PORCELAIN VS. CERAMIC TILES
A common dilemma is selecting between porcelain and ceramic tiles. Regularly people ask us:
- What are the main differences between porcelain and ceramic tiles?
- Which one is better than the other?
- What is normally the difference in price?
- Which tile do I select?
The short answer to the above lies in the manufacturing process, but we will try and provide some simple answers.
Ceramic tiles can be categorized into: (a) porcelain tiles and (b) non-porcelain tiles. The non-porcelain tiles are frequently referred to as ‘ceramic tiles’ separating them from ‘porcelain tiles’. Although porcelain tiles technically are a subset of ceramics, they are often referred to as porcelain because they are a result of a different manufacturing process.
All tiles are generally made from clays and natural minerals. However, in porcelain production, sand is also added in the manufacturing mix and the mixture is then pressed and fired at much higher temperatures than ceramic tiles and also for longer time period. The manufacturing process makes porcelain tiles denser, less porous, harder, and less prone to moisture and stain absorption. For these reasons, most porcelain tiles are suitable for both indoor and outdoor installations.
Ceramic tiles are mainly applied indoors (both wall and floor applications). They are softer and usually suitable for light to moderate traffic locations. Also, they tend to have a relatively high-water absorption rating making them less frost resistant, and be more prone to wear and chipping compared to porcelain tiles. Because they are often red or white underneath (attribute to red/white clay), if they chip, it tends to show more than porcelain tiles.
When a sales man tells you a tile is more expensive because is ‘rectified’ it means that all tiles are exactly the same size when they are cut on a grinder. The manufacturing process applied to the porcelain tile is costlier as is longer and removes almost all of the water content and moisture making the tile harder and more difficult to cut to final size. The production cost is therefore the main reason that the price is higher. Aside pricing, rectified porcelain tiles can be installed with a very narrow grout line for a seamless look.
Therefore, which tile do I select?
Whether you select ceramic or porcelain, just select a tile that meets your budget and the application you need in terms of design and look. Regardless of your choice, both come in a variety of sizes, shape, colour and style. There may be advantages in selecting porcelain tiles due to extra density, more hardwearing and more resistant to scratching and chipping, but for non-commercial and heavy traffic applications (e.g. flats or houses) it doesn’t really make much difference as quality ceramic tiles can also get the job done and last for many years. Worth mentioning though that our recent experience with home owners, most select porcelain tiles and pay a bit more on price due to better overall finishing and because they can be applied with a very thin grout line giving a seamless look.
We would be more than happy to assist you in selecting the right tiles for your project and also explain some simple tests that over and above the tile rating you could apply to ensure you purchase a quality tile. Also, JCT enjoys discounts that would be passed on directly to you as our valuable client. We do not charge any premium on supply of tiles as we make our monies from actual installation.
Just call or email us.