What You Should Know About Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles

If you are planning on selecting porcelain or ceramic tiles for living room flooring, kitchen backsplashes, bathroom showers, and other spaces, there are a few things you should know. Porcelain and ceramic are similar, in that they are both made from clay and kiln fired, making them very different from other categories of tiles, such as glass or natural stone. Although the words porcelain and ceramic are often used interchangeably, differences between the two types of tile can make a difference in the cost, appearance, and longevity of your installation.

What’s the difference between porcelain and ceramic?

Ultimately, a ceramic tile is categorized as porcelain if its moisture absorption rate is .5% or lower. Ceramic tile is cheaper, easier to install, and offers more color selections than porcelain. The ingredients of porcelain tiles are more refined, and it is fired at a greater pressure and higher temperature than ceramic, making it much harder and denser, and consequently, more expensive and more difficult to install than ceramic. But cost is only one consideration among many.

About Glazed and Through-Body Porcelain

A glazed porcelain tile has a coating that fills in any microscopic holes on the surface of the clay, making it easier to keep clean than unglazed tiles. However, unglazed tiles are better for slip resistance and less likely to show signs of wear, since the color on the surface is the same color that runs through the entire tile.

Choosing Your Tile

Ceramic tiles are a cost-effective choice for areas with low traffic and use. Porcelain tiles have a very low moisture absorbency rate, making them an ideal choice for exterior applications where freeze/thaw conditions are a concern. Unglazed porcelain tiles are a smart choice for areas where slip and fall accidents are a concern. Porcelain and ceramic are both beautiful and durable design choices for a variety of applications. Consider all the factors, and not just price, when you make your purchase decision.

This is one of a series of articles written and published  on behalf of surpHaces Partners.