Ceramic tile and Porcelain tile can add a sense of elegance to a room or outdoor space that is unmatched by few other home accent touches. As a result, it is no wonder more and more homeowners are becoming do it yourself tile installers. The question is frequently asked by these pre do-it-yourself tile installers is: “What is the difference between porcelain tile and ceramic tile?” Well the answers pretty simple. Porcelain tile is effectively Ceramic tile. It is just made of a more refined material.
All ceramic tiles are made up of clay and quartz ferrous sand materials, along with water. Once the tiles are formed they are fired to high temperatures and in some cases their surfaces are glazed. The only difference between Porcelain tile and regular ceramic tile is that the clay used in porcelain tile is more highly refined and purified. Consequently, porcelain tiles are denser than a standard ceramic tile.
As a result, porcelain tiles are more rugged making them ideal for harsher applications such as flooring. Also, because of their higher density, porcelain tiles are less likely to absorb moisture (0.5%) which makes them more durable and more resistant to staining. Porcelain tiles are frequently found in floor applications, outdoor areas, and in cold weather climates where freezing can occur. With their low absorption capability they are less likely to crack in cold weather climates.
Porcelain tile costs a little more than the traditional, more porous, standard clay tile; however prices in general have been coming down in recent years for ceramic tile.
Ceramic tile comes in either glazed or unglazed surfaces. The glazed surfaces are like glass and are best used on walls as they are too slippery for floor applications. Glazed ceramic tiles are also a little more susceptible to cracking.
Ceramic tile is constructed using red, brown or white clay. Most porcelain tile, however, is constructed using white clay.
With a tradition that dates to ancient civilizations, ceramic tile flooring can be found in a variety of settings in diverse cultures and structures, including residential buildings ranging from large apartment buildings to small private houses, institutional buildings such as government offices and schools, and religious buildings such as cathedrals and mosques. Historically, its widespread use may be attributed to the fact that a readily available natural material--clay--could be converted by a relatively simple manufacturing process--baking or firing--into a very durable, long-lasting and attractive floor tile that is easy to maintain. Ceramic floor tiles exhibit a versatility of colored glazes and decoration, and they range from the plainest terra cotta tiles to highly decorated individual ceramic tiles and elaborately patterned tile floors. Their modularity, as standardized units, make them easy to fit into different sized spaces which also explains much of the popularity of ceramic floor tiles throughout history.