Ceramic Tile

Ceramic Tile Flooring & Installation



Whether you are looking for ceramic tiles for your backsplash, your kitchen floor, your shower walls, or your back porch, Michaels Flooring has a wide selection to meet every application.

Our suppliers include:

  • Olympia
  • Ceratec
  • Sarana
  • Midgley West
  • Centura

One of the most common questions we are asked is “what’s the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?” In order to choose the best tile for your application, knowing the difference is important.

Ceramic Tiles have characteristics such as:

Dark red or brown back with a fine glaze over them. They are fired at a lower temperature which means they can be more brittle and contain only a surface glaze. However, there are many good quality ceramic tiles with a PEI rating of three or four that can provide excellent durability. They will have a higher absorption rate of water which means they cannot go into areas where temperatures fluctuate such as outdoors or unheated porches or cabins.

PEI Ratings

(Strength ratings by the Porcelain Enamel Institute)

  • A ‘2’ rating is for walls only and cannot have any foot traffic. Absolutely cannot use outdoors.
  • A ‘3’ rating is residential low traffic and can be used on walls as well. Always check to see if it is a wall tile or floor tile so you are putting it in the appropriate area. Absolutely cannot use outdoors.
  • A ‘4’ rating or higher is an excellent quality that can be installed in heavy traffic areas and has little absorption of water, perfect for the kitchen flooring. There usually are not as many patterns or colours to choose from and you are generally paying more money for the quality. You cannot put ceramic tiles outdoors.

The main advantage of ceramic tile is usually the price, being lower than porcelain or natural stone and it is much easier to score and break rather than running a wet saw.


Some telltale signs to look for to determine an impervious (porcelain) tile:

  • Look for the little specs on the ‘bisque’ porcelain
  • “Full-bodied” porcelains will have the color going all the way through the tile
  • Look for a stamp called ‘Porcellanato’ on the back or on the carton (this is the Italian word for porcelain)
  • If the stamp says ‘monocoturra’ it is not porcelain
  • The color of the clay body (bisque) is lighter in color

Porcelain tiles are fired at a very high temperature enabling a high solids content. Some porcelains are full-bodied meaning the color of the tile is solid throughout. Other porcelains include a porcelain bisque with an altered surface appearance as well as a porcelain body that has been glazed. For a tile to be considered impervious (porcelain) by ANSI standards it must have an absorption rate of less than 0.5%. The low absorption rate makes porcelain up to six times more frost resistant than a vitreous tile. Therefore outdoor applications are possible. Porcelain also has superior chip resistance making it stronger and more durable in most cases than granite. Applications in high traffic areas or kitchen countertops are no problem at all. Many porcelains offer the appearance of natural stone without maintenance.

Michael’s Flooring services residential and commercial customers throughout the Niagara Falls area. Learn more about our flooring experts and contact us today to determine if porcelain or ceramic tile floorings are better for you