Whenever you consider renovating or remodeling a kitchen or bathroom there are dozens of choices to make and none is more confusing than choosing porcelain tile or ceramic tile. There are extremely attractive options in each category available to remodelers in Madison WI.
“Which is best for my bathroom?”
“What’s best for a new kitchen?”
“Can both be used on walls and floors?”
The Difference Between Porcelain Tile and Ceramic Tile
What is the difference between the two versions of tile and how do you determine which works best in your application?
Making it more complicated – porcelain is ceramic! Both types of tile are made by coating clay with a glaze and exposing them to extreme heat. The heat changes the chemistry of the clay and glaze, melting it into a glass-like coating.
The Tile Council of North America defines porcelain in terms of water absorption. Specifically, porcelain absorbs less than 0.5% of water. Ceramic and other non-porcelain options absorb more than 0.5% water.
Porcelain Tiles – Porcelain is a newer, increasingly more popular form of ceramic. These tiles are composed of fine porcelain clays and fired at much higher temperatures than ceramic counterparts.
The process makes the tiles stronger than ceramic alternatives and more water resistant, but the shiny glaze can also become slippery when wet. Available in glazed and non-glazed versions — non-glazed tiles have the clay color throughout, glazed have a color applied. Porcelain is harder, denser and will stand up to more abuse than most alternatives.
Ideal uses can include:
- In kitchens, bathrooms, mud rooms and laundry rooms
- Commonly used on floors, countertops and anywhere that is regularly exposed to water
Ceramic Tiles – these tiles are kiln-fired at lower temperatures so the result is a less dense, softer, more porous product. The clay used is less refined making it softer than and not nearly as durable as porcelain. Spills should be attended to quickly to avoid absorption into the tile – best to avoid unglazed ceramic options in areas like showers, mud rooms and laundries where there’s always a risk of an overflowing washing machine.
Traditional ceramic may also be easier to chip or crack. When the glaze is damaged the color of clay beneath can show through – these tiles are best for areas with moderate foot traffic.
The Pros and Cons of Ceramic vs Porcelain
Each of the tile options has its better points. Consider:
- Price – a ceramic choice is usually the lower cost option but a budget price doesn’t mean outdated. There’s a selection of ceramic alternatives that showcases the latest industry trends, including wood-look tile. You just need to make sure you have the budget set for the styles you are considering, we recommend using a budget app, this way each dollar in that budget is assigned to this specific task, this goes for any home improvement project.
- Installation – because of its denser makeup, porcelain is more difficult to install and requires specialized cutting tools
- Maintenance – Ceramic tile requires more attention to detail because it is more porous than porcelain. Porcelain tile is much more forgiving of spills and traffic so requires less daily maintenance.
- Tips to Prevent Damage: Use a sealer on unglazed tile and grout joints. Use products compatible with cleaning grout joints. After cleaning, rinse the entire area to remove cleaning solution residue.
NOTE: Wood-look tiles should be dusted regularly with a soft mop to prevent grime from building up in the texture and the grooves that make the tile look like wood. A tip for both ceramic and porcelain choices.
To help determine your best flooring options, contact Molony Tile, a source for unique, durable and elegant tile solutions in Madison WI and greater Dane county including Middleton, Waunakee, Verona, Fitchburg, McFarland, Oregon, Stoughton, Cottage Grove and Sun Prairie.
Call or email Molony Tile, 608-268-8453 for professional ceramic tile and porcelain tile products, sound advice and a selection of the latest tiles to expand your remodeling options in Madison WI.