Porcelain vs Ceramic Tile: Which One Is Better

Ceramic vs Porcelain Tile Which One Is Better - Sebring Services

One of the things a lot of homeowners often wonder when creating their dream house is what flooring material would be better for their kitchen, bathroom, and the like. Should they opt for porcelain tiles, or ceramic tiles? Which one would be more practical and durable?

These people are aware that porcelain and ceramic tiles each have their own unique characteristics. What they cannot determine is what makes one better than the other, and that’s what we’re going to discuss in this article.

The Difference Between Ceramic Tile vs Porcelain Tile

Despite the fact that ceramic and porcelain tiles look very similar, there are plenty of noticeable differences between the two. For one, porcelain tiles are known to be denser and less porous than ceramic tiles. What does this mean? Basically, porcelain tiles are better for both indoor and outdoor use, as well as hard wearing. Also, they appear to be denser, because of how they are manufactured.

Although ceramic tiles are highly recommended for interior floors and walls, porcelain tiles are more preferable, especially for places that must endure heavy traffic– this includes hallways, kitchen floors, and commercial applications. Porcelain tiles are highly resistant against chipping and scratching.

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Benefits of Using Porcelain Floor Tile

There are plenty of reasons why you should consider using porcelain tiles, and here are some of those:

Liquid Resistance

The density of porcelain is what makes it highly resistant to any kinds of liquid penetration, making it better for that purpose as compared to other types of ceramic. This could be improved through the use of a melted glass glaze. This makes the surface completely impervious to water.

Highly Stain Resistant

Another benefit of using porcelain tiles is the fact that it’s highly stain resistant. That means it is capable of repelling liquid penetration that other staining agents won’t have the chance to penetrate down through the matter. Then, if you’ll glaze this, the effects would be more dramatic that it’s almost impossible to discolor the surface of your tiles.

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.

Durability

Porcelain tiles are considered to be the toughest flooring options available on the market. Using applicable ASTM Tests, regular ceramic tile has a breaking strength of 250. Aside from being solid, porcelain tiles are also hard, dense, and highly resistant to most heavy impact stresses that it’s perfect for commercial use. Basically, when choosing porcelain tiles, it’s important to look for one that has at least 5 PEI rating to ensure that it can withstand high traffic, as well as heavy equipment use.

The density is pressed under 6000 pounds per square inch.

Fireproof

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

Ceramic Backsplash Tiles - Sebring Design Build

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

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.

Check out this article: 7 Creative Subway Tile Backsplash Ideas for Your Kitchen.

Ceramic vs Porcelain Tile Which One Is Better - Sebring ServicesPorcelain 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. However, the good thing about porcelain tiles is that it could last for several decades, making it a good investment overall.

Compare costs, check out styles, and look at the differences of many different tiles at our supplier, VirginiaTile.

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.

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.

The Differences Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile Labeling

Currently, there aren’t any regulations that require these products to be labeled as ‘porcelain’ based on specific characteristics. However, the PTCA and ASTM has a certification process that is voluntary. With that, the retailers have the freedom of describing the tiles they offer any way they like. As for buyers, this makes it a little difficult to decide which tile to purchase and the characteristics it has.

Grout

Although 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. Also, even if it’s properly cared for, there will be instances where the features of a porcelain tile would be corrupted by moisture and humidity. This would cause discoloration and trigger the formation of mold and mildew.

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Ceramic Tiles

A ceramic tiler will tell you ceramic tiles are known to be very versatile in nature and can be used in a wide range of environments without having to worry about it being affected with stains, water, and the like. However, for areas where a hard tile surface mush be covered, there’s a risk that it would be not suitable for specific situations as well as certain locations.

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

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 vs Porcelain Tile Which One Is Better - Sebring ServicesCeramic 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.

Durable Ceramic Tile

These are extremely tough tiles and almost impossible to crack no matter how hard you try, unless you’re going to use equipment made specifically for that purpose. A quality installation could last for several decades, especially if it’s properly maintained.

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.

Ceramic Tile Flooring Costs

Most ceramic tiles cost between $5-$10 per square foot, the price usually depends on the quality of the tiles you’re going to get. That’s one of the reasons why ceramic tiles are a little expensive for some people. However, depending on where they are installed, ceramic tiles could add a trmendous value to your property for resale purposes.

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.

Whether you want hardwood or just the look of it, check this article out: Tile That Looks Like Wood vs Hardwood Flooring.

Get Prepared Before Going to the Tile Store

So, you are familiar with the basics by now, especially if you have read the previous parts carefully. Upon your visit to the tile store, don’t forget to bring a small shard of window glass, pocket knife, copper penny, and tap water in a bottle of drinking water. This would help you test each tile and see if they are really durable or not.

Also, because the tile has been labeled as ‘porcelain,’ it doesn’t mean it’s more durable, better, harder, and scratch resistant. Basically, you’ll always get what you have paid for. However, if the salesperson would try to lure you to “upgrade” to a more expensive type of porcelain tile, decline the offer. Believe it or not, there aren’t any much more practical difference between porcelain and ceramic tiles.

As for ceramic tiles, just like what has been discussed earlier, they are subjected to a lot of tests, such as resistance to heat and cold, chemical damage, slipperiness, breaking strength, stain resistance, and many more. For the water resistance test, it’s usually described using PEI and ANSI to see how much moisture is in the tile. Though these distinctions don’t usually mean that one tile is better than the other, it’s just useful to determine how and where the tile should be used.

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.

Happy tile hunting! We’d be glad to know what works out for you, and don’t forget to leave a comment below and share your insights with us.

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About the Author:

" We are very passionate about educating homeowners.From design ideas to hiring a contractor, we hope this bloghelps you in the process of remodeling your home. "~ Bryan Sebring

32 Comments

  1. Lillian Schaeffer June 30, 2016 at 9:46 am

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that ceramic tiles are water resistant. My husband and I are going to be renovating our master bathroom, and we want to install flooring that won’t be damaged by the water that’s bound to spill on the floor. We’ll definitely look into installing ceramic tile for both its appearance and its resistance. Thanks for the great post!

  2. Laurie August 3, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    I am leaning toward porcelain for my home but ceramic does have its advantages too. You have made my decision a little harder. Great comparison, thanks for sharing!

  3. siaosi August 29, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I love the look of these ceramic tiles. I think that these are great ideas on how to use tiles. I will be looking into getting something like this.

  4. Rockford Johnson September 1, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    This article has helped me to understand the benefits of porcelain flooring. I like how you explained that porcelain is a very durable material. I hope that I can remember this article the next time my family and I redo our flooring.

  5. Jack Mulligan September 6, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    I think I would go with ceramic over porcelain. I would rather use something that’s easier to work with, and less expensive, so I can maybe hire a contractor to help me install it correctly. I would have a hard time putting in tile on my own, so I need the help a cheaper material can help me afford.

  6. Kody Loveless September 21, 2016 at 10:20 am

    The idea of having stain resistant floors is awesome. I would love to have some glazed tiles. It seems like it would give the tiles a really good shine as well. My wife would love not having to worry about stains with 5 kids running around the house.

  7. Kate Hansen September 29, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I didn’t understand why people used ceramic tiles but now I see why! I like that glazed ceramic tiles are water resistant and you won’t have to worry about them soaking up water and staining. I bet this saves money down the road since you probably wouldn’t have to replace any!

  8. David Hawkins November 12, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I had no idea there were so many differences between the the tile options for bathrooms. Based on what you’ve written, it sounds like ceramic tiles would meet my needs most due to being water resistant. I’ll have to speak with a flooring specialist to make sure this is what I need. Thanks for the tips and info!

  9. Jade Brunet November 14, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    I appreciate this information concerning porcelain and ceramic tile. It is good to know that ceramic tile can be cut and shaped into rectangles, triangles, and even planks. This would add to the appearance of whatever project is being carried out. Something to consider would be to seek professional help when it comes to cutting these materials to ensure precise cuts and quality work.

  10. Andrew November 23, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Regular maintenance is the key to keeping anything nice for a long period of time. It is the small acts carried out consistently over time that changes the look and feel of the of the tiles. Vacuuming and sweeping are something that is often overlooked when talking about maintaining your shower tile, instead of just wiping or rinsing.

  11. Braden Bills January 30, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I’m trying to decide what kind of tile to use. It makes sense that I would want to choose porcelain! It might be harder to cut, but I feel like the better durability is worth it.

  12. Megan Alder March 29, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    It’s good to know that ceramic is less expensive, it’d be nice to buy some for our shower. We’ve been wanting to re-tile our bathroom for the past few months, but we’ve just never gotten around to it. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to find a professional to help us with the layout of it.

  13. Martin April 7, 2017 at 2:39 am

    In the Philippines, commonly used tiles are ceramics so if you asked me ceramics tiles are the one to beat. Their cheap yet quality and design is not lacking as well. A budgeted plan is a great way to beautify your home.

  14. Jeremy May 6, 2017 at 1:16 am

    I like both. Just make sure to put a good amount of money at the beginning of the project as possible. Don’t go with the cheap price tiles because the cheaper the tiles the lower the quality.

  15. Kyle Johnson May 25, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I knew nothing about porcelain tile before reading this article. It was interesting to learn that this type of tile is highly resistant to stains. I hope this article can help us to avoid a dirty floor in the future.

  16. Sylvia June 8, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Thank you for sharing the information. The differentiation was very helpful. I have slate effect tiles at my house but I wanted to select a good tile for my house. The difference will help me take the right decision.

  17. Braden Bills July 6, 2017 at 8:32 am

    I want to make sure that I get the right kind of tile for my bathroom flooring. It seems like porcelain is a good choice for bathrooms! They are good at lasting through hard traffic and very resistant to water, which is just what I need.

  18. Steve Conory October 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Great comparison! Porcelain is my person favorite due to its sturdiness. However, some of the disadvantages, I was overlooking which you brought in to light. Thank you for sharing this.

  19. Sharon Wilson-Smith December 12, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    The best part of your article for me is when you talked about how ceramic tile can allow you to have the designs of it printed in several ways according to your wants and needs. My mother is looking to replace her flooring. It’s important for her to choose a flooring that will reflect her personality type and within her budget. I believe that ceramic tiles flooring is perfect for my mom because of how wide her options are in choosing the best style for her home at an affordable rate. I will make sure to share your blog with her.

  20. Jaque Christo January 2, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Thank you for the post on porcelain vs. ceramic tile. I like that porcelain tiles are more resistant to chipping and scratching. That would be nice in more heavily trafficked areas to ensure longevity and not have to spend too much on any repairs.

  21. Ryan January 22, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Both types of tiles have its fair share of advantages and disadvantages though in budget consumption choosing ceramic tiles over porcelain is a much affordable choice but still be sure of what you needed and things work out for the improvement of your home.

  22. Dante Scott February 9, 2018 at 12:41 am

    Different types of tiles are available such as porcelain tile, ceramic tile, travertine tile, marble tile etc. But if you consider porcelain tile and ceramic tile that are different. Generally, porcelain is harder, tougher, and less porous than ceramic tile. Porcelain tile can withstand heavy traffic over long periods of time. Like porcelain tile, ceramic tile is not as durable. In your blog you really give the best comparison between porcelain and ceramic tile and that’s really benefited us.

  23. Edel April 20, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Hi Bryan your post is indeed helpful. I hope you can help me with this one as well. All our bathroom tiles are so difficult to clean. In time they turned rough and stain remains forever. I suspect its because of the water. Our water is deep-leveled. Is there a type of good tile for it?

    • Bryan Sebring May 11, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Edel, I don’t have a great recommendation unfortunately… Best of luck. -Bryan

  24. Ava Murphy April 27, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    It was really nice to know that porcelain flooring are easy to maintain because of its natural stain and water resistance ability. My husband and I are looking for the best flooring for our new house. We’re both very busy because of our work, so it will make sense for us to choose a type of flooring that won’t demand us heavy maintenance. Thanks!

  25. Tina April 29, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    A very interesting article, and before reading I porcelain and ceramics and didn’t know the difference, but after reading I know the difference, and it looks like I prefer porcelain materials. Thank you.

  26. John May 14, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    That was nice information, thank you for sharing. It’s a pleasure to visit here.

  27. James Anderson May 28, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    It sure is nice to know that one benefit of using ceramic tile flooring is that it is very easy to maintain and take care of, as liquid and other stains can easily be mopped, and the floor itself can be cleaned using a vacuum and a soft brush sweep. We just moved to our new home, but we don’t like the floor that is currently installed because dirt appears to be sticking in it. Knowing of these benefits, I’ll get in touch with a flooring expert so that we can have ceramic tiles installed right away.

  28. Jim July 23, 2018 at 7:26 am

    I purchased a home with ceramic tile in the bathrooms and it is so slippery I have to keep it covered with bath mats to prevent falls. Thinking of having it all replaced. What a waste.

  29. Naveen Kumar July 30, 2018 at 7:09 am

    A very good article Bryan! Both of them have their own properties and it is impossible to define which one is better. Ceramic flooring is easy to clean and maintain where as porcelain tile can give a rich look and feel to your home.

  30. Ellen H. October 27, 2018 at 12:03 am

    You got my attention when you said that porcelain tiles have the ability to last for decades because they don’t easily wear out. My husband and I are interested in installing tile floors. Our goal is to find a type of tile that can save us money on replacements and can withstand possible damaging elements. Thanks for sharing this.

  31. Beau Appel November 15, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Nice Blog!! The content you have shared is very elaborative and informative. Thanks a lot for sharing such a great piece of knowledge with us.

Comments are closed.