If you’re considering a tile project there’s a lot to understand. First up is the differences between porcelain tile and ceramic tile. Are there big differences? Do they really matter in your Madison WI home?
To the untrained eye all tile may look about the same. And porcelain and ceramics both belong to the same tile family. However, they are very different products. There are advantages and drawbacks to each depending upon how you want to use them.
The technical difference between the two is based upon the kind of clay used to create each one. It comes down to how the clay absorbs water, according to the Tile Council of North America. In general, porcelain absorbs less water than ceramic and other non-porcelain materials.
Compare Porcelain Tile And Ceramic Tile
These two most popular tile choices provide homeowners many options. When evaluating their uses, consider how they are alike and how they are different. Review elements like their basic makeup, available colors, durability and how easy they are to install.
Here are some basic comparisons to keep in mind:
What they’re made of —
- Porcelain – tiles created from refined “white” clay considered more pure than alternatives.
- Ceramic – common choices include red, brown and porous white clay that is less refined.
General appearance— both are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors.
- Porcelain –tiles baked throughout so they retain color and feature a glaze on top. The glaze can be either a matte or a gloss finish.
- Ceramic – tiles are just baked on the top. With surface designs and colors applied to the top and then covered with a glass-based glaze. The glaze can also be either matte or glossy.
Durability and versatility—
- Porcelain – these are the most versatile of the tiles because they do not absorb water easily. Therefor they are useful both indoors and outside where they stand up to liquid spills, stains, rain, ice and snow.
- Ceramic – because they are easier to damage ceramics are less attractive for use where water damage and staining is an issue. More decorative than utilitarian and not for any outdoor applications in Wisconsin.
Find The Porcelain Tile Advantage
Are you planning to redo a floor, wall or backsplash? Maybe the shower and area around the tub in the bathroom? Tile provides exceptionally rugged and attractive options. But, you want to be sure you’re choosing the best kind for your space, right? Begin by weighing the pros and cons of the two most common major tile groups – ceramic and porcelain.
Tiles in the porcelain category are actually a clay-based subcategory of ceramic – their cousins.
Porcelain creations are hardier and have color running through the entire thickness so they last longer and resist chipping. Additional advantages include:
- Porcelain is hard and dense so it resists damage and liquids – making it ideal for kitchens, bathroom, mud rooms and laundries.
- Because it’s thick and hard it also works well in high-traffic areas as flooring.
- Porcelain is forgiving around spills and scratches so it works well on countertops.
- It requires very little maintenance and no special treatments.
- Available in glazed and unglazed versions with many decorative textures.
While advantages seem to overshadow disadvantages there are drawbacks, including:
- Installation is more demanding than with some other options. Because the tile is dense and hard specialized cutting tools are necessary – a wet saw with a diamond blade. For a high-end result choose professional installation.
- Porcelain choices are usually more expensive than other options. If you’re looking for a weekend project to do on your own, cost plus more difficult installation makes them less DIY-friendly.
Find A Ceramic Tile Advantage
Ceramics are less dense, “softer” and more porous than porcelain counterparts but no less attractive in your Madison home. Ceramic is not as physically well-built as some options but it fits many decorative and functional plans. Consider it’s advantages:
- Less costly than porcelain.
- Easier to install as a DIY project.
- Attractive, clean lines with durable glaze finishes.
- Many colors and patterns from which to choose.
The inherent drawbacks with ceramic creations include:
- They’re very absorbent so less than ideal where water and spills are common.
- Ceramics require regular deep cleaning.
- The softer surface is more likely to chip or crack – when it does the clay below the glaze shows through.
- Ceramic floors are often cold and because they are less rugged, best suited for low-traffic conditions.
‘What If’ Choices Between These Options
Molony Tile is the area’s leading supplier of tile and tile-related products. Its experts are ready to help you choose the right materials, sizes, shapes and colors. They’re provide all the expert advice, tools and materials you need to do the job on your own, or they’ll come in and do it for you. As you evaluate all the options, consider the following “what if” situations shared by professionals from around the country…
You have a room that’s often very humid – laundry room, bathroom with large, walk-in shower. What’s the best tile for this space?
First choice: porcelain is a no-brainer for anywhere moisture is a concern. However, ceramics do have a place in bathroom showers and bathroom floors they just need a lot more care.
You’re a DIYer on a budget, what tile is the best for an amateur?
First choice: Ceramics – not all porcelain options are high priced but ceramics are usually less expensive. Ceramics are easier to work with, cut and install on floors and walls.
You have a high-traffic area that gets more than its share of dirt, debris and moisture, what tile makes sense?
First choice: porcelain – both forms of tile work in high-traffic areas and are better choices than hardwoods, laminates or carpet. Porcelain is dense and resists scuffs and scratches. Through-body tiles have color all the way throughout. Hallways and entryways are excellent spaces for tile floors. Homes with children and pets are ideal candidates, too. As the kitchen moved into the role of “family hub” kitchen tile floor options expanded, too.
Your Porcelain Tile And Ceramic Tile Source
When it comes to making the most from popular tiles both do-it-yourself and professional installations have supporters. A positive result can be achieved either way. A lot depends upon the kind of tile you choose and the scope of the project. When it comes to choosing between ceramic and porcelain options the main difference come down to two elements: the tile’s strength and durability and its reaction to moisture.
With these elements as a foundation additional choices include colors, sizes, shapes and textures. Take a close look at the daily use of your space. You want the best for your family and the most cost-effective solution, right?
There are advantages of both ceramic and porcelain tile, as well as drawbacks. Will your family be hard on the surface? Is the area often wet? Do you want to commit to more than simple, routine maintenance? All these questions should be answered before committing to a choice.
When you’re ready to take the next step, call upon Molony Tile to explore every option. Our experienced, skilled professionals have been providing tile for high-quality jobs in the Madison area for more than 70 years. We’ve seen it all from new construction to remodeling – and stepping in to salvage DIY projects gone wrong!
Whether you want to take on the installation yourself or are looking for a professional partner you’ll get the support you’ll need at Molony Tile. Call 608-268-8453 or email us to see how our installation pros can show you how to choose between porcelain tile, ceramic tile and all the other options for your Madison WI home.