Porcelain Tiles or Ceramic Tiles? A Brief Comparison


Which one suits your needs best? Porcelain tiles or ceramic tiles, the key differences are shown below.


Whether it be for a floor, wall or any imaginable surface you may want tiles on, porcelain tiles and ceramic tiles should be at the top of your list. They are both renowned for the durability and versatility, ideal for homeowners. While they are both similar in numerous ways, there are some key differences between these two clay-based tiles.

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are mainly manufactured with refined clay and other naturally occurring elements. The process of making these tiles include being “kiln-fired,” kilns are an essential part of the manufacture of all ceramics, the tiles are then either kept in the state resulting from kiln-firing or are molded to look like stone, wood, concrete and in some cases, other materials.

Technically, since these tiles are constructed through a clay-based construction process, they technically fall under a subtype of ceramic tiles. However, these ones are much sturdier in comparison to non-porcelain ceramic tiles.

Homeowners get the option of choosing from either glazed or unglazed varieties of these tiles. Both of these varieties have color running through the entire length of the tiles, which is in contrast to a glaze placed on top. This property makes the tiles much less susceptible to getting chipped.

Pros and Cons of Porcelain Tiles

These tiles have a reputation of being the most durable type of tile available in the market. These tiles are of much sturdier construction and general make up than their counterparts. It is particularly well known for being harder, denser and tougher, not to mention the fact that it has a noticeably lower absorption rate, which means that these tiles are much less likely to fall prey to water damage, it does not matter for how long they have been exposed to water. This quality makes it the tile of choice for bathrooms, patios, laundry rooms and  just about any other room that are moisture prone. The ability to withstand intense traffic makes these tiles the tiles of choice for flooring and countertops.

In spite of the qualities listed above, there are some considerations that need to be made when selecting these tiles. The major flaws being the price point at which they are available and the ease of cutting of these tiles. These tiles require a wet saw with diamond blades to be cut cleanly. These factors would not make the tiles be an ideal match for DIY enthusiasts. Professional installation is required for these tiles

If you are looking for tiles that are easier on your wallets and easier to install by yourselves, ceramic tiles may be the better option for you.

Ceramic tiles

Though both tiles use kiln-firing as their main manufacturing method, the ones of the ceramic variety are kiln-fired at a much lower temperature. This gives the tiles a much denser, softer and more porous quality. The raw materials, in this case clay, used in production is a lot less refined than their counterparts. This makes the ceramic tiles much less expensive but it comes at the cost of lower durability. This makes the tiles highly suited for homeowners in warmer climates, where they can be installed as flooring. The natural coolness of the tiles is an additional welcome feature in the hot summers.

Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tiles

Versatility and affordability are the hallmarks of ceramic tiles that give these an upper hand when compared to tiles of other varieties. Another important advantage of these tiles is the fact that they are much easier to install. The comparatively soft surface of ceramic tiles makes these much more suited for DIY projects, where you can cut the tiles with a regular tile cutter. Adding to these benefits, these tiles have a very elegant and clean-lined appearance. Then we also have the additional benefit of glazed finish that is much more suited for customization into a wide array of colors and patterns.

Having talked about the benefits of ceramic tiles, we must also now address the cons of these tiles. As the construction method differs quite a bit from porcelain tiles, so does the durability. These are nowhere near as durable as its counterparts. Then there is also the fact that these tiles are much more absorbent, so it would not be the best choice for areas that are moisture prone, for example – showers or patios. As these tiles are much more absorbent, these require greater efforts in the upkeep department. They require weekly deep cleaning, in opposition to monthly deep cleaning. While these tiles may feel nice in the summer with their “coolness,” it becomes quite the different story in winters when it may get too cool and be incredibly uncomfortable. These tiles are ideal in environments where there are moderate to low levels of foot traffic.

From the discussion about the two types of tiles mentioned above, we can see that when choosing tiles, we must take into consideration seriously the needs of the person using it. Some of the key factors that should influence the decision include budget and the location of installation.