COMPLETE GUIDE: Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles


Choosing a perfect floor for your home can be tricky if you do not know much about the different choices that you have and what are the pros and cons of each choice? That is why it is important that you carefully explore different options that you have and learn about them. This knowledge about the floor types will provide you great insight when you will be choosing a floor for your home. Tile flooring is one of the most common types of flooring, ceramic and porcelain tiles are the two most common subtypes of tile flooring.

There are a lot of reasons for the use of tiles on the floors, first, the tiles are extremely hard, which makes them stronger. This means that the tiles can survive more pressure, more force over their surface. They can not only survive pressure and force, but they can also provide more stability as well. Most other types of floors are noisy as they get pressed when you are walking, with the tile flooring this is no longer a problem as these tiles cannot be pressed. So, if you install a tile floor, you will be able to get rid of a lot of flooring problems, including, cleaning, maintaining, and repairing the floor.

A lot of people confuse porcelain tiles with ceramic tiles and vice versa. This is a common mistake because the differences between these two are not commonly known. That is why people think that these are the different names for the same product. But that is not true, each of these has its can properties, and they are made using a different process. Below is a detail about the major differences between these two tile flooring types.

MAIN Differences

The basic difference between these two flooring types lies within their making process. Porcelain tiles are made using a different process than ceramic tiles. Basic components in the making of ceramic tiles are the clay of red, brown, and white color. These materials are mixed and put in a kiln to be heated at extremely high temperatures to reduce the water content in the clay matter. Once this process completes, a pattern or design is carved over the surface of these tiles. These finished tiles are ready to be installed on the floors.

Meanwhile, the production of porcelain is slightly different. Porcelain tiles are also made from clay, but it is not just any clay, it is a specific type of clay mixed with sand and feldspar. This material is then exposed to extreme temperatures that make the material melt and form the shape of a hard and rigid floor tile. During this process, the water content in the material is evaporated through heat. These tiles are then colored, stained, and patterned are carved over their shiny surface. After the completion of the staining and coloring, these tiles are ready to be installed into your floors.

Now you have learned about the basic difference between ceramic tile flooring and porcelain tile flooring. It is time to know about the pros and cons of each type. This will help you in choosing the perfect type of floor tiles that you want for your home.

Porcelain vs Ceramic Tiles Flooring Comparison TABLE

PropertyPorcelainCeramic
Appearances:More colorful, and looks better, a large varietyColorful tiles with many design options
Durability:Highly durable and strongMedium Level strength and durability
Lifespan:50 to 75 years at max75 to 100 years at max
Heat and Water Resistance:More resistant to heat and water because of the protective layer and no pores on the surface.Less-resistant to heat and water because of no protective layer and pores in the surface.
Installation:Slabs are cut into tiles and then installed on the floor using cement or adhesive.Slabs are cut into tiles and then installed on the floor using cement or adhesive.
Cost-effectiveness:It is considered expensive.It is considered more affordable.

Ceramic Tiles Flooring

Ceramic tile flooring is a type of flooring that involves the installation of ceramic tiles into the floor. Ceramic tiles are non-porous tiles that are not completely vitrified, are semi-crystalline, and amorphous. Kaolin is an ingredient that is present in both types of tiles, but its concentration in ceramic tiles is less than in porcelain tiles. As you know that ceramic tiles have pores, which means they can absorb more water.

But this water cannot cause any damage to the structure of the tiles, because it is hard, rigid, and has higher structural integrity. So, even if you install them in a bathroom or basement, they would perform the same. Also, the procedure to make ceramic tiles and materials involved in this process is cheaper, this makes the end products, i.e ceramic tiles cheaper and affordable. But there are also some cons as well.

Pros of Ceramic Floor Tiles

  • Unglazed Ceramic: Ceramic floor tiles are unglazed, which provides a better and more natural look of the ceramic floors.
  • Water Resistance: As the pores in the are almost sealed, they can resist water damages. This means you can install it in any part of your homes, including bathrooms where other floor types do not survive for the long term.
  • Design Options: If you are looking forward to having a floor type that provides multiple colors, shades, and different design options. Ceramic tile flooring is an amazing choice as it would provide you a large variety of options to choose from.
  • Cost: Ceramic floor tiles do not cost a lot of money, in comparison to porcelain tiles these are cheaper and more affordable. So, if you want an affordable floor in your home, you should consider ceramic flooring.

Cons of Ceramic Floor Tiles

  • Weight: These tiles are heavy, which causes a lot of problems during the transportation and installation of the floor. Because each tile needs to be carried to the place of installation. Also, it increases the overall weight of the structure of your home as well.
  • Hard to Install: Ceramic floor tiles are hard to install in the flooring because these are strong, and cutting them requires a lot of force. Also, if these are not properly handled, these tiles can break and increase the cost of the floor.

Porcelain Tiles Flooring

Porcelain tile flooring is a type of flooring that involves the use of porcelain tiles in the floor installation. Porcelain tiles are made from a different type of clay, and that is why they not only look and feel different but also have different properties as well. Unlike ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles are completely vitrified. But like ceramic tiles, they do have pores. These pores in their structure allow them to absorb. They have a higher rate of water absorption because of that. Porcelain is considered better, because they look shinier, and stronger, based on these reasons, their prices are also higher than that of ceramic tiles.  This makes porcelain tiles less-affordable.

As the structural integrity of porcelain tiles is higher, they are better at resisting wear-and-tear. Also, they can better resist the scratches, heavy-weights on their surface. This increases their durability and strength. It also helps porcelain tiles last longer. Porcelain tiles have the advantage over ceramic tiles, but they are also not a perfect type of flooring tiles, they also have some disadvantages.

Pros of Porcelain Floor Tiles

  • Liquid Resistance: Porcelain tiles are covered with glazing; this fills all the pores in the surface of the tile and prevents water from absorbing into the floor tiles. Not just water, it can resist many other types of liquids as well including oils and greases.
  • Highly Stain Resistant: Porcelain floor tiles are stain-resistant, which means if the stain is spilled over the surface of the floor, it can be cleaned easily and would not leave any stains behind on the floor. This protects the floor from a lot of stains, other spills that can change the color of the floor.
  • Durability: Porcelain tiles are highly durable and extremely strong. This strength ensures a longer lifespan and also protects the floor from getting damaged or scratched.

Cons of Porcelain Floor Tiles

  • Cost: Porcelain tiles are expensive in comparison to ceramic tiles. This is because the porcelain tiles are considered better in comparison to ceramic tiles.
  • Weight: Porcelain tiles are also heavy; this weight creates a lot of problems during the transport and installation of the porcelain into the floor.

Comparison of the Properties of Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles

Below is a comparison of the properties of each type of floor tile – ceramic vs porcelain.

Appearances:

  • Porcelain tiles have a shiny surface because they are manufactured using the glaze method. In this process, a shiny coating is applied over the surface of porcelain tiles. There are a lot of designs, and patterns that can be printed over the surface of porcelain tiles to make them look beautiful. You can get any type of porcelain tile designs that you want, including wooden grain patterned tiles, and geometrically shaped tiles.

    These tiles can also be printed using the image of the natural stone tiles. This provides them the look of the natural stone tiles, and it appears to be the same because of the hardness of the surface and color grading of porcelain tiles. So, if you are looking forward to having a floor that can mimic a hardwood floor or a natural stone tile floor, it is one of the best choices that you have.
  • Ceramic tiles are also manufactured using the same glaze coating process, but due to the impurities in their materials, they cannot be used to mimic any other type of flooring. These tiles only have strong color grading of their own. So, you should only choose these tiles if you want a ceramic stone floor that provides a unique look. You cannot use it to mimic any other type of floor.

Durability

  • When it comes to durability, porcelain tiles are more durable. Because these tiles have a harder surface and stronger structural integrity that is achieved by the use of specific types of clay and procedures to make them stronger. This enhanced strength and structural integrity allow these tiles to survive the impacts of heavyweights, scratches over the surface, and prevents them from cracking over time. This also improves the overall maintenance, and lifespan of the tiles as well. Higher durability leads to a longer lifespan. Also, the higher durability means fewer repairs and maintenance will be required by the floor. So, if you are looking forward to having durable tile flooring, porcelain tiles are a perfect choice.
  • Ceramic tiles are also stronger and durable, but not as much as porcelain tiles are. This is because of the impurities in their manufacturing materials and processes. Less durability of these tiles increases the chances of cracks due to pressure or weights. So, this leads to bigger problems, such as lower lifespan, and more often maintenance and repair requirements. So, if you are choosing these ceramic tiles for your floor, make sure that you know about their durability.

Lifespan

  • As you already know that porcelain tiles are stronger and have higher durability. This higher strength and durability guarantee a longer lifespan. The strength and durability of porcelain tiles protect them from rupturing or breaking down over time. Not only this, but it also protects the surface from scratches and minor or major damages as well. This increased protection allows these tiles to last longer than their competitors. In some cases, these tiles can last as long as 50 years. So, if you want a tile floor that would last for decades without requiring much repairs or maintenance, porcelain is one of the best choices that you have.
  • Ceramic tiles are also stronger, and their lifespan is also higher than most of the other tile flooring types including porcelain tiles. Some ceramic tile floors of high quality can last between 75 to 100 years. This enhanced lifespan of ceramic tiles makes them an ideal choice, even better than porcelain tiles flooring. The hard and rough surface of porcelain tiles protects the core of porcelain tiles. When the core of these tiles is protected, they can last even longer. So, with proper care, the lifespan of ceramic tiles is measured between 75 to 100 years. Almost double the timespan of porcelain tiles. So, if you want a strong and very long-lasting floor, ceramic tile flooring should be your first choice.

Heat and Water Resistance

  • Porcelain tiles can resist water, this is because of the coating over their surface. The core of porcelain tiles is not water-proof, it can absorb water and heat. But the surface material and the coating of these tiles prevent the water from entering into the core. This is done using the filling of pores on the surface of porcelain tiles. Once the pores are blocked, water and heat can no longer enter into the core or cause any damage to the structure of porcelain tiles. This higher heat and water-resistant ability of porcelain tiles make them a perfect choice if you want a waterproof and heat-resistant floor.
  • Ceramic tiles are also waterproof and can resist heat. But this ability is not as good as it is in porcelain tiles. Due to the pores on the surface of ceramic tiles, water can enter the core of the tiles and cause damages. Not only water but also heat can get absorbed in the tiles as well. So, in winter tiles would feel extremely cold, and in summer they would feel extremely hot. Based on these arguments, we can say that you should reconsider your choice if you want a heat and water-resistant floor in your home.

Maintenance

  • As you know that porcelain tiles are stronger and more durable. This means they are less likely to get damaged and require maintenance or repairs. This not only helps reduce the cost of maintenance, and repairs but also saves a lot of time as well. Apart from that, the less maintenance of the porcelain tiles also makes them a perfect choice for the homes if you want a floor that would not require frequent repairs or maintenance.
  • Ceramic floors are also hard and durable but still, they require frequent repairs and maintenance, mainly because they have a surface that does not mask the scratches and dens in its surface. This higher frequency of repairs and maintenance not only destroys the floor but also increases the cost to maintain the floor as well. Apart from this higher cost, it also takes a lot of time to repair these floors as well. So, if you want a floor that requires less frequent repairs, then you should reconsider your choice of ceramic floors.

Cleaning

  • Porcelain tile floors are easy to clean. This is because these floors have a shiny surface, and they can easily be cleaned using the mop. You can also use the vacuum cleaner to clean the entire floor as well. The porcelain floors may require more frequent cleaning because their surface is slightly brighter and colorful, that is why it cannot hide or mask the dust particles on the surface of the floor that do not match the color of the floor. Due to this, you will have to clean your floor more frequently but as you already know the process to clean the floors is easy. So, this would not be a problem.
  • Ceramic tiles are also easy to clean. Because they also have a smooth and rigid surface that can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner and also using water. Not only this but also the surface of ceramic tiles can better mask or hide the dust particles. This means you will not have to worry about your floor getting dirty again and again. This would require less frequent cleaning. So, if you want a tile floor that requires less cleaning and also is easy to clean, ceramic tile flooring should be your first choice.

Installation

Both ceramic and porcelain tile floors are installed using the same methods. First, the slab of the floor tiles is cut to make small tiles, then these tiles are layered on the floor surface and are glued using cement, or adhesive. This adhesive or cement is what holds these tiles together on your floor. So, you should choose this one carefully, there are a lot of adhesives in the market, you should choose the ones that are the best for your type of tiles.

Cost-effectiveness

  • Porcelain tiles are considered expensive, this is because they cost more in terms of tile purchasing, installation, maintenance, and repairs. The reason behind this cost of porcelain tiles is that these are made using a specific type of clay that is rarely found in some places only. Not only this, but it is also made stronger, brighter, and more colorful. That is why it is considered a luxurious flooring tile. That is why it costs more on purchasing the tiles and all other aspects.
  • Ceramic tiles are considered cost-effective tile flooring solutions. This is because they cost less, in terms of purchase, installation, and maintenance. The reason behind ceramic tiles being cheaper is that these tiles are made with normal clay that contains impurities. These impurities are responsible for creating beautiful patterns in the ceramic tiles but still, they are not considered as valuable as porcelain tiles. So, if you are looking forward to having a cost-effective floor installed in your home. The ceramic tile floor is one of the best choices that you have.

Conclusion: Which one is better for you?

In this article above, I have compared ceramic and porcelain tiles. Most people consider these two as the same type of flooring tiles. But these are two different types of flooring tiles. Ceramic tiles are made using normal clay, while porcelain tiles are made using a specific type of clay soil. Not only their making materials are different, but also the process is different as well. Due to these reasons, both of these floor tiles have different properties. Properties like, appearance, durability, strength, maintenance, and cost of these tiles differ from one another.

So, for a person who wants a perfect type of flooring tile for his/her home, it is very important to know these facts and decide which one is better for you? I would say that both types of tiles have their pros and cons, and you should choose the one that is according to your needs. Because if you choose according to your scenario, you will be able to get the best results, but if you choose according to some else’s scenario, you will end up choosing the wrong one. So, the best one for you is the one that suits your budget and your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Question: Which is better porcelain or ceramic tile?

    Both tile flooring types porcelain and ceramics have their pros and cons. But porcelain tiles are preferred over ceramic tiles because they are harder, stronger, more durable, and can last longer as well.

  2. Question: Which is more expensive porcelain or ceramic tile?

    Porcelain floor tiles are more expensive. This is because they are made using a specific type of clay. Not only this, but the porcelain tiles also go through additional processes to make them stronger and harder. This increases the cost of production and that is why these are expensive products.

  3. Question: How to tell the difference between porcelain and ceramic tiles?

    The main difference between these two is that the porcelain tiles are glazed while the ceramic tiles are not glazed. So, you can use this property and tell if the tiles you have are ceramic or porcelain. You can do this by carefully observing the surface of the tile.