With so many colors, patterns and
sizes to choose from, there are countless ways to make
use of tile in your home. A long-time favorite in
bathrooms, tile is just as suitable in kitchens for its
ability to resist spills. And you can lend other living
spaces throughout your home a touch of style, ranging
from contemporary to traditional.
Something old but very new
Tile has been around for
centuries, and with today's technology manufacturers
have created new design and application possibilities
that were not available a decade ago.
If you have never lived with tile
before or if it has been a long time since you have done
so, you will be amazed at the wide selection of colors,
sizes, shapes and new textures that are now available.
it comes to flooring, nothing gives you more options and
opportunities to express your unique vision than tile.
Choose ceramic or porcelain, and arrange it in nearly
Ceramic Tiles vs.
Porcelain tile is a type of
dense, durable ceramic tile that does not easily
absorb water or other liquids. Both tiles are
manufactured similarly using baked clays, so it is
primarily the strength and density the tiles that
separates the two. Ceramic tiles are generally more
absorbent and delicate, so they work better in indoor
places that are not likely to get damaged, such as
kitchen backsplashes. Porcelain tiles are much less
absorbent than ceramic tiles, and so they are suitable
for outdoor use and high traffic areas. Porcelain tiles
tend to be more expensive than ceramic tiles but are
more useful in a wider variety of applications.
Red, brown or white porous clay. Less
refined and purified.
White clay. More refined and purified.
Less expensive , easier to cut for DIY
Less absorbent, hence more
More susceptible to chipping and
cracking in cold weather. More porous
and less stain-resistant.
Expensive, brittle, too hard to cut
without the help of experts.
Floors and exterior walls.
Baked onto the top only
Runs through the whole tile
Easier to cut
May require an expert to cut
Can be easily cleaned with a sponge.
Can be easily cleaned with a mop or a
Clays Used in Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles
Ceramic tiles are made
with red, brown, or white clay, while
porcelain tiles are almost exclusively made
with refined and purified white clay. The
clays used in porcelain tend to have fewer
impurities than clays used in ceramic tiles
and have more kaolin and feldspar.
This ultimately results in a denser and more
Ceramic and porcelain
tiles can be any color and even made to look
like other materials, such as wood or
natural stone. However, the design on a
porcelain tile is more likely to withstand
damage, as porcelain tile design goes
throughout the entire tile. Designs on
ceramic tiles are merely "printed" on top
and then covered with a glass-based glaze.
This means that a chip on a ceramic tile is
much more noticeable than a chip on a
Ceramic tiles are
appropriate for areas that will not be
subjected to heavy use or harsh conditions.
Art mosaics, walls, kitchen backsplashes,
and countertops that will only be lightly
used or have glass overlays are all areas
that can use ceramic tiles. Ceramic tiles
should almost always stay indoors, as
typical weather conditions — hot, cold, or
rain — can cause ceramic tiles to become
weak and crack. Like granite, ceramic is
porous, meaning ceramic tiles may absorb
liquid spills that could cause staining.
tiles are much more durable and stain
resistant, they can be used inside or
outside for walls or countertops and even in
high traffic areas as flooring. However, not
all porcelain tiles are the same, meaning it
is important to purchase the right kind of
porcelain tiles. For example, only some
porcelain tiles are manufactured
for outdoor use.
While porcelain tiles
have long been a more stain resistant
alternative to porous surfaces, they are not
as durable or as stain resistant as some
modern surfaces, such as quartz and Corian.
However, they are more affordable and can
even be made to look like natural stone.
Porcelain tiles are much
more durable than ceramic tiles. In
particular, they are less likely to absorb
water than ceramic tiles are. This makes
porcelain tiles more immune to rain, ice, or
liquids which might cause stains or other
All ceramic tiles are
subjected to a water absorption test during
their manufacturing process. Baked tiles are
weighed before they are placed in water for
up to 24 hours and then are weighed again
after they are removed from water. Those
tiles which weigh less than 0.5% more after
being submerged are considered dense enough
to be classified as porcelain. Tiles that
weigh 0.5% more or greater — i.e., those
tiles that absorbed more water — are
Both ceramic and
porcelain tiles can be very delicate to
handle during installation. Ceramic is not
very thick, meaning it can be easy to cut in
a DIY project, but may also easily (and
noticeably) chip. Porcelain tile, meanwhile,
is so hard that it may be brittle and prone
to cracking when handled with unskilled
hands. Once installed, both tiles should
function relatively well if the right class
of tile has been used in the right place.
Installation of either tile, however, will
almost certainly require a professional.
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