While they look like two peas in a pod, ceramic and porcelain tiles are not the same. It also doesn’t help that people use the terms ‘ceramic tiles’ and ‘porcelain tiles’ interchangeably.

The differences between the two are minute yet can be instrumental, starting with construction and continuing to characteristics – and sometimes even beyond. For this reason, we have carried out a details ceramic vs porcelain tiles comparison so that you can make a well-rounded choice.

ceramic vs porcelain

What You Need to Know About Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are made using red, brown, and white clay, which is kiln-fired at low temperatures. As a result, these are more porous, less dense, and softer. The clay used in ceramic tiles is a lot less refined than that used in porcelain tiles, which makes it more affordable but somewhat less durable.

ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles are widely used as flooring, especially in houses located in warm climates, where the cooling effect of the tiles is a welcome relief from the sun.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ceramic Tiles

Let’s quickly go over the pros and cons of ceramic tiles:

Advantages Disadvantages
Highly durable and long-lasting Unsuitable for outdoors or places with heavy traffic
Unglazed tiles offer a natural look and feel Can be cold and uncomfortable
Resistant to heat, water, and stains Heavy and prone to chipping and breaking
Design flexibility as they can add depth and dimension to the room Grout requires periodic sealing or else moisture will seep in
Easy to maintain

What You Need to Know About Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are, in a way, a subtype of ceramic tiles made with white clay, sand, and feldspar. These tiles are kiln-fired at very high temperatures and for longer durations, which seals in the natural look while granting it stone-like durability. Homeowners can choose between unglazed, glazed, and full-bodied tiles depending on the decor requirements.porcelain tiles

Advantages and Disadvantages of Porcelain Tiles

Here is a quick overview of the pros and cons of porcelain tiles:

Advantages Disadvantages
Variety of design options available Much more expensive
Long-term durability due to through-body composition Heavy and brittle, which makes installation tricky
Highly water and heat resistant Slippery and hard underfoot
Resistance to staining Cost of installation is high
Ease of maintenance

Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles: Key Similarities and Differences

The similarities and differences when it comes to ceramic vs porcelain, in terms of properties like material, cost, uses, maintenance, durability, etc. are tabulated below:

Ceramic Tiles Porcelain Tiles
Composition Coarse clay Fine kaolin clay
Density Low High
Cost Cheaper. They cost around Rs. 30/- to 65/- per square feet More expensive. On average, these cost Rs. 65/- to 70/- per square feet
Uses Suitable only for interior uses like:

  • Walls
  • Floors
  • Low foot traffic areas
  • Home interiors
Suited for interior and exterior uses like:

  • Floors
  • Wetrooms
  • High foot traffic areas
  • External flooring
Appearance Often solid coloured Come in various colours, designs, patterns, and textures, and can also mimic natural stones and wood grains
Water Absorption More susceptible to moisture infiltration due to the unglazed backing, which ups water absorption from 0.5% More impervious to water intrusion with water absorption less than or equal to 0.5%
Heat Resistance Highly resistant to heat Highly resistant to heat
Maintenance Can be cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a mild soap solution Can be cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a mild soap solution
Durability The heterogeneous composition and lower density clay make them more prone to cracking, chipping and breaking Being solid throughout, they are harder and long-lasting
Ease of Cutting Does not require exceptional skill, expertise, or tools to cut, which simplifies the installation Often requires an experienced tile-setter for cutting and installation

Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles: How to Tell Them Apart?

Ideally, the packaging of the tiles would indicate whether it is ceramic or porcelain. However, you can also use the following litmus test to differentiate between the two:

  • Porcelain tiles have a consistent colour through and through. Even broken or chipped porcelain tiles will have uniform colour across the cross-section. On the other hand, ceramic tiles have glazed surface colouring, beneath which you might find different colours.
  • Porcelain tiles have a smoother finish than ceramic tiles – even if it is the unglazed surface that is in question. Porcelain tiles will have a smoother texture, while ceramic tiles will feel coarse.
  • Porcelain tiles are denser, which makes them heavier than ceramic tiles.

ceramic vs porcelain

Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles: Which Ones Are Right for You?

As seen above, the difference when it comes to ceramic vs porcelain tiles can be critical depending on the application. Thus, it is best to get the full picture before deciding between the two. To cut a long story short, use porcelain tiles for interior and exterior uses where moisture levels would be high. On the other hand, use ceramic tiles for a cheaper fix for low-traffic areas.

Both are easy to maintain and as long as you reseal the tiles periodically by cleaning and replacing the grout, they will offer you long-term durability. Check out the HomeLane blog for more tips and tricks on how to make your house a home.

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