Ceramic vs Porcelain

Choosing Between Ceramic and Porcelain 

Installing tile in your home requires choosing from a number of materials, including ceramic and porcelain. Is one of the two better than the other? Do both wear the same? Can I use either ceramic or porcelain for any application? These may be questions that you are asking yourself as you prepare for your DIY project. Thankfully, we have the answers.

The Main Differences

Both porcelain and ceramic are natural clay products that are formed, baked, and fired. Porcelain is a more dense material thanks to the addition of sand to the clay formula. It is also harder and more durable because it is fired at a higher temperature and for a longer time. This removes almost all of the water from the final product.

The extra durability of porcelain means that it is a product that can be installed nearly anywhere. It works just as well in the kitchen and bathroom as it does in exterior spaces. However, porcelain is also more expensive than ceramic tile, and its also a lot harder to cut and drill through for fitting towel rails or lights. This may add to the cost of the project and may make ceramic tiles and better option for bathroom walls. If you are concerned about your budget, ceramic might be a better choice – especially for wall applications that will not have to endure a lot of punishment. We are talking bathroom and kitchen walls as well as splashbacks.

Two Porcelain Options

Nearly all ceramic tiles are manufactured using the same process. The original biscuit is pressed and fired, the colour or design is added, and then the biscuit is fired a second time. Porcelain tiles are a bit different.

There are two porcelain options to choose from, beginning with glazed porcelain. This sort of tile is completely white except for a glaze that is applied prior to firing. Glazed porcelain is less expensive, but it is also more prone to imperfections, chipping, and scratching.

Through-body porcelain is a product in which the colour is added when the clay and sand mixture is first created. This results in a tile that has consistent colour all the way through. It is more resistant to damage and when damage does occur it is harder to see.

PEI Ratings

Before purchasing ceramic or porcelain, you should take the time to understand PEI ratings. These ratings tell you how durable a product is and what its recommended uses are. The ratings are based on a system developed by the Porcelain Enamel Institute. They are as follows:

  • PEI 0 – zero foot traffic; only for wall applications
  • PEI 1 – very light traffic
  • PEI 2 – light traffic
  • PEI 3 – light to moderate traffic
  • PEI 4 – moderate to heavy traffic
  • PEI 5 – heavy traffic

If you are unsure about the PEI rating you need for your application, do not hesitate to ask. We offer ceramic and porcelain tiles suitable for any job in your home. We want to make sure your choice not only provides the beauty and functionality you are looking for, but the durability to last for as long as you own your home as well. 

Ceramic and porcelain tile offers you an inexpensive way to complete your wall and flooring projects with a product that is entirely different from paint, wallpaper, wood, and linoleum. Feel free to browse our entire selection of products to find one that is right for your job.

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