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Porcelain Tile versus Ceramic Tile? We clear up the confusion

The terms porcelain and ceramic in reference to tiles has often been interchangeable however, there are in fact, clear differences between these two options.  The confusion stems from the fact that porcelain tiles are technically a ceramic product but as they do have a different manufacturing process and are also made of different materials, they bare certain unique qualities that cannot be achieved using the standard ceramic varieties. Our post explores these key differences, helping to guide you through the process of selecting between the two tile options.

What are Porcelain Tiles?

Made using a specific mixture of clay combined with fine sand and feldspar, porcelain tiles are fired at extremely high temperatures, significantly higher than those required to create a ceramic tile. This process creates an incredibly dense and strong tile that also provides a non-porous finish, absorbing less than 0.5% of liquids throughout the product’s testing process, making them an ideal solution for areas with increased moisture and humidity in the air such as the bathroom. These unique qualities also make porcelain tiles a popular choice as a universal option that is suitable for both residential and commercial use and as both a floor and wall finish. Designs of porcelain tiles vary greatly from simple, timeless pieces that provide endless appeal to the more decorative selections that are specifically designed to simulate the look and texture of a natural product such as timber look, marble look  or terrazzo look tiles in order to achieve a virtually maintenance-free surface finish at a fraction of the cost of these luxury materials. 

perini-delmarmo-tilesDesigned to mimic the colouring and veining seen in natural marble products, our Italian made Del Marmo porcelain tiles make for the ideal low maintenance bathroom tiles but also work well in the laundry and even living area.

What are Ceramic Tiles?

Made using natural brown, red or white clays, ceramic tiles are fired at a high temperature until set and all moisture has been removed from the product, followed by the application of specific decorative glazes and patterns. Ceramic tiles are much softer and lighter in weight than their porcelain counterparts, making them much easier to cut and drill through. These qualities mean that they are especially favoured for use as wall tiles, allowing better ease of installation of wall fittings such as bathroom towel rails for example. 

Press ceramic tilesMade in Spain, our charming and elegant Press ceramic tiles recreate the traditional stylings of a pressed tin feature, making them the perfect choice for  kitchen tiles or feature wall.

Cost Considerations of Porcelain Tiles

Due to the additional strength and thickness of porcelain tiles as well as the advanced technology employed in their creation, these tile collections will generally attract a higher price tag, both to purchase as well as to lay. Being harder to cut into in comparison to ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles require more time to properly lay so it is important to have selected your perfect tiles prior to seeking out quotes for the job as your Tiler will need to know all the details in order to factor them into their quotation.

Porcelain Tiles vs. Ceramic Tiles: Key Points

As demonstrated, there are certain key differences between these two options and understanding these will assist you in narrowing down your tile options. To summarise, these key points include:

  • Price points: Porcelain tiles are generally the more costly option of the two however, you will also find many mosaic tiles or handmade tiles that will of course, attract a much a higher purchase price
  • Laying Costs: Being a denser product, porcelain tiles will generally require more time to create a quality finish when laying, leading to a higher labour cost 
  • Floor or Wall use: Providing a softer finish that is easier to cut and manipulate, ceramic tiles lend themselves particularly well to wall use whereas porcelain tiles can be used as both a floor or wall finish (with respect to the product’s weight)
  • Decorative Wall Tiles: Although there are many wall tile options available in either a porcelain or ceramic tile, you will find many more decorative varieties available in ceramic tile collections, including 3D effects and intricately etched patterns

decorative ceramic tilesOur Azra ceramic wall tiles boast a range of intricate patterns in an assortment of vibrant colours, creating a stunning vintage look in your design scheme. These decorative ceramic tiles make for the ultimate statement in any project, instantly drawing the eye to your chosen feature wall.

Our tile experts at Perini Tiles will assist and guide you through the selection process, helping you narrow down your choices to find the perfect fit for your design scheme. Visit our Richmond tile showroom for a free design consultation or book online for a virtual appointment using Zoom or FaceTime.