5 Reasons Why You Must Use Vitrified Tiles for Steps & Other High Traffic Flooring


Steps, stairs, and footpaths require tiles with sturdy surfaces and anti-skid properties. These features will not only make the floor retain its appearance but also ensure safety for the users.

Vitrified step tiles and floor tile options are perfect for these areas. Vitrified tiles offer several qualities enabling them with adequate surface hardness, body strength and anti-skid properties for high-traffic areas.

However, all vitrified tiles are not the same, and you can use different types in different areas. Your choices must be based on tile attributes and the amount and type of traffic:

Types of Vitrified Tiles

You can choose from a variety of vitrified tiles. The following five types of vitrified tiles can meet various floor-tiling needs in different areas:

Full-Body Vitrified Tile (FBVT)

Full-body vitrified tiles are homogeneous blocks of tile with colour pigment permeating the entire body. You can break the tile from anywhere, and the design and colour patterns will not change. These tiles are akin to natural stones like granite in their formation and effectively bear outdoor elements without change to their form and shape.

Double-Charged Vitrified Tile (DCVT)

DCVTs feature a dual-tone surface where the colours are infused directly on the tile. The directly infused colours form a 3-4mm thick layer of pigment on top of the tile. The colour pigments provide an appearance and sturdiness akin to marble stone, albeit without the permeability of the stone.

Soluble Salt Vitrified Tile (SSVT)

Soluble salt vitrified tiles are created with soluble salts applied on the tile's surface before firing. Firing creates patterns of various colours that are infused on the tile's surface and, to some extent, into the body. These are the least expensive vitrified tiles of all five.

Glazed Vitrified Tile (GVT)

Glazed vitrified tiles are the most impressive when it comes to surface designs. These tiles have a layer of hard glaze applied to the top surface and then unique patterns digitally printed on the glaze. GVTs can allow you to create unique and elegant wall and floor decor in your house or office.

Polished Vitrified Tile (PVT or PGVT)

All the vitrified tiles, including soluble salt vitrified tiles, can be polished. At H&R Johnson PGVTs receive two types of polishing - surface polishing for shiny finish, and nano polish for sealing the micropores and stain-free surface.

Typically, SSVTs and FBVTs are nano-polished. While nano polish covers the tiny pores on the surface of FBVTs and makes them stain resistant, for SSVTs, the polish will increase the durability of the surface.

DCVTs and GVTs are polished to give their surface a mirror-like shine, adding elegance to their already beautiful prints.

Vitrified Tiles for Steps & High-Traffic Areas

Vitrified tiles are usually recommended for high-traffic areas. High-traffic areas mean vehicle parking, ramps, crossways, footpaths, railway and bus stations, malls, retail stores, workshops, and similar areas.

Here are the qualities of vitrified tiles which make them a perfect choice for stairs and high-traffic areas:

Sturdier Surface Quality

The appearance of a tile's surface design has a lot of say in its selection for installation in any building or home. Thus, you would want the tile's surface design to remain intact for a long time. This is where vitrified tiles (except the soluble salt tile) play a superhero.

Here's a chart of vitrified tile type and its recommended placement due to surface durability and quality:

Full Body Vitrified The tile's surface remains intact and can take a ton of abuse without any visible signs of damage. Recommended areas:
  • Outdoor areas garden, patio, parking
  • Countertops kitchen and bathroom countertops
  • Steps and stairs (pre-cut and polished FBVTs available for staircase applications at H&R Johnson under the Step Stone tile range)
  • Double Charged Tile has a thick layer of colour pigments. Thus, the surface retains its appearance despite minor scratches. Though you can use DCVTs outdoors the recommended applications are:
  • Retail shops and showrooms
  • Malls and offices
  • Restaurants
  • Residential Floors
  • Glazed Vitrified Tiles Best for walls and floors in areas that need special attention, such as:
  • Residential Floors eg Living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen
  • Hotel lobby, reception area
  • Mall’s common area
  • Restaurant pathways

    Mechanical Strength of the Body

    Vitrified tiles can be manufactured with varying degrees of density and mechanical strength as per the requirement. The vitrification process ensures a homogeneous and strong structure of the tile base. Thus, the tile features high mechanical strength and weight-bearing capacity.

    You can install 12-20mm thick FBVTs with a fully adhesive base. These tiles are better in strength to natural stones like granite and can be made stronger.

    Resistant to Moisture

    Vitrified tiles are non-porous and do not absorb moisture. However, unpolished vitrified tiles have tiny pores on their surface that can make them catch stains. This is why only polished vitrified tiles are recommended for areas with a possibility of moisture.

    Polishing fills up the pores and gives the tiles a stain-free surface.

    Frost Resistance

    Vitrified tiles are resistant to thermal shocks and thawing. Thus, you can use these tiles in extremely cold and hot areas. DCVTs and FBVTs are resistant to fire and do not lose their surface quality due to exposure to fire.

    Colour Stability

    Except for the unpolished soluble salt tiles, all other vitrified tiles have a stable colour quality. Meaning, you can install these tiles in areas exposed to sunlight and other elements and they will retain their colour pigment.

    Resistant to Fungal Growth

    The non-porous quality of the vitrified tiles automatically makes them resistant to fungal and bacterial growth. Thus, you can safely place these tiles in areas that require hygienic surfaces.

    Vitrified Step Tiles at H&R Johnson

    Vitrified tiles offer some of the best tiling options for staircases and steps. 10-12mm thick fully vitrified tiles are durable and have a uniform structure. The uniformity allows the tiles to retain their appearance despite long-term usage.

    H&R Johnson offers full-body vitrified tiles for staircase applications. The tiles boast a strong body and a sturdy surface that can remain unscathed under high footfall. Johnson’s Step Stone Tiles are ready-to-install tiles featuring rounded edges and tread lines.

    These tiles are available with matching risers and high thicknesses for public area stairs. You can buy and install the pre-cut tiles in place with only minor adjustments if needed.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Yes, full-body vitrified, and double-charged vitrified tiles are perfect for stairs. Both types of tiles have a physical structure and surface finish that can withstand heavy footfall without damage.

    Glazed vitrified tiles (GVTs) are one of the best vitrified tiles on all fronts. GVTs or porcelain tiles are available with unique artistic patterns and high surface durability. High gloss and rocker matte finish can put these tiles on par with some of the most expensive natural stones.

    When used correctly vitrified tiles give negligible chances of complaints. However, vitrified tiles like soluble salt can lose their surface design and colours over time. Also, the unpolished full-body vitrified tiles can get stained if exposed to liquid or powder contaminants. Other than that, GVTs are brittle and will break if exposed to blunt force.