Porcelain Vs. Ceramic Tile: Differences and Applications

Porcelain Vs. Ceramic Tile: Differences and Applications

If you’re in the market for new flooring, you might wonder about the differences between porcelain and ceramic tile. Many people understandably confuse the two since they are similar in appearance and used in comparable spaces like bathroom floors or kitchen walls.

Our experts at Adda Carpets & Flooring in New Orleans, LA, your headquarters for flooring options in New Orleans, can help you make a well-informed decision about what will work best for the floor of each room. Let’s dive into the similarities and differences between these popular flooring materials, porcelain vs. ceramic tiles. 

How Porcelain and Ceramic Tile Differ

Both porcelain tile and ceramic tile fall into a flooring category called ceramics, which is why so many people confuse the two. Ceramics consists of any solid tile created from earthy clay materials and then fired (and usually glazed) in a kiln. The tile makers cut and shape the clay tiles and then bake them in intense heat, giving them the familiar stony hardness. They apply glaze to their surface between firings to gives them a smooth, glossy appearance, which makes them almost indistinguishable from each other. Despite a similar production process, a few key differences in specifications separate ceramic and porcelain into two subcategories.  

Porcelain Tile

Made from materials like refined clay, porcelain tile goes through a kiln firing at extremely high temperatures. It typically then receives a coating of liquid glass for a smooth, consistent surface. 

Porcelain’s water absorption rate registers at .5% or less, meaning that it has better water resistance than ceramic tile. Sometimes, the producers modify the appearance of porcelain tiles to resemble other materials like concrete or wood-look tiles.

Porcelain tile is a favorite of flooring experts because of its lasting durability against foot traffic and immunity to water damage. However, it lacks cost-effectiveness per square foot. It’s also more difficult to cut and shape than ceramic tiles.  

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tiles consist of a coarser clay, go through the kiln firing at a lower temperature than porcelain, and their glaze is not as glassy. This makes the material less compact, not quite as smooth, and more absorbent. Ceramic’s absorbent nature can be both a perk and a pitfall. On the one hand, it can stay cooler during hot weather, which makes it desirable in hot climates. On the other hand, it has less water resistance. However, glazing the tiles will compensate for this, and a heavily glazed ceramic tile may have almost the same quality as porcelain.

Ceramic tiles are generally less expensive than porcelain. Homeowners with a smaller budget will often choose ceramic tile over porcelain for this reason. 

How To Choose Between The Two

In a nutshell, the choice between porcelain tile and ceramic tile depends on your budget and your needs for water resistance. If you’re looking for a flooring option that can withstand heavy, continuous foot traffic, spills, and puddles, you’ll want to go with porcelain. Even with its higher expense, it provides years of worry-free water resistance.

If you have a tighter budget, ceramic tile may be the best option for you. While it doesn’t have the same water resistance as porcelain, it’s a great runner-up with a cost-effective perk. You can also mix and match the two, depending on your needs. For example, if you have a project that requires tiles on the walls and floor of your master bathroom, you could use porcelain on the floor to maximize water resistance where you need it the most, then choose ceramic for the wall since it has no foot traffic and far less water spillage. 

At Adda Carpets & Flooring, We Offer You The Best Flooring Options

Ready to get a great start on your next flooring project? Our family-owned-and-operated business at Adda Carpets & Flooring is prepared to help with fantastic customer service. We’ll tell you all you need to know about the different types of floor tiles for your home. Call us at (504)-736-9001 or fill out our brief contact sheet to get started.