Although the difference between porcelain and ceramic tiles isn’t always obvious to the naked eye, the ingredients and production methods do vary between them.
Technically speaking, porcelain tiles are classed as a form of ceramic tiling. During the manufacturing process, glazed porcelain tiles are subjected to a higher firing temperature. At the end of this process, the concept is to give the final product a stronger and more durable form when compared to traditional ceramic tiles. The difference in manufacturing also makes them less porous, with the water absorption rate sitting as low as 0.5% or less – making them a very popular choice for kitchens, bathrooms and even patios.
In comparison, ceramic tiles are kiln-fired at a lower temperature, making them less dense, softer, and more porous. The white or red clay used in its composition is also less refined, which generally makes it the more affordable option. Many homeowners opt to install ceramic tiles as flooring, especially in warm climates, where the natural coolness of the tile becomes a welcome perk in the summer months, along with walls and countertops. However, this also means that it’s not frost-proof, and so it may chip or damage more easily than a porcelain tile.
How To Choose Between A Porcelain Or Ceramic Tile
If you’re in the process of building or renovating a home, your choices when it comes to building materials are often vast – especially when it comes to flooring, and in turn tile selection. As a result, if you’ve been wondering what the difference between porcelain and ceramic tiles are – or even how to choose the right option between the two – there are a few key factors that require consideration, so that you are able to make an informed decision.
Durability – How much foot traffic is your area expecting to receive? If you’re trying to minimise potential wear and tear – especially in a commercial environment – then you might want to consider a porcelain tile, as they are less likely to chip and require replacing.
Water Resistance – According to national standards, porcelain tiles must have a water absorption rate of 0.5% or lower, and are vigorously tested accordingly. When compared to ceramic alternatives, porcelain is the best option for “wet” rooms or floors.
Composition – Some varieties of ceramic tiles have a textured surface that adds visual depth and dimension. You can often find tiles with ripples, waves or raised shapes. In comparison with porcelain tiles and combined with the latest glazed technology porcelain tiles can emulate natural stone veining under the surface of the tile.
Cutting – If you’re opting for a DIY tiling experience, cutting your own tiles is far easier if the materials are made of ceramic. This isn’t recommended for porcelain tiles though, as they are much stronger and require specialty tools, e.g. tile cutters along with professional installation.
Tile Glaze – The surface design makes up a very important part of the decision between Porcelain and Ceramic tiles and with the latest glaze designs in digital printing can bring any tile to life, so it’s important to discuss your project requirements before purchasing.
Price – Because of the materials and process used to manufacture porcelain tiles, they are generally the more expensive choice than ceramic. The most suitable option for you usually boils down to the durability required from the tile, and how much you’re willing to pay for it.
Sourcing Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles
In 2021, your options for both porcelain and ceramic tiles are almost limitless, and selecting the right type for your home isn’t an easy feat. With each home, comes a different preference or priority: are you chasing style, functionality, or simply want to stay within the budget?
In operation for over 24 years, at Tile Wizards we pride ourselves on getting you more, for less. We pioneered the warehouse format, and our stores are purposefully designed to make your selection easier, and ultimately offer our customers quality, price and the right advice.
Even if you are just after some honest and friendly advice – please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Tile Wizards today for a free quote. We’re able work with you in order to bring your dream flooring solution to life.