What is the difference between Porcelain vs Ceramic Tiles?

One of the big design dilemmas in choosing tiles is whether to pick ceramic or porcelain.

Although they both look very similar, they have differences. The main difference is that porcelain tiles are denser and less porous than ceramic tiles. This means that porcelain tile is stronger and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use depending on the grade. Ceramic tiles are only recommended for interior walls and floors, but porcelain tiles are a more popular choice for floors that may have more traffic like kitchens, hallways and even commercial uses. Porcelain tiles are more resistant to scratching and chipping. The two types of porcelain tiles include through-body porcelain and glazed porcelain. Through-body porcelain is a tile that has no glaze which means the color/design is the same throughout. Glazed porcelain tile is manufactured with a glaze that is applied to the face of the tile.porcelain-vs-ceramic-tiles

Manufacturing differences

Ceramic tiles are made from natural clay with a durable glaze; the biscuit of the tile is baked to reduce water content. Next the design is added to the same biscuit before it’s baked again in a kiln at a high temperature.

Porcelain tiles are also made from natural clay but of a denser nature, finely ground sand is also added into the manufacturing mix. This mixture is then pressed and fired at a much higher temperature than ceramic tiles, and also for longer to remove almost all of the water content.

PEI Ratings

The Porcelain Enamel Institute rating (PEI rating) is a great tool to help you determine the recommended application for a tile. All tiles are classified with a PEI rating and the scale is as follows:

PEI 0 – No foot traffic (wall tile only)

PEI 1 – Very light traffic (e.g. bathroom)

PEI 2 – Light traffic (e.g. bathroom and bedroom)

PEI 3 – Light to moderate traffic (e.g. most domestic floors)

PEI 4 – Moderate to heavy traffic (e.g. entrance, hallway, kitchen, balcony and some commercial applications)

PEI 5 – Heavy traffic (all domestic/commercial uses with heavy abrasion/footfall)

Most ceramic floor tiles will carry a PEI rating from 3 to 4 with porcelain tiles ranging from PEI 3 to 5.

Carr Stone & Tile Advise

Choose a tile that will work with your home, family, and lifestyle. The design of the tile is up to you and your personal style desires. Be careful though to make sure that you get a tile that has a PEI rating that will meet your personal usage needs. If you have questions or want to see some selections, call Carr Stone & Tile and we will help you find the tile of your dreams.