What Is the Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tile?

There may be no difference between porcelain and ceramic tile based on appearance alone. As far as composition and quality are concerned, you have to know the characteristics of porcelain versus ceramic as it will affect how you use the tiles for your house.

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What Is the Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tile?

Porcelain vs. Ceramic

Both tiles are formed using clay and fire from a kiln. However, porcelain is made of more refined clay and fired at a higher temperature. As a result, porcelain tiles are more laborious and extremely dense than ceramic tiles. It's also less porous so it's resilient against water absorption, moisture and stains.

Due to the strength and hardness of porcelain tiles, its installation might require special tools. The installer must also have prior experience working with this type of tile, so it's not recommended for do-it-yourself projects. Cost for porcelain tiles, including installation, is more expensive.

A ceramic tile is not as durable as a porcelain tile because its composition is softer and more porous. However, this tile is easier to cut and work with so you may choose to go with a DIY installation. The price per square meter of a ceramic tile is more affordable than porcelain.

Best Tile for Kitchen Floor

A tile's durability is graded based on the standards that the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) has set since the 1930s. Class 1 tiles, for example, are best for wall use only. Class 2 tiles may be used for both floors and walls of space with light traffic. Class 3 tiles are applicable for wall, floor and countertop use in an area with average foot traffic. Class 4 tiles are ideal for residential spaces, as well as medium-sized commercial spaces. Class 5 tiles are best for spaces with heavy traffic in commercial, industrial and residential spaces.

Most ceramic tiles carry Class 1 to 3 ratings. Porcelain tiles, on the other hand, carry a Class 5 rating, usually.

You have the option to use a Class 3 ceramic tile for your kitchen floor because this quality can better withstand cracks and water absorption, as well as wear and tear. If you have the budget for it, porcelain tiles are optimal for a kitchen floor.

Best Tile for Outdoors

Outdoor patios and pavements require the most durable tiles, so the only choice is to go with porcelain because it can withstand a frost. Ceramic tiles can freeze during the winter and thaw when the snow is gone, which means it's more prone to cracks if installed for outdoor use.

Heather Burdo

Heather Burdo

Heather Burdo is a seasoned writer with six years of experience, including home improvement topics. Her passion is helping homeowners with tips and tricks through content.