On This Page:
- Difference Between Porcelain & Ceramic Tile
- Porcelain vs Ceramic
- Which is Better?
- Floor Tile Comparison Guide
Porcelain and ceramic tiles are often considered one in the same. However, there are significant differences in each tile’s porosity and makeup. Though both are made of clay baked in a kiln, that’s where their similarities end.
- Ceramic – made of red, white, or brown clay and kiln-fired at a lower temperature. It’s softer, more porous, less dense, and more affordable.
- Porcelain is a subtype of ceramic. It’s a blend of refined white clay, sand, and feldspar. They’re baked at a higher temperature, which decreases the water content within them. As a result, it’s harder, denser, less porous, and more expensive.
Wood-look tile comes in either material. Both types offer great beauty and design versatility. Refined materials make up porcelain tiles, making them harder, costlier, and more water-resistant than ceramic wood tile.Consult with a Tile Installation Professional
|Design & Colors||Versatile designs and textures||Equally as versatile|
|Porous||More porous||Denser material|
|Professional Installation||$60-$100 per hour||$60-$120 per hour|
|DIY Installation||Can be a DIY installation||Not a good material for DIY jobs|
|Durability & Strength||Weaker, more prone to damage and fading||Stronger, more resistant to damage and fading|
|Heat Resistance||Good heat-resistance||Can withstand higher temperatures|
|Waterproof/Water Resistance||Water-resistant||Resists moisture damage better|
|Stain Resistance||Captures more stains||More stain-resistant|
|Maintenance and repairs||Easier to repair||Harder to repair|
|Ease of cleaning||Requires more frequent deep cleaning||Less frequent deep cleaning|
|Resale Value/ ROI||Lower||Higher|
They can come in different colors, textures and designs. The main difference is in their quality and durability. Both come in countless colors and textures such as matte, terracotta, gloss, high-gloss, stutturato, brushed, wood-like, and more. Handmade tile that is custom painted is another beautiful option that makes unique flooring and backsplashes.
More porous because it’s baked at a lower temperature and the materials aren’t as refined.
Less porous due to its refined materials and higher kiln temperature during the manufacturing process.
The cost of standard residential-grade glazed tiles is between $3-$4/ square foot.
Costs about 60% more, or $4-$8/square foot.
The cost to install ceramic or porcelain tile averages at $1,750 per project. The typical range is between $870 and $2,700. Low-end jobs can be as affordable as $500 and high-end jobs costing up to $5,000. To find out how many tiles you’ll need for your upcoming project, use our ceramic tile calculator.
- The cost of layering ceramic tile is around $60-$100 per hour.
- Installing 100 square feet of tile requires 13 hours, resulting in $800-$1,300 in labor.
- Easier to cut and install because tile is softer and cut with a standard saw.
- The cost of labor is around $60-$120 per hour.
- Applying 100 square feet of tile takes around 13 hours, which results in $800-$1,500 in labor.
- Difficult to cut with anything but a diamond saw and fit because the tile is hard.
- Relatively easy to cut, work with, and apply.
- Harder to cut, heavier, and difficult to work with.
- Professional installation is necessary.
Each tile differs in its ability to handle foot traffic, moisture, and impacts. For more information, check out the complete guide to ceramic tile grades, with level 1 being the weakest and 5 the strongest.
- Ranges in strength grades 1-4, so more durable versions are available.
- Glazed versions have higher level of protection against wear and tear.
- Can last 10-20 years.
- Lower-grade versions chip and scratch more easily.
- Absorbs spills and stains faster.
- Chipped tiles will reveal the clay underneath the glaze.
- Not suited for outdoor use.
- Highly scratch, chip, and stain-resistant.
- Resists spills well.
- Good-quality versions can last for over 20 years.
- Resistant to acids, heat, and UV rays.
- Strong as grade 5.
- Though strong, it’s not impervious to impacts and can crack.
- Heat-resistant but not heat proof.
- Extreme heat can damage the surface and cause it to crack.
- Shape may also change when exposed to extreme heat.
- Less likely to crack when exposed to extreme heat.
- Ceramic: High absorption rate due to its porosity.
- Porcelain: Low absorption rate.
- Ceramic: Absorbs more stains because it’s softer and less dense.
- Porcelain: Highly resistant because it’s harder and denser.
The national average cost to repair ceramic or porcelain tile is around $450, with the typical range between $230-$660.
- Easier to fix.
- Sealing unglazed or crackle-glazed tile is necessary and costs between $90-$140 per 100 square feet.
- Removing ceramic tile adds to costs when cracked tiles need replacing.
- Usually doesn’t require sealing.
- Repair process is more difficult because it’s harder to cut and shape.
- Sweep or vacuum twice a week.
- Requires weekly deep cleaning with a mop.
- Sweep or vacuum twice a week.
- Requires a monthly deep cleaning with either a mop or brush scrub.
Though it’s hard to find facilities that recycle either material, both are environmentally-friendly. They’re equally low in VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and can be recycled into roads, artwork, and new tiles.
Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are desirable for backsplashes and flooring for their timeless look and durability compared to other flooring and mosaic alternatives. However, since porcelain has a higher price tag and shelf life, it is more likely to offer you a better return on your investment.
Which material is right for your next home improvement project? Here are some useful facts.
The best tile for kitchen floors is a toss-up. Ceramic is a more affordable option but requires more frequent upkeep. Porcelain is the costlier option but requires less upkeep and stress over spills and stains. It’s up to the homeowner what they prefer.
The pros and cons of porcelain and ceramic tiles differ when you examine them in different categories.
The best tile for your bathroom and shower walls is porcelain. It’s highly water-resistant and made to handle wet and humid conditions. For more information, check the guide on what to expect with your tiling project.
A good material for countertops is either sealed ceramic or porcelain. Though porcelain is the stronger material, sealed ceramic can also work as an excellent countertop because it’s strong, attractive, and durable. The same rule goes for sinks because they require a water-resistant material.
The better tile for basement flooring is porcelain. In fact, any room that’s prone to flooding and moisture damage should have a water-resistant floor. Porcelain’s high water-resistance, strength, and low porosity enable it to perform well in humid and wet conditions.
Ceramic wall tiles make the best decorative backsplash where there won’t be much contact with moisture. They’re more affordable and offer the same design variety as high-end options. The average cost to install a backsplash is $950, but a low-end ceramic tile backsplash can cost as little as $25 per square foot.Not sure where to start when looking for a tiler?
|Porcelain||As hard as granite||Expensive|
|Ceramic||Affordable||Not great ROI for cheaper versions|
|Vinyl||As hard as granite||Expensive|
|Natural Stone||Good ROI||Varied levels of durability and porosity|
|Laminate||Cheaper wood alternative||Not good for wet areas|
|Linoleum||Eco-Friendly||Can turn yellow when exposed to sunlight|
|Terracotta||Attractive natural variation||Porous|