Most people think that porcelain tiles and ceramic tiles are essentially the same thing. But the truth is, even though these two tile types are both a part of the same family of tile, they do have their differences.
In fact, one of the most glaring differences between porcelain and ceramic tiles is their water absorption. Porcelain absorbs less than 0.5% of water while ceramic tiles absorb greater than 0.5% of water. This fact affects where these tiles can be used.
To help give you a better idea of what we’re talking about, here are five common scenarios and our recommendation for which type of tile, porcelain or ceramic, will work best.
Scenario #1: You Need Tile for a Bathroom
Bathrooms, and other rooms in the home with a high moisture content, need tile that can stand up to the excessive moisture in the air. Therefore, porcelain wins out in this scenario simply because it is not as porous as ceramic. Of course, this doesn’t mean that ceramic can’t be installed in your bathroom. It is still a viable choice; it just doesn’t have the same level of water resistance as porcelain.
Scenario #2: You are Doing the Job Yourself
If you’re a DIY enthusiast and you want to tackle the tiling job on your own, then you’ll want to choose ceramic over porcelain. Why? Because ceramic tile is easier to cut and install than porcelain.
Scenario #3: You’re on a Budget
If money is an issue and you want to keep your project in the black as much as possible, then you’ll probably want to go with ceramic over porcelain. By and large, you’re going to find that porcelain is almost always more expensive than ceramic, in most cases by more than $2 per square foot.
Scenario #4: You Want to Re-Tile Your Patio
Remember porcelain’s ability to resist water? Well, that’s what makes it the ideal pick for re-tiling your patio. Ceramic is a bad pick for outdoor applications because if it absorbs water and then freezes, it will crack. Even in climates where freezing temperatures aren’t as common, you’ll still be better off going with porcelain.
Scenario #5: You Need Tile for a High Traffic Area
If you are installing tile in a part of the home where you expect to have a lot of foot traffic, then you can really choose either porcelain or ceramic because both are very durable. But, if you’re really counting points, then porcelain wins here as well thanks to its higher density. Plus, if you choose “through-color” porcelain, in which the color of the surface also runs throughout the tile, then your floor will be better able to withstand scuffs and scratches from pets and kids alike.
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