Porcelain vs. Ceramic Tiles

December 21, 2021 4 min read

You may think porcelain and ceramic tiles are the same, but if you look close enough, there’s a world of difference between them. The words porcelain and ceramic are often used interchangeably, which is understandable given how similar the two types of tiles appear at first glance. Whether you’re choosing between porcelain and ceramic tiles for your kitchen, bathroom or outdoor area, here’s everything you need to know to select the perfect tiles for your home.
   

  
What is the difference between porcelain and ceramic tiles?
Porcelain and Ceramic tiles share more similarities than differences. The main difference between the two tiles is the rate of water they absorb and what they are made from. Porcelain tiles absorb less than 0.5% of water, while ceramic tiles absorb more.

The reasons for this difference boil down to the make-up of each tile. Porcelain tiles are made from a denser white clay and fired at a higher temperature, which is, therefore, less porous. Ceramic tiles are made from a lighter red, brown or white clay, and are softer and less dense.

Both tiles receive a surface glazing, however, the finish of porcelain is smoother than that of ceramic because it is made from a finer grain. To the untrained eye, the label on the box is the main noticeable difference between the two tiles and this will help you decipher which is which.

 

Ceramic


Advantages of ceramic tiles
Many people prefer ceramic tiles, and these are a few reasons why.

They are cheaper - Ceramic tile can be much cheaper compared to porcelain tiles. This is because the ingredients are more cost-efficient, and the way they are constructed is easier and less time-consuming.
Greater variety of designs - Ceramic tiles are available in a huge variety of designs, which also means they are usually more up to date with trends. They come in a wide range of more artful, intricate designs, can have textured surfaces and be customized in more colours and patterns than porcelain tiles.
More user-friendly - If you’re looking to do a DIY project, ceramic tiles are easier to cut, which will make the process much more stress-free.

Disadvantages of ceramic tiles
Ceramic tiles are a popular choice for many, however, there are several disadvantages.

They may crack when they freeze - Due to the ingredients used to make ceramic tiles and their ability to hold moisture, they can be prone to cracking, especially in colder weather such as frost and snow.
Resistance to water - Ceramic tiles are more porous, which means they have a higher water absorption rate. This can be problematic if the area where you hope to use the ceramic tiles receives a significant amount of water - for example, they are not suitable for submerged applications like in pools.
Lack durability - The durability of ceramic tiles is not very high. Because they are not a tough tile, they will not withstand high traffic without damage. Eg they are not as durable when used on floors, especially high traffic areas!
They are mainly used indoors - Because of the lack of durability and high water absorption rate, ceramic tiles are mainly used for interior purposes.

 

Porcelain


Advantages of porcelain tiles
Porcelain tiles have several valuable characteristics that make them a popular choice.

Less water absorption - Unlike ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles are known for their water resistance. The tile is almost impervious to water as it is more porous and therefore has a higher absorption rate.
They are durable - Porcelain tiles are hard-wearing due to the density of the tile. This means they can withstand more wear and tear and are suited to environments with a lot of traffic, such as outdoor or commercial areas. For a floor tile, these are our go-to!
Can be used indoors and outdoors - Due to the durability of porcelain tile, you can use it outdoors without damage. The soft appearance of the tile makes it suitable for interior use as well.

Disadvantages of porcelain tiles
Porcelain tiles are the tile of choice for many reasons, but they don’t come without some drawbacks.

Less variety of designs - Porcelain tiles come in a reduced variety of designs which means there are fewer options when it comes to finding the right style for your design needs.
They are expensive - There are significant costs involved in manufacturing porcelain tile, which means they are sold at a higher price point.
Difficult to cut - Porcelain tiles require skill when it comes to cutting because the material is solid and durable. Sorry to all the DIYers, but you will need a professional if you’re using porcelain!

 
So Porcelain or Ceramic?
It’s the age-old question: Which is better, porcelain or ceramic tiles? There is a lot to like about ceramic and porcelain tiles; they can both elevate the look of your home and add value to your property, but it’s important to choose the right tiles for the job. It comes down to what you’re looking for in terms of cost, design and placement. Whichever one you choose, you can trust that TileCloud will provide you with the very best ceramic and porcelain tiles for all your tile needs.


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