The great thing about tile is that it can be used nearly anywhere and it’ll look good. When choosing tile for either your shower, kitchen, or floors, you have many choices at your disposal. But, if you’re looking for tile that is especially durable and fashionable, then you may want to choose either ceramic or porcelain. Like most people though, the main difficulty when deciding between porcelain or ceramic is understanding the difference between the two. Many home design stores unfortunately fail to provide homeowners with adequate information. Therefore, below is a simple guide to understanding the difference between ceramic and porcelain.
The Similarity between Porcelain and Tile
At the core, porcelain and tile are just about the same. Both are made in large batches out of a material known as ceramic. Once the ceramic tiles are made, the manufacturer will divide the batch and assign it as either porcelain or tile based on a few qualities that the finished ceramic has. In addition, either of these tiles can be used in the same types of household areas, such as the bathroom, kitchen, flooring, and even outside if the tile is frost proof and unglazed.
Ability to Absorb Water
Porcelain is a finer type of ceramic and when finished, quality porcelain is durable, see-through, and white. Once the porcelain is created, the material is tested for its ability to absorb water. In general, you want to choose tile with a low absorption rate and porcelain is one of those ceramics that will achieve that goal. Porcelain’s water absorption rate is lower than ceramic, which means that it will likely last you longer and it will retain its quality finish over time. In addition, you can also be certain that it has a better quality look than its counterpart.
Another advantage of porcelain compared to tile is that it is a more durable material. Porcelain’s durability arises out of its high density since density makes a material heavier and able to withstand more wear. While you certainly can put porcelain or tile outside, it isn’t generally recommended because regardless of the durability, the material can still wear down and there are better options to place outdoors. If anything, porcelain and ceramic are better suited for indoors in either the kitchen or bathroom areas. By caring for your porcelain and ceramic correctly, you’ll be able to prevent chipping and other impurities that can ruin the tile itself.
The PEI Rating
Overall, if you’re looking for a quality material that is durable, then you may want to choose porcelain over ceramic. After you’ve chosen porcelain as your tile of choice, you’ll want to look at the PEI rating of the tile. The PEI rating is 0 to 5 scale that determines what the tile is able to withstand. For example, if the PEI rating is a 0, then the tile is not suitable to be walked on. On the other extreme, a PEI rating of 5 indicates that the tile is able to withstand heavy traffic. By choosing a tile with the correct PEI rating, you can ensure that you’re choosing the best porcelain for your needs.