Are there differences between porcelain vs ceramic tile? There sure are, which may impact your decision for your next remodeling project. Read all the details.
There’s a huge range of tile options out there these days if you’re looking for something for your home. Whether you need to cover a floor, cover the walls, or even the counters, tiles work perfectly for this purpose.
The most popular tiles on the market are porcelain and ceramic tiles. They both offer a lot of benefits, but which one should you go with when you’re planning your remodel? Use this guide to see which one is right for you.
Porcelain vs Ceramic Tile: What’s the Difference?
At first glance, porcelain and ceramic tiles look very similar to each other, so it’s hard to see the difference. To be classified as one or the other, they need to meet a specific water absorption rate.
For example, porcelain needs to meet a rate of 0.5% or less, to be classified as such. This is achieved by using Kaolin clay, which is finer and purer. This makes it less porous than other tiles, so less water can get in. Ceramic, on the other hand, uses a coarser clay, and is fired at lower temperatures. As such it is more susceptible to water, but if the tile is glazed then this shouldn’t be a problem.
One of the most important factors when deciding which tile type to use is the cost. You want a good tile, but if you’re on a budget, can you afford either porcelain or ceramic?
There is a difference in the pricing between them. Porcelain tiles will cost around $3 to $35 per square foot, while ceramic costs around $0.50 to $35 per square foot. As a rule, ceramic often starts out cheaper. That makes sense, as it isn’t using a clay that’s as fine as the one used in porcelain. There won’t be additives like there are in porcelain too, again lowering the price.
It’s worth noting that if you’re looking at higher end tiles, they can actually price out the same. If you’re going for a lower end option though, ceramic will be less pricey.
The appearance of your tiles is important, as they have to look as good as the day they were installed. You’ll see that both ceramic and porcelain tiles are usually glazed, and as such are almost indistinguishable from each other. If looks are the most important thing here, then ceramic will be the best way to go. You’ll get a very similar look, at a cheaper price.
However, it’s worth noting that porcelain is more adaptable than ceramic tiles. Recently, porcelain tiles have come on the market that resembles wood or stone, making them a perfect alternative to more expensive options. If you want the look of stone without the price tag, then you want to try out porcelain tiles.
How easy is it to install porcelain or ceramic tiles? They are both installed in a similar fashion, by being attached to a cement board using a mortar based adhesive. However, porcelain is a little more difficult to install. It’s a more brittle material, so it’s more likely to snap or break in the process. It’s usually better to have a professional tiler handle it for you.
Ceramic tile is a softer material than porcelain, and so is easier to cut. That makes installing it cheaper, and you can even install it yourself if you have the right tools.
Once the tiles are installed, how durable will they be? Many like to use tiles as if one tile is cracked, it can be removed and replaced with a new one. What can you expect here?
If you need something that’s more durable, then you’ll need to go for porcelain tiles. They are a lot more durable, as they’re denser and less porous. If you do chip a tile, the damage is often invisible as the color of the tile will go the whole way through it. This makes it better for heavy duty floors in your home, such as in hallways or your kitchen.
Ceramic is more prone to cracking and chipping. Chips are more visible too, as they will be a different color from the surface. That makes these tiles better for low traffic areas, where they’ll see less wear.
You’ll need to consider how easy it is to clean your tiles. Are porcelain or ceramic tiles easier to care for?
Porcelain and ceramic actually have the same care needs, all things considered. Both should be mopped over periodically, with a mild soap water solution. That should be enough, when done regularly, to keep them clean.
You will need to do a little more care for the grout lines. Over time they will go gray and dingy if you let them. The best way to stop that happening is to seal the grout, so water and dirt can’t get into the porous material. If you have unglazed ceramic tiles, they will need periodic sealing too.
Basically, both ceramic and porcelain have the same care needs. It’s quite simple too, so you don’t have to worry about a thing when cleaning them.
One thing you really need to consider when installing your tiles is how long they’ll last. They’re an investment, so you want them to last as long as possible. What can you expect here?
Both materials are very much tied here. They’re both incredibly durable, if you care for them. Ceramic is softer, and so wears faster, it’s also less susceptible to cracking if you get structure shifting. Some reports say you can get up to 100 years out of ceramic if it’s looked after well. Porcelain is harder and wears better, but can crack under those conditions.
As you can see, there’s no clear answer to whether you should pick ceramic or porcelain tile. Both are good for different reasons, and so you’ll have to pick the one that works best for your needs.