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What's The Difference Between Porcelain & Ceramic Tile

Home improvement decisions are not to be taken lightly, especially if you have an eye for design and a specific aesthetic in mind. So what happens when a simple decision suddenly becomes so complicated? This is typically the case when someone is trying to decide between porcelain and ceramic tile. While they physically look the same and are typically used for the same applications, that is where their similarities end. How do you choose based on budget, lifestyle, and application?

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic is the more affordable choice. It is made of red, white, or brown clay and kiln-fired at a lower temperature than porcelain. Therefore, it’s porous, dense, and considered a softer option. This means it’s more likely to retain water, capture stains, and require more frequent cleaning. Although the initial cost of ceramic tile is lower than porcelain, it may cost you more money in the long run due to continuous upkeep. A huge perk of ceramic tile is it’s easy to repair if damage occurs. So although repairs might occur more frequently, they are virtually easy and painless.

For first time homeowners, a ceramic tile is a great option. It is easy to install and tends to have a cooling effect in your home, especially in warmer climates. Though it is not as durable as porcelain, it has the same clean and sophisticated look that every home decor enthusiast loves. Although the price is right, this option may not be the best choice for high-trafficked areas of your home. While you may not want to apply ceramic to your busy foyer or bathroom surfaces, it would maintain extremely well for kitchen back-splashes and any tile detailing around your home. If you’re looking for something sturdy with little to no upkeep, then there is a better option for you and your home.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain is a blend of refined white clay, sand, and feldspar. The mixture is blended at a high temperature, which decreases the water content within. As a result, it’s harder, denser, less porous, and you guessed it-- More expensive! With the price comes a more complicated installation process, but it’s worth it if heavy-duty is your goal because the perks of porcelain are endless. It’s more resistant to stains, damage, and requires little cleaning. Deciding on porcelain is great for a number of reasons, but the deciding factors are usually always location and budget.

Porcelain is best for high-trafficked areas of your home. It is durable and typically lasts many more years than ceramic, so expect less repairs. However, if repairs do need to be made, it can be costly. Porcelain is also the better option if you have small children or pets; it’s much easier to maintain than ceramic. Porcelain can withstand all of your home’s needs whether it’s for flooring, counter tops, or that extravagant backsplash you’ve been wanting. While porcelain may seem like a luxurious and unnecessary option, it’s worth it for busy families and anyone hoping for less upkeep down the line.

Now that you know the key differences between ceramic and porcelain, it’s obvious that the verdict is unclear. Which type of tile is “better” is still a mystery to many considering both materials are equallably suitable for flooring, counter tops, and various other surfaces. However, hopefully you have a clearer idea of which direction to go in based on price, application location, and upkeep. Ceramic and porcelain have no obvious physical differences, but how well they will suit your home is vastly different. It all comes down to what tile appeals most to your lifestyle and aesthetic.

Custom blog post by The Passion Fruit Media ©


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