Should You Choose Ceramic Tiles Over Porcelain ?


“I’m thinking of changing my Kitchen, Entry and Bathroom floors, do I use Ceramic or Porcelain tiles?”

“My friends advise me that Ceramic tiles will chip and crack, and Porcelain will not?”

Some of the things customers ask of us when the process of deciding to purchase new flooring for Kitchens, Bathrooms, and Entries begins.  First though, we need to know the difference between, Ceramic and Porcelain tiles.

Ceramic tiles are generally made from a clay base or a mixture of clay with other materials added, finished with a hard glaze which carries the colour and pattern,  they are then Kiln fired, much the same as you would fire a coffee cup or a vase at a ceramic class.  The clay is usually red or white.  My experience has been, the redder the clay base the less expensive and less durable the tile, this is only my experience.  I have found that generally the greyer the bisque(or clay) the more durable the tiles.  These tiles can be used on both the floor and wall.  If you chip them, you will usually see the clay bisque, as the colour will come off with the chipped glaze.


Ceramic Tiles or Porcelain?


Ceramic tiles are generally a softer product, that cuts easier, and has a higher water absorbtion rate, and should not be used outside, or in conditions that may freeze.

Porcelain tiles are generally made by what is known as the dust pressed method from porcelain clay.  This results in a denser tile, impervious, fine grained and generally smooth.

Porcelain tiles can be crafted to look more like natural stones, and come glazed or unglazed, have a lower water absorbtion rate and are extremely durable.  Some Porcelain tiles are classed as frost proof, with a water absorbtion rate of less than o.5%.  These can be used  outdoors on porches, walkways, sunrooms etc., and unglazed are recommended.

Most consumers are under the impression that Porcelain tiles have the colour all the way through so that if they chip, you cannot tell.  This is only true in what we call a full body Porcelain tile, which are generally more expensive than regular Porcelain tiles.


Ceramic Tiles Can Contain Slightly Larger or Slightly Smaller Tiles in Each Run


This may mean a slighter larger grout line than you may wish.  This is because during the firing, some tiles contain more mositure than others and dry differently. I have found that in general Porcelain tiles are more consistant in size.

So which is it, Ceramic or Porcelain?  It’s really up to you.  Ceramic is generally less expensive, and you may not like the look of Porcelain.

Porcelain tiles seem to me to be more varied, and some have that natural stone look without the expense and maintainence.

Remember though,  it’s all in the installation(something we’ll talk about another day) and other than outdoors, or in a commercial application, it really shouldn’t matter which tile you choose.

At Michael’s Carpet & Flooring we have a great selection of tiles to suit any need and fit into any budget.

Happy decorating.

Michaels Flooring