When it comes to choices in floor tile, you have more today than ever before. And with these choices comes some confusion about what these tiles are, how they are made, and what makes them different from one another. Two of the most confusing are ceramic and porcelain. Both are made of clay, and to be even more confusing, in pottery porcelain is a type of ceramic. There are some pretty big differences between the two as tiles though, which can make one or the other a better choice for your specific application.
What Is Ceramic Tile?
Ceramic tiles are made out of wet clay that has been extruded or pressed and cut into shape. They may be fired and then glazed and fired again, or they may be glazed and fired just once, also known as a monocutura tile.
Ceramic tiles always have a glaze on them, so if the tile were to chip, you would see the clay body underneath them. This glaze on the tiles is subject to something known as crazing, which means that tiny cracks can develop in it. If an unsealed crazed tile gets wet, the clay body underneath can absorb water and potentially stain.
Ceramic tiles come both for floor and wall use, and floor tiles may be strong enough and durable enough even for commercial use. Never use a wall tile on the floor; their glaze is not designed to be walked on.
What Is Porcelain Tile?
Porcelain tiles are made out of compressed clay dust that has been fired to extremely high temperatures, rendering the tile dense, non-porous, and extremely durable. The color of a porcelain tile goes right through from top to bottom, so if it were to chip, you would not notice a change in color in the surface.
Porcelain tiles can be glazed, but are often not. The surface of a porcelain tile can be smooth and matte, rough and textured, or polished to a high sheen. They never require sealing, and do not stain, scratch, or require special care, which makes them ideal for any application.
So while both tiles are made of clay, porcelain is much more durable and can be used for more applications than ceramic. Knowing the type of tile that will fit best with your lifestyle is a key part in decorating your home. We are happy to help you through the decision!