Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are popular for their beauty and the unmatched elegance they give to a house. However, people often get confused when they have to choose between these two types of tiles. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are however, not very different. In fact, a porcelain tile can be considered a special type of ceramic tile. The main difference between these two types of tiles lies in the manufacturing process, and the type of clay used in their production.
The Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
Ceramic tiles are made from clay (that contain kaolinite mineral), quartz, sand, and ferrous materials. After crushing these ingredients by various methods, and cutting the resultant product into a proper shape, it is burned in a kiln at a very high temperature. This process removes moisture and helps the material crystallize. This makes ceramic tiles very hard and durable.
The relative hardness of the different types of ceramic tiles depends on the duration of heating, as well as the temperature to which they are heated. The main difference between porcelain and ceramic tiles is that porcelain tiles are made from a clay known as 'porcelain clay', that is more refined and purified than the clay used for manufacturing ceramic tiles. The other difference is that porcelain clay contains a higher proportion of kaolinites, a silicate mineral.
Moreover, porcelain tiles are heated at a higher temperature and for a longer duration, as compared to ceramic tiles. Therefore, they are harder and denser than ceramic tiles. Both ceramic and porcelain tiles come in two forms - glazed and unglazed. The glazed ceramic tiles are a bit slippery than the unglazed ones, and they are more suitable for wall applications. On the other hand, glazed porcelain tiles are less porous and require low maintenance than the unglazed tiles.
Porcelain tiles are less porous with a water absorption rate of less than 0.5 %. So, they can be considered almost impervious, and their resistance to moisture makes them suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications. Porcelain tiles are frost-resistant and so, they can withstand cold weather or climate. The only disadvantage is that they are hard to cut and maintain. On the other hand, ceramic tiles are durable and can be maintained easily. They are less expensive than porcelain tiles, and are also resistant to fire, chemicals, and stains. But as compared to porcelain tiles, they are less resistant to scratches and cracks.
While choosing a tile, you have to consider its suitability for a particular use. So, your decision should be based on the specific need, like whether you are going to use the tiles on walls, for flooring, or for indoor or outdoor applications. You also need to compare their relative hardness, durability, and the resistance to wear and tear. For this, you can take the help of PEI ratings, which can give you an idea about the suitability of a number of tiles for some specific uses.