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Ceramic vs. Porcelain

Confused between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

Understanding the differences between these two materials can be tricky. Some homeowners even use the terms interchangeably. But if you want to ensure you’re making the right choice for your home renovation project, it pays to get to know more about them.

Let’s help you get started with this post. First, let’s talk a little about the composition of ceramic and porcelain tiles.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile: How They’re Made

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are both members of the ‘ceramic’ tile family. However, they have a different make-up and each also responds differently upon installation and exposure to elements.

Ceramic tiles are made of special clays and natural materials. To produce ceramic tiles, special clays are mined, shaped, and fired.

There are also two types of ceramic tiles. One is glazed and the other is unglazed or through-body. Glazed ceramic tiles consist of two layers. First is its larger part or body called the ‘bisque’ and the top layer which is known as the ‘glaze’. Unglazed tiles come in a single layer and are solid-colored.

Glazed tiles are more stain-resistant than unglazed ceramic tiles. They’re easier to keep clean and also won’t harbor bacteria or allergens. They can be too slippery, though, so they’re usually not recommended for floor use. They may also be susceptible to cracking.

Unglazed tiles, meanwhile, are slip and scratch-resistant. This makes them ideal for application in places that attract heavy foot traffic or are exposed to high moisture.  They’re vulnerable to staining, though, so sealing their surfaces is recommended.

Porcelain tiles, on the other hand, are made of fine porcelain clays mixed with finely ground sand. They’re fired at a much higher temperature and for a longer period than ceramic tiles. This process takes almost all of their water content, making them a lot harder and denser than ceramic tiles. You’ll also notice that porcelain tiles carry the same color throughout.

Differences between a Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

  • Color. A glazed ceramic tile carries two different color – one on its glaze and the other on its body. A porcelain tile, on the other hand, has the same color throughout its thickness.
  • Cost. Ceramic tiles are generally cheaper than porcelain tiles.
  • Durability. Porcelain tiles are more durable than their ceramic counterparts. They’re also considered as among the toughest flooring options available for use. Porcelain tiles will respond better to heavy impact stresses, making them suitable for exterior and commercial applications. Ceramic tiles are not ideal for commercial or exterior because of their high water absorption rate. They can crack once frozen.
  • Ease of use. Since ceramic tiles are softer, they’re also easier to cut and work with. This makes them an ideal material for homeowners that are into DIY projects. Porcelain tiles are a lot harder and more brittle so your best bet is to hire professional residential contractors to cut and install them properly.
  • PEI ratings. The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating system is used as a guide for installing tiles. Tiles are rated 1-5, 5 being the hardest, to determine if they’re fit for use on a specific location. Ceramic tile ratings are mostly on the lower end of the scale while porcelain tiles are usually rated around 5.
  • Resistance to stains. One advantage of porcelain tiles is their high resistance to stains. They’re impervious so liquid won’t penetrate through them.  Ceramic tiles, on the other hand, are more prone to staining.
  • Maintenance.  Since porcelain tiles are water-resistant, they’re also less prone to staining. Spots and marks can be cleaned by wiping or mopping. And regular cleaning can require no more than sweeping. Ceramic tiles, on the other hand, can be more challenging to clean.

Let’s Talk Tile for Your Home Remodeling Project in North Georgia

Eager to use tiles for your home renovation but are still unsure which ones to choose?  Our team at Douglas Residential Renovations can help you.

Whether you’re looking to give your bathroom, kitchen, basement, or entire home a makeover, you can count on our licensed contractors and technicians to deliver the job the way you want it and on time.

Call us today at (404) 483-3544. Let’s talk about tiles and beyond for your home renovation project.

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