Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles

While designing a home or a commercial place, apart from making it visually attractive, durability is also important. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are very common choices when it comes to decorating floors and walls.

Well, while the former one is appropriate for interior use the latter one is fit for both. 

Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles

The main difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles is that ceramic tiles are lighter because of their less density as compared to porcelain tiles. On the other hand, porcelain tiles are very hard and have more density. They absorb less water, can withstand more wear and tear and are more durable than ceramic tiles. 

Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles

Ceramic tiles are mainly used for interior designing and on low foot traffic areas. They cannot withstand harsh weather especially low-temperature which otherwise results in cracking.

Ceramic tiles are a better choice for interior decorating because they come in a variety of textured surfaces that add more visual depth. 

Porcelain tiles are very hard and water-resistant. They are extensively used for commercial purposes like in hotels and shopping malls.

They also perform well in high foot traffic areas and at the same time have a very smooth texture. Porcelain tiles are hard to cut and shape. 

Comparison Table Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles

Parameters of ComparisonCeramic TilesPorcelain Tiles
Manufacturing processCeramic tiles are manufactured using red, brown, or white clay. Porcelain tiles are manufactured using white clay, feldspar, and sand at a very high temperature. 
AppearanceCeramic tiles have a glazed surface coloring but the chips underneath may have a different color. Porcelain tiles maintain uniform color and texture throughout their thickness. 
FinishThe ceramic tiles on the unglazed surface feels coarse. The finish of the porcelain tiles is comparatively much smoother. 
DurabilityCeramic tiles are not very durable and more prone to cracking during cold weather. Porcelain tiles absorb less water and hence they are more durable. 
WeightCeramic tiles are comparatively lightweight because they are less dense. Porcelain tiles are very hard and much denser than ceramic tiles. 
ApplicationsAppropriate for use in interior walls and low foot traffic areas (interior). Appropriate for use in floors, walls exposed to high moisture levels, and high foot traffic areas. 
CuttingCeramic tiles can be easily cut and shaped. Cutting porcelain tiles is very hard and requires special tools. 
Interior/ExteriorCeramic tiles are suitable for interior designing. Porcelain tiles are suitable for both interior and exterior uses. 

What is Ceramic Tile?

Ceramic tiles are manufactured using any of the three different types of clay (red, brown, or white). The clay is first fired at a high temperature to reduce the water content which is followed by the glaze and patterns.

The spaces between the tiles (called grout) are filled with a mixture of water, sand, and cement-like material. 

Ceramic tiles have a glaze on the surface and underneath it has a different color. They are not uniformly smooth. Ceramic tiles are mainly used for interior purposes in low foot traffic areas.

They are lightweight and have less density which is not appropriate for high foot traffic areas. 

There are three types of ceramic tiles. The glazed ceramic tiles have a protective finish that varies from matte (natural look) to glossy (chic look). The other two types are wall tiles and floor tiles. Ceramic tiles are best for bathrooms and kitchens. 

What is Porcelain Tile?

Porcelain tiles are manufactured in searing hot temperatures (somewhere between 2,300 to 2,400 Fahrenheit). Since it is made at extremely high temperatures, porcelain tile is much stronger as compared to ceramic tiles.

They also absorb less water and have proven to be appropriate for exterior designing. They barely have any pores and thus can be installed in high moisture areas. 

Mosaic tile is a type of porcelain tile where the patterns are laid out on a mesh backing. These types of tiles are also used in kitchens or the shower.

There are several classes and categories of porcelain tiles among which Class 5 is the toughest and most durable one. And, Grade 1 porcelain tiles mark the thickest in the stack

Though porcelain is commonly found in white color, there are many bold color porcelain tiles available in the market nowadays. Unlike ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles maintain the uniformity of color throughout their thickness. 

Main Differences Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles

  1.  Ceramic tiles are manufactured using red, brown, or white clay whereas porcelain tiles are manufactured using white clay, feldspar, and sand at a very high temperature. 
  2. Ceramic tiles have a glazed surface coloring but the chips underneath may have a different color whereas porcelain tiles have uniform color throughout their thickness. 
  3. The ceramic tiles on the unglazed surface feel coarse whereas porcelain tiles have a smooth finish.
  4. Ceramic tiles are not very durable and more prone to cracking during cold weather where porcelain tiles absorb less water and are hence more durable.
  5. Ceramic tiles are comparatively lightweight because they are less dense than porcelain tiles. 
  6. Ceramic tiles are appropriate for use in interior walls and low foot traffic areas (interior) whereas porcelain tiles are used in floors, walls exposed to high moisture levels, and high foot traffic areas. 
  7. Ceramic tiles can be easily cut and shaped but porcelain tiles require special tools for cutting and shaping and can be performed by professionals only. 
Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles

Conclusion

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are used extensively either to decorate homes or commercial buildings.

Though porcelain tiles are more durable and can be used for both interior and exterior designing, the manufacturing cost of the same is very high. Moreover, they are not easy to cut and can only be installed by professional workers. 

Ceramic tiles are the first choice of every homeowner when it comes to decorating the interior walls and floors.

They are very easy to cut and shape and are available in a variety of different textures, colors, and patterns. But, they should be avoided in high foot traffic and wet (high moisture content) areas. 

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092150930600503X
  2. https://ceramics.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1744-7402.2010.02566.x
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