How to Tell the Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tile?

While ceramic and porcelain tile may seem similar, they are actually wildly different. Choosing the right type of tile for your home is a matter of assessing your needs and understanding how they differ. Luckily, there are a few simple things to look for when comparing these materials.

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Ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles are made from clay. Both are durable and resistant to staining, but they have slightly different properties. For example, porcelain materials tend to be more resistant to cold weather. They also have a smoother finish. 

Porcelain is more dense and less porous than ceramic. It has a nice finish and is usually less expensive. On top of that, it’s easier to clean. 

As a result, porcelain tile is ideal for areas with high moisture. This includes bathrooms and saunas. However, it isn’t recommended for kitchens, stairwells, or entries. To keep your tile looking its best, make sure you vacuum it regularly, use a damp mop, and use a commercial cleaner. You should also use a vinegar-and-water solution for a quick cleaning. 

If you’re in the market for new tiles, you should consider a company’s reputation. Some dishonest companies will mislabel their products or fraudulently label the box. Check out the PTCA (Tile Council of North America) database for a list of manufacturers and the various tile products they manufacture. 

The TCNA site rates tiles on a scale of 0 to 5. The site provides a good guide to the main points of each. There’s no doubt that both types of tile have their merits. But in some cases, it’s better to choose a porcelain floor or wall tile over a more expensive and difficult to maintain ceramic. 

A porcelain tile’s most notable feature is its ability to resist water. Since it’s fired at higher temperatures, the dust in the tile is compacted under extreme pressure. That makes the process less messy than it would be in a ceramic tile. Plus, it means that you won’t have to worry about a cracking tile after a freeze-thaw cycle. 

Despite these advantages, porcelain tile is often a bit more expensive. Depending on the size of the tile you choose, the cost can vary significantly. Most porcelain tiles are about 40% more expensive than their ceramic counterparts. When determining which type of tile is best for your home, it’s a good idea to contact the company and visit their showroom to see which ones will best suit your needs. 

Of course, you should never buy ceramic tile for a place where it will be exposed to the elements. It is also not a great choice for a pool. However, if you live in an area with a freeze-thaw cycle, it might be the best choice. In addition, it’s possible to find some porcelain tiles that are frost proof. 

Among other differences, porcelain and ceramic tiles have a few other minor points of contention. For instance, porcelain is a little more durable, which is a plus for the brisk walker. Also, it is a bit harder to cut.