Difference Between Ceramic Tile vs Porcelain Tile

July 22, 2016 by adm_profloors

Whether you are building your dream home or remodeling your current home, flooring causes homeowners to often wonder what the best flooring material for their kitchen, bathroom, entry ways, etc. Which is better porcelain tile or ceramic tile? Which is more durable? Which is more practical?

Each tile material have their own characteristics and pros and cons. What most people cannot decide is which makes one better than the other.

Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tile vs Porcelain Tile

Although ceramic and porcelain tile look very similar, there are many noticeable differences if you know what to look for. For example, porcelain floor tiles are more dense and less porous than ceramic tile flooring. So what does than mean? Porcelain tiles are better for indoor and outdoor use in areas with heavy foot traffic. Ceramic tiles are highly recommended for interior flooring and wall tiles, and ceramic tends to be more cost effective.

Benefits of Using Porcelain Floor Tile

Liquid Resistance

The higher density of porcelain make the tile more resistant to many kinds of liquid penetration, which makes porcelain better in areas that are subject to water or other liquids such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Highly Stain Resistant

Porcelain tile is highly stain resistant. The tile repels liquids from penetrating the tile. In addition glazing your porcelain tile increases its stain resistance making it virtually stain proof.

Absorption

The international standard for porcelain tile states that in order to be qualified as “Porcelain” tile must have water absorption rate of less than one tenth of 1%.  The water absorption rate of porcelain tile makes it suitable for interior and exterior application in all climates.  The water absorption rate of ceramic tile is usually greater than 3%, which means that it is not suitable for exterior applications.

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Ceramic & Porcelain Tile Are Great For Surfaces
That May Come In Contact With Water

 

Durability

Porcelain tiles are considered the toughest flooring option on the market. Porcelain is solid, hard, dense, impact resistant and density is pressed under 6000 pounds per square inch. Ceramic is more prone to chipping and cracking.

Fireproof

Porcelain tiles are the type of materials that do not easily burn under normal circumstances and these floors could restrict the movement of flames in case there has been a fire outbreak.

Lifespan

If porcelain tiles are properly installed the way they should be, you don’t have to worry about them getting worn out even if they’ll be installed in places where there’s high traffic, as porcelains have the ability to last for a couple of decades if used properly. With that, the period cost of replacement and removal can be eliminated.

Low Maintenance

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Porcelain is an excellent choice for outdoor living areas

The natural stain, as well as the water resistance of porcelain is one of the reasons why it’s very easy to maintain. For instance, spills could easily be spot cleaned using a damp rag or conventional mop whenever it’s needed and regular sweeping can be done to keep loose dust and debris off the floor. Through this, the glazed surface would be thoroughly maintained and would last for a couple of years. Furthermore, periodic damp mopping using a pH balanced solution is also advisable as it’s a wonderful way to disinfect the area.

Repairs

Just like what has been mentioned earlier, this type of material is highly resistant to cracking, as well as breakage caused by physical impacts. Though, damage could still happen on a tile, but this isn’t really a problem at all. You can easily replace or remove the damaged tile. Overall, it’s highly advisable to keep an extra box or two of this during installation, because this would also make the color matching easier for you.

Porcelain Disadvantages

Despite its number of benefits, porcelain tiles also have some drawbacks, such as:

Cost to Install Porcelain Tile Flooring

One of the drawbacks of using porcelain tiles is the fact that they can be a little expensive, and most of the time, the materials out pace most of the standard ceramic options. This would increase the cost of installation, which also implies that there would be around 25-50% increase in the total cost depending on where it’s going to be installed.

Porcelain Floor Tile Weight

Just like with other types of hard tile flooring, even porcelain tiles have the tendency of being a little heavier. This makes the installation process a little more cumbersome. Also, it can be used on second floors of buildings, unless it hasn’t been built for this kind of additional weight.

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Porcelain Tile Installation Advice

The process of installing porcelain tiles is time consuming, difficult, and could also be quite laborious. Since porcelains are very heavy, but quite sturdy, it can be challenging to get precise cuts needed for architectural buildings.

Grout

porcelain tile flooring, ceramic tile flooring, tile flooring, installing porcelain tile, installing ceramic tile, ceramic tile, porcelain tileAlthough porcelains are almost water proof and resistant to damage, stain, and water penetration, you ought to know that the lines between the tiles are sill a little vulnerable. What does this mean? Since the grout is a type of porous substance, it’s important to seal it completely in order to prevent any damage from occurring.

Advantages of Using Ceramic Tiles

Unglazed Ceramic

This type of ceramic tile from a ceramic tile company must be sealed as a way to protect the surface against and form of liquids from penetrating. Also, the grout lines in between these tiles should be protected because they become susceptible to moisture and that’s why thorough sealing is a must. If done improperly, mold can grow between the tiles and this would lead to bigger problems.

Ceramic Water Resistance

The good thing about glazed ceramic tiles is the fact that they contain a protective layer that rests over the tiles. This makes the ceramic tile impervious against stain, as well as water penetration. Aside from that, ceramic tiles can also withstand high levels of humidity. These are just some of the properties that make ceramic tiles perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.

Ceramic Tile Design Options

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Endless Possibilities in design, colors and patterns

Modern manufacturing techniques are one of the benefits that you can enjoy from using ceramic tiles, because you’ll have the privilege of printing the material in several ways. For instance, solid tiles could be mixed and matched in patterns that reflect your personality or the theme of your home. Likewise, they can also be printed in a way where it would look fabulous on hardwood and stones. Lastly, ceramic tiles could be cut and shaped into rectangles, triangles, and even planks.

Ceramic Tile Maintenance

Ceramic tiles are very easy to maintain and take care of. Liquid, dirt, and stains are only on the surface and could be mopped away easily. Also, regular maintenance is usually comprised of vacuuming and sweeping using a soft brush.

Allergen Concerns

Ceramic tiles are best known for its solid, hard surface. That’s why it’s highly resistant against pollen, dust, and other types of allergens. Once these small particles land on a ceramic floor, they don’t penetrate the surface, which means wiping them using a sponge or a mop. This can also help in keeping the air free from any forms of irritants.

Drawbacks of Ceramic Tiles

Difficult to Clean

Since ceramic tiles are very hard, cleaning and maintaining them can be cumbersome. Also, it becomes difficult to stand on ceramic tiles as well. Though, the hardness can easily be resolved by using area rugs and throw rugs, placing them in strategic locations where people must stay on them for longer periods of time, like in front of a kitchen sink.

Weight

Just like porcelain tiles, ceramic tiles can also be quite heavy and that’s why they’re not ideal for upper story installations as well. In case you have decided to install ceramic tiles on the upper level of the building, perform some professional checks first to ensure that you’re not putting a lot of stress on floor joists below.

Our Final Thoughts

When choosing a tile, it’s important to choose one that doesn’t only look good and fits your style. It should also be capable of withstanding the test of time. For those who are going to tile their kitchen and have children or dogs around the house, then porcelain tiles would be better because they offer extra durability. On the other hand, if you’re going to renovate a bathroom, then you can either use porcelain or ceramic depending on your preference.