Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile

The difference between ceramic and porcelain tile

The most popular tiles on the market today are ceramic and porcelain tiles. They are used for flooring and for walls and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Even though they do know that there are ceramic and porcelain tiles, many people are unable to tell the difference between them or even to be able to tell which tiles are porcelain and which are ceramic.

The reason that some confusion exists is that porcelain is a type of ceramic tile. There is a difference, though, in the way in which they are processed. Ceramic tiles are formed from clay and the forms are then fired in a kiln. Porcelain tiles are formed from fine sand and although they are fired in a kiln, it is at a much higher temperature. As a result porcelain tiles are denser than ceramic tiles and are therefore much stronger. The processing at the higher temperature also means that porcelain tiles are not as absorbent as ceramics and are suited for rooms where there is high humidity. It also makes them resistant to staining and frost so they can be used outdoors as well as inside the home.

There is a difference between the two types of tikes when it comes to the pattern. The pattern on ceramic tile is on the glaze and not on the actual tile. Therefore if the tile gets chipped in some way, there will be a piece of the pattern missing from the glaze with the body of the tile showing through. This will mar the look of the flooring or the wall. On porcelain tiles, though, the pattern is all through the tile. If there are any chips, it will not mar the pattern and for this reason, chipping does not present as much of a problem with porcelain tiles as it does with ceramic tiles.

Porcelain tiles are harder than ceramic tiles and are therefore much more durable. This makes them suited to a wide variety of environments. Ceramic tiles are fired at a lower temperature than porcelain tiles and are then glazed. This makes them susceptible to damage when they encounter harsh conditions. They are brittle and for this reason they are not recommended for use in areas that will see a lot of traffic.

Because they are so hard, porcelain tiles are really difficult to cut. Ceramic tiles are softer, which makes then easier to cut and they bond with the floor easier than porcelain. You do need to have a wet tile sale in order to cut porcelain tiles and it takes them a lot longer to adhere to the floor. A homeowner can lay ceramic tiles as a DIY project, but it is better to have a professional lay porcelain tiles.


  1. Porcelain tiles are a form of ceramic tiles. Ceramic tiles are made from clay, but porcelain tiles are made from sand. Both are fired in a kiln, but porcelain requires a much higher temperature.
  2. The higher temperature makes porcelain tiles denser and stronger, but it also makes them harder to work with.
  3. Ceramic tiles are easier to work with because they are softer.
  4. Porcelain tiles are better suited for use outdoors.

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