When discussing floor tiles, some people tend to use the terms ceramic and porcelain interchangeably. This starts a thinking process that leads to errors in decision making and sometimes the wrong tile selection. Porcelain and ceramic tiles, whilst similar, are different, although they do – and this is where confusion is created – come from the same family – the ceramics family.
To begin with, the processes of manufacturing porcelain and ceramic tiles are different. Ceramic tiles are generally made from porous clays and the color, pattern and texture form a layer at the surface of the tile. Porcelain is made from denser clays with colors and patterns created within the tile, not just on the surface. Because porcelain tiles come from a denser clay and are hard pressed for much longer, they are harder, more durable, and well suited to all surfaces both inside and out.
In general, ceramic tiles don’t make great outdoor tiles, particularly in areas that are subject to extreme temperatures. Porcelain tiles can handle those temperature extremes without cracking or any loss of color or texture. Ceramic tiles can be easier to install as they are easier to cut and shape. Ceramic tiles are cheaper than porcelain tiles, however, the durability of porcelain often makes them a better investment.
When considering a new floor, talk to a tile expert. Ceramic and porcelain floor tiles are not the same, and there are some applications where ceramic tiles may not be your best option. Porcelain, on the other hand, can be used anywhere, including wet areas such as swimming pool edges and surrounds. The tile experts at Éco Dépôt can help you select the right tile for your next floor or wall project – listen to their advice before deciding between ceramic and porcelain tiles.