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The Difference between Ceramic Tile and Porcelain Tile, Part 2

By TileExperts on Nov 29 in Custom Tile.

Arizona is a popular state for tile installations, whether inspired by southwest architecture, classic design, or something altogether unique. Homes and businesses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ, often feature decorative tile installation referred to as “ceramic tile” regardless of the type of tile used. That is not wrong because, technically, porcelain tile is a subset of the more general ceramic tile.

The previous post covered the makeup and features of ceramic tile. Though the term “ceramic tile” is often used to describe any type of tile that is not stone and not glass, there is actually a distinct difference between ceramic tile and porcelain tile.

Porcelain tiles are chiefly composed of sand; the more finely ground the sand, the finer the porcelain texture. The porcelain tile creation process involves more pressure and much higher heat than for ceramic tiles. The resulting tile is dense, smooth, and virtually non-porous even before it is glazed.

As with ceramic tiles, a design layer is applied to porcelain tiles that include glazing over paint or other artistic additions. The glazes themselves can vary in color and thickness, and they determine the finished look of the tile. Finished porcelain tiles are quite strong, resisting breakage even better than ceramic tiles. They are also resistant to scratches, scorches, and odors, and they stand up well to high traffic as well as moisture.

Porcelain tile’s density makes them harder than regular ceramic tiles, which means harder to cut and sometimes harder to install. Professional tile installers can easily work with either type of tile, though do-it-yourselfers may want to stick with ceramic tiles.

Either porcelain tiles or ceramic tiles could be used in most tile projects, so choosing a tile should be based more on color, size, and overall effect. An experienced tile installation company can make recommendations for your individual project about whether one type of tile is preferable to another.