the least resistant and five is highly resistant to abrasion. You should always go for tiles with a Class 3 or larger PEI scale because of the significant foot traffic your floors will experience every day. Most residential owners will prefer Class 1 or 2-floor tiles since houses don’t gain a lot of foot traffic.

One of the most popular types of commercial tiles is porcelain, due to its high-durability and scratch resistance, which make it low maintenance. 

Tiles made from natural stone are also great choices when looking for durability.  Naturally stone is harvested from quarries around the world, ensuring exotic and unique looks. With its ability to withstand the elements, stone, with the proper care will last a lifetime. Stone defines luxury for walls, floors, and countertops. For countertops likely to be subjected to heavy use, go for quartzite or granite, as they are the strongest natural stone. If you find marble, limestone, travertine or other natural stone more attractive, do not hesitate to select them. All are durable enough to withstand the demands put on most countertops.


One of the main reasons tiles are preferred is their ability to create a variety of design schemes due to their variety in look and usage. For instance if you want to bring the outdoors indoors, you can use wood-effect tiles. 

“There are wood-effect tiles that combine the visual qualities of authentic wooden floors with the enhanced benefits and durability of a tiles, which have become popular for the biophilic design enthusiasts,” says Olupe.

When designing a commercial space, it is advisable to go for a neutral colour scheme. Neutral colours are perfect for creating a calm, inviting, and relaxing atmosphere. This is ideal for businesses such as spas, salons and doctor’s offices. They can also create an upscale look for restaurants and other businesses. 

Marble is another popular material used by designers and architects for hospitality decor where luxury and exclusivity is desired. Due to the natural characteristics of stone, each marble slab is unique, which can be used in different combinations to achieve a dramatic interior. 

Marble tiles are ideal for lobbies that strive for an exceptional feel and look.  In addition to being stylish, marble tiles can withstand heavy traffic and regular wear and tear at the same time. These elegant tiles can also be used to achieve a cohesive look since they are suitable for use across the walls and floor or as statement cladding. 


As the demand for cleaner and safer spaces continues to grow, the need for easy to clean tiles is likely to become more prevalent in both commercial and residential construction.  Olupe also notes the importance of achieving the right balance between finding a tile that is non-slip and has a great grip, but which is also easy to clean and comfortable under the foot when used in a bathroom or leisure setting.

“Generally, a multipurpose spray cleaner, which removes soap scum, hard water deposits and mildew designed for everyday use can be used on wall tile areas. 

A cotton mop, cloth, sponge, or non-metallic brush should be used to apply and agitate cleaner. Rinse the area with clean water and dry thoroughly,” he says. 

Routine cleaners should never contain harsh chemicals as these can damage tile. Acids can damage grout and the glazed surface of the tile. Ammonia can discolour grout. Regular dust mopping, sweeping, or vacuuming is recommended prior to cleaning with liquid products.  Unglazed tile should be cleaned routinely with concentrated tile cleaners with a neutral pH for safe regular use. These cleaners are better suited for removing grease, oils, and normal spills from unglazed products. Again these products will vary depending on the application, amount of traffic and the use. The product chosen should also be compatible with the grout.


Remember that floor tiles in commercial places will generate a lot of noise, especially when people wear work shoes with thick soles. It can also become a problem for sneakers because floor tiles can cause them to squeak loudly, which can be disruptive and irritating for such an environment.  This is why it is recommended to go for tiles that insulate noise such as vinyl, which has sound-insulating underlayment.

When used outside

When used outside, tiles should be able to absorb or repel heat depending on the specific project requirements. This means that when installed outside, the tiles will stay safe and cool underfoot even when exposed to the hot sun. Ronald Batte, an interior and landscape designer at B.U.I.L.D Holdings Limited, says outdoor tiles should be durable such as porcelain and slip resistant such as the matt finished tiles. 

“Matt tiles are ideal for outdoor because of their texture which helps to prevent slipping and falls,” says Olupe. 

If you expect heavy traffic or plan to place heavy furnishings on your tile, you will need a tough, scratch-resistant tile that can withstand heavy loads.