In practice, there is not a big difference between porcelain and ceramic tile, and the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, the way in which these materials are produced mean there are slight differences in how they behave after installation. You may find that porcelain is more suited to your next tile project, or that ceramic is a better fit. Let’s take a look at the important differences between the two.
Both ceramic and porcelain are formed of clay, sand, and water that’s fired at extremely high temperatures, making them viable options for home use. Their primary differences relate to durability and water resistance.
Porcelain’s main benefit, when compared to ceramic, is its low rate of water absorption. Certified porcelain has an absorption rate of 0.5% or less. As a result, it’s one of the most impervious and non-porous tile materials you can buy. In areas that come into frequent contact with water or other liquids, porcelain is the better option. Ceramic will absorb at a higher rate, which means it’s more likely to become damaged or stain.
Porcelain, such as our Calcutta Series Porcelain, is also more durable than ceramic tile, in part because of its greater density and because it has a “through-body” composition. This means that porcelain is the same color on the outside as it is on the inside, so that chips are less visible. Ceramic, on the other hand, is glazed with color, which means a chip in the surface will stand out more readily.
The above characteristics don’t mean that porcelain is necessarily the better tile option for your remodel project, however. Ceramic has its own set of benefits.
First, since it’s a less dense material, it is generally easier to cut ceramic tile. Porcelain can be difficult for DIYers to cut, since it’s so hard and brittle.
Most varieties of ceramic products also tend to be less expensive than most porcelain tiles. While other factors are certainly important, ceramic’s lower cost may be an important benefit if you’re on a strict budget.
All things considered, there are pros and cons to both porcelain and ceramic tile. Keep these characteristics in mind when planning your next tile project.
Discover what ceramic or porcelain tile would look best in your home or business with the Just Design Visualizer from Arizona Tile.