3 Key Differences between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

The debate of whether to use porcelain or ceramic tiles has been ongoing for a while, but is the difference really that huge or is this just a war of words?

Many consumers tend to use these two terms interchangeably assuming they’re the same thing. It’s completely understandable to mix these two up or think of them as the same thing since they are mainly used for the same type of applications. The installation process is also the same for both of these and they have the same drawbacks and merits as both a type of flooring and wall surface material.

However, the stores claim there are a number of huge differences between these two commonly used flooring materials. Some may emphasise the difference to justify the higher prices, reputation, and cachet of porcelain, but that varies from store to store. So, is there really a difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

As you may already know, there are so many different types of tiles and ceramic and porcelain fall under one of the largest categories that is commonly referred to as ceramics. This category includes all of the rigid tiles shaped from natural earthen clays and later hardened with heat. It is important to mention that within the modern industry porcelain tiles have a category of their own due to certain specifications they meet.

Here, you’ll be able to learn more about these types of tiles, what their differences are and how to choose between them for your home.

What are Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles?

Firstly, both ceramic and porcelain tiles have a similar manufacturing process. They are both made from baking clay. However, the main difference lies in their durability and density.

On one hand, porcelain tiles are fired at higher temperatures and for a longer time. This manufacturing process makes them denser and more durable. One of the best advantages of that is that porcelain tiles are completely water-resistant.

On the other hand, ceramic tiles are more delicate. Because they are less porous, they will easily absorb water.

While the above-mentioned differences are related to how ceramic and porcelain tiles are made the following are the three main differences regarding their appearance, use, and cost:

1. Appearance of Porcelain vs. Ceramic

The first thing on the list is the appearance. The great thing about today’s technology is that both of these types of tiles can be made in any pattern and colour you can imagine.

With porcelain tiles, the designs or colours used are carried through the entire tile body. That way, if the tiles get chipped, the damage won’t be obvious. On the other hand, colours and designs get directly printed on the surface of ceramic tiles and they are protected with a specific kind of glaze. The drawback is that if your tiles get chipped the damage will be noticeable since the body of the tile has a different colour than the surface.

2. Cost of Porcelain vs. Ceramic

Both porcelain and ceramic tiles are more affordable options compared to some other renovation materials. The price difference between these two is mostly affected by the density. For that reason, porcelain tiles are usually more expensive.

3. Uses of Porcelain vs. Ceramic Tile

Lastly, porcelain and ceramic tiles can differ in the way we use them. Since ceramic tiles are more delicate they are usually used for surfaces that don’t really have such an excessive traffic. A wide range of designs and colours available for ceramic tiles also makes them perfect for kitchen back splashes and accent walls.

On the other hand, porcelain tiles are more durable. You can even use them for your exterior walls. They’re perfect for flooring, both outdoors and indoors, and countertops. Most people use this type of material for bathroom and living room flooring since porcelain can withstand high foot traffic.

Ceramic Tile Upkeep and Maintenance

It’s also useful to mention how these two types of tiles need to be maintained. For ceramic tiles all you need is a bit of discipline. All you need to do is either vacuum or sweep your tiles once a week to clear the way and make mopping so much easier of a task. Then, use a mild dish detergent and mix it with hot water. Use a string mop to clean your tiles from one end to another.  Make sure you dry the area with a microfiber cloth or a towel.

Porcelain Tile Upkeep and Maintenance

One thing about porcelain tiles is that they are extremely forgiving when it comes to scratches, spills, and similar kinds of damage. These types of tiles are hard to damage and they are so easy to clean. Depending on how much traffic they get, sweep or vacuum your porcelain tiles once or twice a week. Once a month, use a tile-friendly cleaner or a vinegar and water solution to remove dirt build-up on your tiles.

If you opted for glazed porcelain tiles, make sure you’re using a mop. If your porcelain tiles are unglazed or have textured surface, then use a soft bristle brush to scrub your tiles. You also need to be careful about what cleaning products you’re using. Avoid oil-based products, abrasive scrubbers, waxes, and any cleaning products that contain ammonia or bleach.

Lastly, rinse out your tiles with hot water and then use a microfiber cloth or a towel to dry them. You can also find a lot of useful tutorials online showing you how to clean your porcelain tiles in the most efficient way.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tile

Consider all of the above-listed differences and weigh the pros and cons of both ceramic and porcelain tiles. Think about how important durability is to you. Do you need tiles for flooring or the walls? Does the flooring area have excessive foot traffic? How much time and energy will you put into maintaining these? All of these factors will help you pick the best choice for your home.


Overall, both ceramic and porcelain tiles have amazing advantages. A few drawbacks they have may not be as big of a deal depending on where you decide to install the tiles. All in all, they are both amazing options that come at a reasonable price and will make your interior design absolutely stunning with their versatile colours and patterns.

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