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Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile

All porcelain tiles are ceramic but not all ceramic tiles are porcelain. Confused yet? Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the differences between these two popular and versatile floor tiles.

The difference between the two types of tile is in how each one is “baked” or glazed. It gets pretty technical, so here’s what you need to know: both products are made from fired clay. Both can be glazed and both can be colored and painted. The difference is mostly in their durability and density. Now, don’t be fooled by their names: in most cases, porcelain is denser, harder and more durable than ceramic tile. It typically lasts longer and is used in commercial applications because it can stand up to more foot traffic. Porcelain’s hardness also allows it to be cut more precisely, using something called rectified edges. This means the corners are sharper and crisper on porcelain, and also means you can have thinner grout lines, since the edges are more precise. It gives an overall neat, tidy appearance that many favor. Of course, with all those advantages come some drawbacks: porcelain tile is usually more expensive than its ceramic counterparts.

That’s not to say ceramic can’t be a great flooring product; it absolutely can, in the right space. True, ceramic tile needs a slighter wider grout line because it won’t be quite as perfectly square as a porcelain tile, but wide grout can be a fantastic fashion choice for many. Ceramic tiles also takes on bright colors and can be a spectacular addition to your home. However, most ceramic tiles should not be used outdoors or in un-heated spaces. If you’re considering using tile outside, especially here in Indianapolis, make sure you’re using a porcelain tile which is rated for exterior use. When installed properly, these porcelain tiles are known as “frost proof” and can withstand freezing temperatures with ease. Don’t make the mistake of installing unrated ceramic tile outside; you’ll be sorry.

Ultimately, whether or not ceramic or porcelain tile is right for you has to do with the kind of look and the kind of use you want for your flooring. If you need tile that can handle heavy traffic and outdoor temperatures, and which is cut precisely, you’ll want porcelain tile. If you’re in a lower traffic area or need to contain cost, ceramic tile is a great value that offers a luxurious look.

Still not sure which tile product is right for you? Contact Tish Flooring, an Indianapolis flooring company. We’ll bring samples directly to your home and really talk to you about your needs and wants so you get the very best product possible.