Ceramic VS Porcelain Tile: Which Tile is the Best?

 In Design, General Information, hardwood, Tips and Tricks

We wipe our mud, drop our heavy bags with a big “THUNK,” and let our pets do just about everything on our floors, and they stay solid beneath our feet to support us every day. When you’ve decided to give your floors a refreshing thank you for all they’ve done, it can be tough deciding between ceramic vs porcelain tiles.

Not only do they sound quite similar but they both offer plenty of perks. Place your feet solidly on whatever your current floor covering offers and dig into this article on how to choose the right material to win the floor war.

Floor Wars: Ceramic vs Porcelain

Go to any flooring store and you could really be in for an overwhelming sight: samples upon samples of enough floors to fill your brain (as well as all of the homes in the country!)

So we’re first going to give you a little primer on these two types of tiles so you can begin to formulate a decision on which tile is best.

First Up: Ceramic Tile

Choosing ceramic tile for your home gives you the following benefits:

  • Water resistance (note: unglazed ceramic tiles must be sealed first before they can offer you this benefit)
  • Tough and durable and resistant to cracking (10-20 year lifespan if taken care of)
  • Very easy to clean, as stains just settle on the surface and can be wiped away
  • Variety of patterns and shapes as well as the possibility to make ceramic tiles look like hardwood and stone designs
  • Allergen-avoidant

Do you have radiant floor heating? Then you should keep this in mind: ceramic tile is the most-chosen type of tile flooring to cover heated floors.

Oh and by the way, if you’re at all science-minded or just love to nerd out on geeky facts, the exterior of NASA space shuttles are covered with ceramic tiles.

So if you choose ceramic for your floors, you’re kind of doing your own space walk. One small step for man…

Of course, no type of tile is perfect.

Do you plan to take a stand?

Because ceramic tile’s sturdiness has the counterpoint that it can be very hard and fatiguing to stand on for long periods of time.

This could be detrimental in the kitchen or basement, for example, two places people tend to stand for a while without much movement.

Ceramic tiles also may run you into the gray area of enlarging your carbon footprint, but you can reduce this by purchasing used or post-industrial ceramic tiles if that appeals.

Paving the Way for Porcelain

Where you put your tile can also make a difference, and if you’re thinking of your bathroom, ceramic’s all wet.

Because porcelain absorbs so little moisture (it just stays on the surface), this is an obvious and ideal pick for showers and anywhere that’s going to have a lot of splish-splashing going on.

And don’t forget areas like the kitchen (one dishwasher leak and you could be facing some major repairs) and the area where you keep your washer/dryer. Both places are subject to potential wetness disasters.

Are you looking for a bit of an easy way out? When choosing between ceramic vs porcelain, porcelain may make that hard.

It’s tough to cut porcelain, which you will inevitably end up doing when your tile placement gets to a wall or corner.

And porcelain is not as easy to affix to the floor as some other materials. In fact, you may end up needing a professional to install porcelain if you choose it, which may add to the cost factor.

Your Address Could Matter

Where you live can actually help you make or break the decision of ceramic vs porcelain for you.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, porcelain is a better option for homeowners in cold-weather climates because of the material’s resistance to chill. It has a low moisture absorption rate and is less resistant to crack, which is possible with ceramic in very deep freezes.

Plus, homeowners who like to spend a lot of time out on their patios year-round or when weather permits may find porcelain their pick, too. It will be resistant to the cold, yes, but also heat waves and downpours.

Cost Cutting? Ceramic vs Porcelain Tips

If money is an object – or if money is the ONLY object of concern – in the competition of ceramic vs porcelain, ceramic is a clear winner.

Above, we mentioned that you may need a professional to help you cut and install porcelain, which doesn’t come cheap and will add to the bottom line cost. The newspaper SF Gate recommends using a diamond blade wet saw for cutting tiles. Are you really up for that?

But porcelain tiles themselves are more expensive, so you’re already starting off higher than ceramic.

You can try to factor in the life of the tiles when you’re running all the calculations in your head. Yes, porcelain costs more than ceramic, but it lasts longer too.

Plan to own your home for a long time? You may want to pay more up front for porcelain tiles and have the knowledge that you won’t be replacing them nearly as soon as you might with ceramic.

This is similar to how you might amortize a car or your mortgage.

Your choice of ceramic vs porcelain tile is up to you, but you don’t have to go it alone.

Get in on the Ground Floor

Have we helped you to make your decision on the great ceramic vs porcelain debate? Great!

Not there quite yet? That’s OK. Trying to decide can really floor people.

We’re here to help. We are experts in all kind of floor tile, and we’re happy to help share our expertise and guide you on the right path for your path.

Click here and give us a little bit of information about yourself and where you live. We’ll get back to you and open the lines of communication and soon, you’ll have conquered the floor war!

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Comments
  • Billy
    Reply

    Very interesting the difference in choice for different weathered areas is an important thing! Love learning about these important differences, thanks for sharing!

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