Homeowners love the durability and versatility of ceramic and porcelain tiles, as well as the wide variety of style options available. These tiles are typically more affordable than other natural stone and decorative tiles and are a practical choice that will hold up well for many years to come.
To help you choose the best type of tile for your home space, here we compare ceramic vs. porcelain tile. Keep reading to learn how they differ.
Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile: Quick Comparison
Although porcelain and ceramic tiles look very similar, there are plenty of noticeable differences between them.
The main difference between these two types is the rate of water they absorb. Porcelain tiles absorb less than 0.5% of water, and ceramic and other types of tiles will absorb more. To achieve this density, manufacturers use a special kaolin clay mixture that contains quartz and feldspar. This mixture is finer and purer than most ceramic clay. Besides, porcelain tiles are fired at higher temperatures.
Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are often manufactured with a glazed surface coating, so at a glance, it's not easy to distinguish between them. But most basic ceramic tile features a solid color and pattern, and porcelain tiles are often manufactured to resemble different materials and are available in more colors, patterns, and surface finishes.
You can find porcelain tiles that mimic natural stone; for example, they can look like Calacatta marble tiles or even imitate wood grains. This makes porcelain tile an excellent choice if you want the wood look without wood's susceptibility to water damage.
Heat and Water Resistance
Both porcelain and ceramic have excellent heat resistance, and they can sometimes be used on countertops. Porcelain has slightly better water resistance than ceramic, so it can be used in outdoor locations in regions with mild climates. And ceramic tiles are generally not recommended for outdoor locations in any environment.
Durability and Maintenance
Porcelain tile is denser and stronger, and due to its through-body composition, it's more durable and better suited for heavy usage than ceramic tile, as chips are less likely to be visible. It's easy to maintain, and you'll need to seal periodically only the grout lines.
On the other hand, ceramic tile is more prone to breaking and cracking, and if it's unglazed, it may need sealers to be applied on the entire surface. But both types of tile are durable and can be lifetime surfaces if you maintain them properly.
Generally, porcelain is more expensive to manufacture than ceramic, and that results in higher retail prices. But still, there is a large range of prices for both types of tiles. Besides, if you are looking for the highest quality designer tiles, they are likely to cost roughly the same for ceramic and porcelain.
As you see from our ceramic vs. porcelain tile comparison, they are similar materials, and there isn't actually a clear winner. So when choosing tile for your home renovation, you should mostly consider what particular tile style appeals to you visually.