It’s a question as old as time itself: ceramic tile vs. porcelain tile, which is best? Find out the difference here.
When it comes to quality and durability, there are few materials that match up to tile flooring. Both ceramic and porcelain tiles have been used for centuries, each with its own unique history. But when it comes to modern day flooring options, which is better?
The difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles can be confusing at first. Although they both start out the same, they end up being very different products after their respective manufacturing processes.
Ceramic tiles are formed from clay that has been fired in a kiln. The clay is then ground down into a fine powder, which can be colored if desired. This powder is pressed into molds of various shapes and sizes (or extruded into long bars), where it is allowed to dry before being fired in a kiln again at high temperatures. The higher-quality the body of the tile, the harder it becomes once fired, but generally speaking all ceramic tiles are porous to some degree and will require sealing to prevent moisture damage.
The difference between porcelain and ceramic tile is the water absorption rate. Ceramic tiles generally have a water absorption rate of more than 3% (meaning they’re not frost resistant and are suitable for indoor use only) and are usually made from red or white clay. Porcelain tiles, on the other hand, have a water absorption rate of less than 0.5%, meaning they can be used both indoors and outdoors in any climate. They are typically made by dust-pressing natural clay and other materials to create a fine grain, dense tile that is highly water resistant.
In addition, porcelain tiles tend to be harder, denser, more scratch resistant and more uniformly textured than ceramic tile—but all ceramic tiles is strong, hard and durable.
Porcelain tiles are made from compressed clay and minerals, while ceramic tiles are usually made by mixing mineral clay and water, adding a glaze and firing them in a kiln.
Porcelain is more compact than ceramic. Ceramic tiles are softer and less dense than porcelain tiles. Porcelain is made from finer, denser clay and is fired at a higher temperature, making it denser than ceramic tiles. This makes porcelain harder than ceramic tile.
Ceramic tiles are made from red or white clay and are fired in kilns. They are almost always finished with a durable glaze which carries the color and pattern. Glazed ceramic tiles are available in a wide range of colors, textures, and patterns.
Porcelain tiles have much lower water absorption rates (less than 0.5%) than ceramic tiles (more than 5%). Because of their dense material and low water absorption rates, many porcelain tiles are frost-resistant and can be used both indoors and outdoors for flooring, countertops, or walls.
Ceramic tiles are generally made using red clay or white clay mixed with feldspar, silica, and quartz. They may be finished with a durable glaze that carries a color or design. Ceramic tiles measure up to 8 inches on each side.