Porcelain vs. Ceramic for your Home Remodel

If you’ve ever built a new home or been involved in a home remodeling project, you have most likely heard people discuss porcelain and ceramic tiles. You might be surprised to learn that these tiles have a long and somewhat dramatic history.

Throughout history, much time, money, controversy, and even politics have fueled debates surrounding porcelain and ceramic tiles.

While both porcelain and ceramic tiles are made from a clay substance, they are not the same. The difference between them comes from the way they are made, and the type of clay and other ingredients used to make them.

Generally speaking, porcelain is a higher-end product that costs more to produce, which results in higher costs. In the past, some distributors have tried to make extra money by claiming their tile was porcelain when in fact, it was not.

This caused a lot of controversy, as people didn’t know if the tile they were getting was actually the tile they were paying for. Both manufacturers and distributors wanted to be sure the product they were buying and selling was “true porcelain.” So, they created a group.

The group is called the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA). This group monitors and labels the different types of tiles. A PTCS seal of approval means the tile has passed the tests and is, in fact, true porcelain.

If you are in the market for tile but can’t decide between porcelain and ceramic, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will compare and contrast the two different types of tiles, which will hopefully help you decide which type is best for your project.

1. Composition

Porcelain Ceramic
Porcelain is made of highly dense clay and other natural materials that are fired at a higher temperature and for a longer time than ceramic. Porcelain is the same color all throughout the tile unless you opt for a glazed top. The clay and natural materials used to create ceramic tiles consist of larger particles. Premature wear and cracking can occur because of this. Chips or scratches on this type of tile are much easier to spot since the colors in ceramic tiles are not uniform.


2. Cost

Porcelain Ceramic
Because of the manufacturing process, especially if it is PTCA certified, porcelain tile is typically more expensive than ceramic tile. If you want high-end porcelain tiles, the cost will be up to 60% higher than ceramic.

However, if you aren’t concerned with certification, you can often find porcelain tile in a similar price range as ceramic. Just be aware that some discrepancies may still exist among manufacturers and distributors.

Generally speaking, ceramic tile is typically less expensive than its counterpart. In fact, this type of tile flooring costs less than other options, such as wood or carpet. This makes ceramic tile a good option for many homeowners, as it can fit within most budgets.


3. Installation

Porcelain Ceramic
Because of its dense nature, porcelain tile can be difficult to cut without cracking or chipping. If you are installing the tile yourself, you will need a wet saw and a specific type of blade. If you are hiring someone to install it, be aware that the installation cost may be higher with this type of tile. Ceramic tile is easier to install due to being softer and less dense than porcelain. This type of tile is more DIY-friendly, and you simply need a tile cutter to make clean cuts.


4. Maintenance

Porcelain Ceramic
To keep porcelain tile shining, you need to regularly sweep and mop with a vinegar and water mixture. Porcelain is remarkably stain-resistant, making it a breeze to maintain. To keep porcelain tile shining, you need to regularly sweep and mop with a vinegar and water mixture. Porcelain is remarkably stain-resistant, making it a breeze to maintain. Although ceramic is also stain-resistant, it is more porous, so spills need to be wiped up as soon as possible. Cleaning ceramic tile should be done with mild detergent, and you need to be sure to thoroughly dry the tile after each cleaning.


5. Where to Install

Porcelain Ceramic
Porcelain is durable and nearly waterproof, making it a good choice for almost any location, especially bathrooms. It can be installed both inside and outside. Porcelain is heavier than ceramic, so it might not be as ideal for wall tile projects, but it would still work. Because of its porous and fragile nature, ceramic tile should never be installed outside. Because of its absorbency, ceramic tile should not be used in particularly wet areas, such as shower floors. Ceramic tile is great to use for a backsplash or other tiled wall and for flooring in low-traffic areas.


6. Color and Customization

Porcelain Ceramic
As stated before, porcelain tile is the same color throughout the whole thing, making any possible chips nearly invisible. Most porcelain is not glazed, so the design is pretty straightforward. To help with water resistance, all ceramic tile requires a glaze or sealant. This makes for endless possibilities when it comes to design and seemingly infinite color options.


As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both porcelain and ceramic tiles. Assess your unique preferences and needs based on these six categories to find the best choice for your home remodel project.

Need more help? Our Austin home renovations team can advise you on design choices and help you make your vision for your dream kitchen or bathroom a reality.