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5 key differences between ceramics and porcelain that you should know

5 key differences between ceramics and porcelain that you should know

One of the questions we most frequently receive is the difference between ceramics and porcelain.

Our clients are often confused and exchange words without knowing what they are looking for.

 It's that the difference between them, at first glance, may seem non-existent.

 The wide variety of tiles in the market is usually is design-based, but people know very little about the materials and benefits that each one brings.

 That is why we have decided to summarize the key differences between these two options, so you do not hesitate.

 1.They are the same thing - yet, they're not

 Not all ceramics are porcelain, but all porcelains are ceramic.

 A little tangled, isn't it?

 As it turns out, both porcelain and ceramic tiles belong to the latter category, which has varieties. It all depends on the mixed materials and the process.

 The clay and materials that go in the mix - as well as the cooking temperature - are directly involved in the final product's quality and hardness.

 For example, ceramics are created from a mixture of clay - red, brown, or white natural - and water that is pressed at low pressure and cooked in an oven at a lower temperature, which makes it less resistant.

 Porcelain, meanwhile, is a mixture of refined clay, feldspar, silica, and water, which is pressed at a higher pressure and then cooked in an oven at a higher temperature and for a longer period, which makes it much more resistant.


 Due to the process explained above, porcelain tiles are denser and less porous - that is, they have a coating that prevents the passage of water.

 That is why they are usually the preferred material for areas of high footprint or intensive use, as well as for areas exposed to sun, rain, or freezing.

 Ceramics, on the other hand, may be less resistant, but its lightness makes it more manageable.

 According to the Porcelain Enamel Institute, tiles can be classified from 0 to 5 depending on their hardness, to choose the best option depending on their use.

 3.Not all ceramics serve the same

 The PEI describes the following types of use: 

  • PEI 0: No pedestrian traffic
  • PEI 1: Very light traffic
  • PEI 2: Light traffic
  • PEI 3: Light to moderate traffic
  • PEI 4: Moderate to heavy traffic
  • PEI 5: Heavy traffic

 Most ceramic tiles only enter the first classifications, which usually include interior, residential, or commercial applications, such as bathrooms, hallways, and rooms.

 They are usually fragile, porous, and challenging to clean.

 On the other hand, porcelain works perfectly on commercial, outdoor floors, and surfaces exposed to greater use and/or weight - especially for its high resistance to moisture and stains, being easier to clean than ceramics. 

4.Let's talk about design

Differentiating ceramic and porcelain tiles is very simple if you take color and weight into account.

A cross-section of a ceramic tile will show a color that is not uniform, while the color of a porcelain tile is the same on the surface and throughout the cut.

 Likewise, the new technologies allow printing a great variety of designs, either in solid or rough tiles and with an infinite number of patterns, even imitating another type of surfaces such as hardwood and stone.

 5.Price and installation

 If you were convinced up to this point that porcelain is the best solution, there is a downside that perhaps you should take into account.

Ceramic tile is considerably cheaper than porcelain, representing between 60 and 70% of the cost in the most expensive brands, and 15% in the lower ranges.

This is due to the cost of manufacturing and the features that we have described in the previous points.

You must remember that the durability and strength of ceramics are much lower than that of porcelain so that the price could be higher in the end.

For its part, porcelain is more expensive, and its installation can be more complicated.

Depending on the location, porcelain can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Ready to choose your tile?

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