When decorating the interior of a kitchen, dining room, veranda, bathroom, or hallway, ceramic tiles are most often chosen in the form of flooring. Known for its durability and practicality, it is suitable for wet rooms and looks very impressive. In stores, there is always a huge selection of collections and types of tiles – porcelain stoneware, stone, porcelain, ceramic, clinker tiles. It is not difficult for the buyer to get confused since the variety of colors, shapes, textures, and styles is huge, but you also need to know the difference in technical characteristics.
Difference between porcelain and ceramic tiles?
Porcelain tiles in the interior look expensive and luxurious. It shines and perfectly imitates natural stone. At the same time, ceramic also comes in different types; it is suitable for economic renovation and luxury design decoration. The difference between these two types of tiles in some indicators:
- Materials and production technology. Ceramics are made from red or white clay, and porcelain only from white – kaolin, quartz, and feldspar are also included in the mixture. During the firing process, it is exposed to a temperature of 1200-1400 degrees. This makes porcelain tiles denser, and feldspar makes their structure less porous than ceramics.
- Water absorption. Based on the first point, porcelain has a much lower water absorption coefficient due to its density. For ceramics, the indicator is 0.5%, while for porcelain, it is lower. This characteristic suggests that in humid rooms, like a bathroom or a swimming pool, porcelain on the floor hardly absorbs water, which means it lasts longer and remains strong.
- Certification. To receive the Porcelain certification and mark, the porcelain tile factory undergoes multi-level inspections of the technological process, equipment, raw materials, and finished products. Certification of ceramics is different. As a result, product certificates differ, which can be compared when purchasing.
- Colour. Porcelain tiles throughout the composition – inside and on the surface – have the same color—ceramic inside the color of clay and outside with a colored glazed coating. On a cut, in the event of a break or damage on the tile, you can see a difference in color or tone, but not on porcelain. This is a way to verify the authenticity of a product and a practical indicator – if damaged, cracks on the item will not be noticeable.
- Strength. According to this indicator, the highest score is for natural stone, then for porcelain stoneware, porcelain, and then for ceramic tiles. Ceramics do not have such a high density. Therefore, even floor coverings with an indicator of maximum endurance (grade 5) will have slightly lower strength than porcelain. If we compare such property as fragility, both tiles are fragile when cutting; this is how they differ from natural stone.
- Appearance. Externally, the difference between ceramics and porcelain is easy to understand in color samples. As mentioned above, the porcelain cut and the backside will be the same color as the front side, and on the tile, they will be different. It’s harder to see this difference in lighter colors. But there is another feature – porcelain, like porcelain stoneware, is usually not rectified, that is, its cut is even, without bevel.
- Price. This is the first sign that distinguishes Porcelain from the tile for the buyer – it is more expensive. The high price is associated with the technology by which it is produced, materials, and more expensive and complex certification.
Comparision Porcelain Tile vs Ceramic Tile
|Porcelain Tile||Ceramic Tile|
|Benefits||Floor, walls||Floor, walls, roofs|
|Flexibility||More flexible||Less flexible|
|Humidity||Low moisture absorption||Varies with materials and processes used|
|Crack||Colors are generally crisp and vibrant||It may vary depending on the material and paint used|
|Price||More expensive than conventional ceramic||It depends on the type, but generally cheaper|
|Ideal for||Cold weather climate where freeze/thaw||Varied weather conditions|
Which is better!
Despite the abundance of finishing materials on the modern market, ceramic coatings are still the most in-demand today. The secret is in their reliability and resistance to aggressive external influences. The tiles are preferred when a practical and durable finish is required in rooms with a high level of humidity: bathrooms, toilets, etc.
If not so long ago, everyone knew only one option for cladding – ceramic tiles, then in recent years, strong and beautiful porcelain stoneware has successfully competed with it. Naturally, when choosing, the question becomes relevant: what is the difference between ceramic tiles and porcelain stoneware? We propose to sort it out together.
As mentioned above, tiles are indispensable for wet rooms. In addition, it is widely used in the kitchen, especially for arranging a work wall or floor. This material is easy in daily care, easy to clean and wash, often with plain water, without chemicals. It is made by pressing and further firing a mixture of clay, sand, and organic minerals.
The main difference between porcelain stoneware and ceramic floor tiles is that the former has a denser, more solid body achieved during the production process. Ceramic granite, as a rule, is baked at high temperatures; its color is already initially laid in the composition of the mixture, which makes it possible to achieve uniformity throughout the entire thickness of the product. It does not need additional enamel like a tile. The finished mixture is molded, dried, and pressed, after which it is re-pressed under a more powerful press and then fired at a temperature of 1200-1300 degrees.
Thanks to this technology, porcelain stoneware has a much lower porosity, absorbs less moisture, which significantly increases the strength indicators. Even though both materials are covered with glaze, the difference between porcelain stoneware and ceramic tiles is that the former can be used outdoors, which cannot be said about the latter. A homogeneous, fully stained porcelain stoneware recommended for commercial areas is also currently being produced.
However, with all the obvious advantages of this coating, it is not without its disadvantages. Firstly, porcelain stoneware has a lot of weight, which, of course, cannot but affect the complexity of its processing and cutting. Secondly, it should be noted its higher price, and thirdly – not as wide a variety of colors and patterns as its competitor.
But even the listed disadvantages of these two materials do not prevent them from holding the palm in the international market. The unique characteristics of ceramics for walls and floors make it especially popular and in-demand nowadays in both private and public construction. Therefore, to give an unambiguous answer to the question: “porcelain stoneware or ceramic tiles: which is better?” is practically impossible, since each of the facing materials has its own field of application, where they have no equal yet.
What is the best tile to use for your home?
When choosing a cladding for a bathroom, hallway, or kitchen, you need to consider the main difference – the purpose. Floor and wall tiles have different properties. Floor-standing is stronger, it can be laid on walls, but wall-mounted on the floor is not. There is also a difference between interior and exterior cladding materials. For finishing unheated rooms and outdoor objects – verandas, terraces, porches, it is necessary to use frost-resistant types of coatings.
If we compare porcelain and ceramic tiles, then both types are equally suitable in the house. The difference is in preference and budget for renovations. Porcelain tiles, like porcelain stoneware, are used in elite repairs; when laid, they fit end-to-end, the seams are invisible, so an imitation of natural stone finish is obtained. The polished surface gloss and color can imitate marble, granite, onyx, and other expensive materials.
The tile also has its advantages – it is cheaper and much easier to install. When cutting, it does not crumble so much, and it is easier and faster for the worker to the surface. Be careful when cutting porcelain tiles. The hard material is cut with effort. With its fragility, the material can break and spoil the sample if it is cut incorrectly.
Care and maintenance
Overall, porcelain stoneware is very gentle when it comes to spills and scratches; it is difficult to damage and relatively easy to keep clean. Sweep and vacuum the porcelain stoneware once or twice a week, depending on the traffic conditions. Use a vinegar-water solution or tile cleaner once a month to get rid of dirt and everyday deposits. If you have glazed tiles, use a mop. If you have unglazed or textured tiles, use a soft-bristled brush. Try to avoid using oil-based products, paraffin wax, abrasive scrubbers, and anything that contains bleach or ammonia. Then rinse with hot water and dry thoroughly with a towel or microfiber cloth. For step-by-step instructions, refer to our Porcelain Tile Cleaning Guide, which details procedures for glazed, unglazed, and even textured tiles.
It is effortless to clean porcelain stoneware with a damp mop and a mild soap and water solution. Must be repaired the cement mortar filling the joints between the tiles periodically to protect against stains and mildew.
With a little discipline, it’s easy to keep your ceramic floors looking great for years to come. Sweep or vacuum the ceramic tiles once a week to make room for easier cleaning. Then, using a mild dish soap mixed with hot water, work your way from one end of the tile to the other with a rope mop. Finally, quickly and thoroughly dry the entire surface with a towel or microfiber cloth. For more information on how to preserve shiny tiles, see this ceramic tile cleaning guide.
Ceramic tiles need the same care and cleaning as ceramic tiles – regular wet cleaning and occasional sealing.
Pros and Cons
We cannot argue that porcelain stoneware does not break at all. Of course, if you are laying porcelain stoneware on the kitchen floor, you can not be afraid that the stove will crumble when the pan falls, as can happen with ceramic tiles. It’s just that the degree of resistance to external influences of porcelain stoneware is many times higher than that of traditional tiles. You can drop a bottle of acid or boiling water in the kitchen; porcelain stoneware will not fade or break. The main thing is not to carry out such experiments at home on purpose.
Another condition for the increased impact resistance of porcelain stoneware is the correct laying of the material. If the screed is not done correctly, voids will likely form, which will cause damage to the floor. But after all, at industrial enterprises, forklifts drive on the floor made of porcelain stoneware, and nothing bad happens to the material. On average, porcelain stoneware can withstand a load of 200 kg / cm3.
Modern manufacturers have caught the upward trend in demand for porcelain stoneware and have already mastered manufacturing a material that resembles wood, stone, and leather in texture. When buying porcelain stoneware, pay attention to the drawing; usually, all elements are evenly distributed over the entire surface of porcelain stoneware. There are no foreign inclusions and depressions, cracks, and pebbles on the porcelain stoneware tiles that natural stone may have.
Porcelain stoneware, unlike tiles, can be laid on the porch, and the path in the garden is used as a floor and wall material, made from its countertops and even window sills. At the same time, you can be sure that during the repair you are investing for several decades, this is how long this reliable material will serve you.