When time comes to choose what type of flooring to use in your project, the unbelievable large selection of colors, patterns, texture and material can be overwhelming. Flooring is one of the most important considerations and it can make a huge difference.
Whether the area in question is high traffic, prone to moisture, below grade, or to be installed over radiant heat, “ceramic tile” is always a great option to consider. Ceramic and Porcelain tiles are the most common tiles and are the ones that confuse consumers the most. Although Glass Tile has made a comeback in recent years, it is apparently less confusing because of the common knowledge most people have of the product.
For the similarities between Ceramic and Porcelain tiles we can point out that both are:
- Stain resistant
- Scratch resistant
- Fire resistant
- Won’t fade from sun light
- Easy to clean
- Resist odor absorption
- Does not support allergens or bacteria
Both Ceramic and Porcelain tiles can be glazed or non-glazed. Glazed tile is very durable, and when properly installed and cared for, it will last longer than any non-tile material used for the same purpose. When coated with a Grade III or higher glaze, ceramic tile is highly resistant to scratching and moisture. The tile rating from the PEI classification (Porcelain Enamel Institute) ranges from 0 (lightest traffic) to 5 (highest traffic) and classifies both Ceramic and Porcelain tiles in terms of its best area of use:
Class 0: No foot traffic – Wall tile only and should not be used on floors.
Class 1: Very light traffic – Very low foot traffic, bare foot only (master ensuite, spa, bathroom).
Class 2: Light traffic – Slipper or soft-soled shoes (second level main bathroom areas, bedrooms).
Class 3: Light to moderate traffic – Any residential area, with the possible exception of some entries and kitchens if extremely heavy or abrasive traffic is anticipated.
Class 4: Moderate to heavy traffic – High foot traffic areas where abrasive or outside dirt could be tracked (residential entry, kitchen, balcony, and counter top).
Class 5: Heavy traffic – Ceramic tile suggested for residential, commercial and institutional floor subjected to heavy traffic.
A common misconception about Porcelain tiles is that it has the same color through-out. Actually, only “unglazed” porcelain tiles have the characteristic. In this case if the tile is chipped, the color showing beneath the top layer will be the same throughout the thickness of the tile. Once the tile is glazed, whether ceramic or porcelain, the body under the glaze will never be exactly the same color or texture as the top layer.
For the differences between Ceramic and Porcelain tile we can point out that due to the difference in the material and the manufacturing process the Porcelain tile is denser and less porous, making it more water resistant and an excellent choice for areas like bathrooms or kitchens. Because of its higher density it tolerates higher loads making it a good option for higher traffic areas. Unglazed polished porcelains are virtually impossible to scratch. Its higher density also makes it extremely vitreous and a little more challenging to install. Because of its exceptional properties, porcelain has become the flooring of recent years. It is the most durable of the hard body tiles, 30% harder than granite.
When trying to decide which product would serve better, there is little difference between ceramic and porcelain tile. Expensive and inexpensive styles are available in both types, and with the correctly rated material for the area and use, there would be little, if any, difference in wear between the two.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter which type of tile you select, as long as you choose the properly rated tile for the intended used. Ceramic and porcelain are both great choices for finished surface for floor and wall. The real challenge begins when deciding which size, color and texture will look the best.