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What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in Design & Trends, Renovation, Variety

When it comes to choosing a tile material for your next renovation project, it can be overwhelming when presented with so many choices. Slate, vinyl, marble, porcelain, glass and ceramic can all be available, though the natural stone options may be out of your budget.

For a lower cost, you’ll often find plenty of ceramic and porcelain tiles to choose from. At first glance, they will seem very similar. Before you make any purchases or decisions, you should know what the differences are between ceramic and porcelain tiles. Talk to your contractor or a commercial tile company like Lesso (http://lessocommercial.com.au/) to get more details.

The Material

Firstly, what is the difference in the actual material itself? Well, both ceramic and porcelain are very similar as they are both made from natural clay that has been fired until hard. The difference is in the kind of clay used.

Ceramic uses any variety of earthenware clay, but porcelain uses a much finer clay known as kaolin. It has a smoother grain to it, tends to be more translucent when fired and is a denser material overall when compared to “plain” ceramics.

In general, porcelain tiles will be more expensive than other forms of ceramic, but usually still less than marble or slate. It’s a great compromise on cost and quality.

How to Choose

You may not immediately see the importance of knowing which tile has a finer grain structure, so what you need to know is how these differences actually impact your renovation choices.

The higher level of density in porcelain makes it a tougher and more durable product. If you have a lot of traffic in your kitchen or bathroom (particularly with children), this can be the more practical choice.

You should keep in mind that just because porcelain is tougher than ceramic, that doesn’t mean all porcelain tiles are suitable for outdoor use. You’ll still want to purchase any tile products that are specifically designed as indoor/outdoor.

One other positive factor with porcelain tiles is that their color goes all the way through the product. Ceramic is usually terra cotta color, and then glazed in a selection of colors. That means if the tile cracks or gets even a small chip, it will be quite noticeable (especially in light color tiles). On the other hand porcelain is made by tinting clay itself before firing, so the color is present through the entire material. Chips are a lot less visible.

Lastly, the finer grain of the tile means that it naturally absorbs less water. This can be a great benefit for any tiles that are going in the bathroom (especially the shower). Granted, most ceramic tiles are glazed to prevent water absorption but any small cracks or chips in that glaze will mean the tile can soak up water, something that can’t happen with porcelain.

So, the bottom line is that porcelain tiles will cost more than ceramic but they are more durable and water-resistant. You can probably find tiles in either material that will match any decor choices you are making, so that shouldn’t be a restriction.




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