Beautiful and easily maintained, porcelain tile is a common and practical choice in modern home decor. The standard thickness for porcelain tile is similar to that of ceramic tiles, with porcelain tile available in a slightly thicker version. Porcelain tile is sold by square footage. Make sure your room or area measurements are accurate to purchase sufficient tile.
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Standard Tile Thickness
Standard porcelain tile thickness ranges between 1/4- and 3/4-inch thick. In contrast, ceramic tiles range from 1/4- to 3/8-inch in standard thickness. The average minimum thickness is the same for both materials, but porcelain tiles come in thicker options. Thicker tiles are less likely to break or crack than thinner tiles because they're stronger. You may want to choose thicker porcelain tiles for flooring, especially in high-traffic areas, because porcelain floor tile durability is important in preventing cracks and damage.
Thin-Body Porcelain Tile
If you're looking for a lighter weight porcelain tile option, consider a thin-body porcelain tile. They offer a more eco-friendly option because they use less material, and they don't take as much energy to produce. Most porcelain tiles are at least 7 millimeters thick. But the thin porcelain tile is only 3 to 6 millimeters thick. That means the tiles could be as thin as 0.12 inches thick.
Because the tiles are so thin, they require special care during installation. They're much more likely to crack or break, so installers often use special equipment for the process, especially for tiles on the thinner end of the range.
Why Porcelain Tile Thickness Matters
Does it really matter how thick your porcelain tile is? Thicker tiles do tend to offer greater durability, but the thickness can also be important to make the tiles fit into your space. For example, you don't want your new tile floor to be higher or lower than the flooring in adjoining rooms. You also want doors in the space to be able to swing freely. If you get extra thick porcelain tile, the door might catch or rub on the tile. Factor in the subfloor height to choose a tile thickness.
Porcelain Tile Characteristics
Porcelain tiles, generally manufactured by the pressed dust method, are made from porcelain clays. Ceramic tiles are made from red or white clays. The water absorption rate of porcelain tiles is less than 1 percent, so these tiles make a good choice for outdoor areas in cold climates, as they are frost-resistant if not frost-proof. Besides being impervious to moisture, these tiles are also smooth and dense. You may purchase unglazed porcelain tiles, or choose a matte or high-gloss finish.
Glazed Porcelain Tiles
Glazed tiles have a thin glass coating applied before being kiln-fired. This type of porcelain tile, also known as vitreous tile, is available in many colors and patterns. However, if the tile chips or breaks, the damage will be noticeable and require repair or replacement. Highly glossed glaze tiles may be slippery, making them more suitable for walls and countertops than flooring. Porcelain tiles are heat-resistant for kitchen use but are not heat-proof. Glazed tiles do not require sealing.
Full-Bodied Porcelain Tiles
Full-bodied porcelain tiles, also known as through-bodied tiles, include the tile color or pattern throughout the entire thickness of the tile, no matter how thick they are. These tiles, suitable for residential or commercial use, easily hide any wear or damage. To further protect your full-bodied porcelain tiles, you may want to apply a sealer on the grout lines.
Whether you're using porcelain tile on your floors or walls, you have options when it comes to thickness. Understanding the different types and thicknesses of the tiles helps you pick the best option for your project.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.