Choosing whether to use porcelain or ceramic tile for your home project can be a bit tricky. What is the difference between the two anyway? And why is porcelain so much more expensive than ceramic? While the two materials do have a lot of similarities, there ARE a few key differences between the two, and we’re here to weed out the confusion and tell you what we think it’s important to know.
The main difference between ceramic and porcelain is in their water absorption properties. Porcelain tile has a water absorption rate of .5% or lower, so it generally sustains less damage than ceramic does and is best used for high traffic areas. It’s actually a denser and more durable subtype of ceramic tile, which means that it handles things like chips and cracks a lot better. For this reason, we really recommend using it for floors! It’s also a good choice for bathrooms, laundry rooms, patios and other areas that are likely to get wet.
Porcelain tile is also able to sustain a variety of different finishes including wood and stone, so by using porcelain you have a lot more flexibility in the style that you want to use. While porcelain has a lot of great qualities, because of its denseness it is much harder to cut and install and is generally about 60% more expensive than ceramic tile is on average. This is why we recommend it for your bigger investments like floors and high traffic areas!
Ceramic is softer and more porous than porcelain tile and usually easier to cut and install. It has a clean lined appearance and is fired from a finer clay than porcelain is. It’s often coated with glaze, which means that it doesn’t sustain chips and imperfections well as they will show all the way through. Ceramic tile is best for places with little to no foot traffic and also requires more cleaning than porcelain tile does, so it’s best used for smaller areas. We think ceramic works great for statement walls in kitchens or over fireplaces, places where there is less likelihood of water damage and stains. Keep in mind it’s also best to use ceramic tile only in mild climates to avoid water damage.
What questions do you have for us about choosing between the two?
There you have it, everything you need to know to make your decision---porcelain or ceramic? Which one did you end up choosing? We’d love to hear about your project in the comments!