Porcelain verses Ceramic Tiles – Which is best for you?

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Both ceramic and porcelain tiles add a beautiful and durable surface to kitchens, bathrooms, laundries, entryways, main floors and more. We have put together the key points on both ceramic and porcelain to help you make the right decision when selecting a tile for your home.

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are an ideal choice as they are extremely durable, easy to clean, and resistant to water, stains, and daily family wear. Tiles has become very popular in recent years due to the technology used, they come in a vast range of colours, textures, patterns and shapes. They can mimic real natural stone or a timber and they work so work well on both walls and floors.

What is the Difference Between Ceramic Tile and Porcelain Tile?

For many people if you ask them which one was which many wouldn’t be able to tell you as it can be difficult to tell them apart. Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are made with very similar materials and processes, but there are definitely slight differences between the two types. As a general rule , a porcelain tile is harder than ceramic and offers greater design flexibility. Although both are made from clay and other naturally occurring materials fired in a kiln, the clay used to make porcelain tile is more refined and purified. It’s fired at a higher temperature and greater pressure, resulting in an extremely dense and hard material.

Porcelain is proving to be a long-wearing material and due to its low moisture absorption rate so it is less likely to crack and has less chance of staining. The thing to remember is not all porcelain tiles are created equal so ensure you know where they are manufactured

Types of Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tiles come in a variety of forms that are best suited for different uses. Of course all tiles feel hard, but some tiles are actually harder than others. The body of a tile, sometimes called the bisque or biscuit, is produced to meet a specific need so it can vary based on its application . Although thickness is one of gauges of strength the temperature used for the firing can affect the quality and in turn the strength. . So to assist in choosing the right tile check the tiles rating.

Hardness ratings are as follows:

  • Class 0: no traffic. This type of tile is suitable for use on walls only and should not be installed on floors
  • Class 1: light duty. These ceramic or porcelain tiles work best in areas that receive very light wear, such as residential bathrooms where bare feet and no abrasive dirt is ( no direct access to outside)
  • Class 2: regular duty These tiles are designed for use in interiors where little abrasion occurs and soft soled footwear or bare feet are used.
  • Class 3: medium-heavy duty This variety of ceramic and porcelain can typically be used anywhere inside a home, including kitchens and bathrooms, corridors, balconies and main living areas.
  • Class 4: heavy duty These tiles are very hard and can be used in homes or in light to medium commercial areas.
  • Class 5: extra-heavy duty These tiles can be used anywhere but are typically found in stores and other commercial spaces that receive heavy foot traffic.

How to Choose Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

If you have decided on using a porcelain tile, if you can use a colour through version as this is the highest quality. Some tiles only have a ceramic glaze fired over the body so if they get chipped the tan or clay base will become visible.

Porcelain also offers a great range when it comes to design. Due to its strength it allows it to be manufactured into different shapes and sizes from mosaics to large format tiles. It can also be rectified which means all the tiles are cut to a precise size and are identical allowing the layer to lay out extremely tight grout lines.

Ceramic tiles still have their place and there is a wonderful range to chose from so don’t feel pressured to have porcelain if budget doesn’t permit. A great quality ceramic tile is better than a cheap import porcelain tile. If the budget does permit then a good quality porcelain will last and will make a stunning statement to you project.

Tiles continue to rise in popularity and there is definitely not a shortage to choose from – just obtain the information you need before you make a decision. It will be worth the time and effort

Catherine x


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