Tile flooring is the perennial choice of homeowners who are looking to redo the floors in their kitchens or bathrooms. Tile flooring is water resistant, durable, easy to clean, and versatile. What’s not to like? There are a lot of different types of tile flooring to choose from though, and if you’re not a flooring pro you may be a bit confused about where to start. Do you want glass or slate tile? Ceramic or porcelain? What does travertine even mean? That’s why Floor Coverings International of Orange County and Middletown, NY is here to help! In this post we’ll compare and contrast two popular tile flooring options, ceramic tile flooring and porcelain tile flooring, so that you can decide which one is right for you.


What’s the Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Flooring?


While they are often treated as two separate flooring materials, porcelain tile flooring is actually just a subset of ceramic tile flooring. Ceramic tiles are made from clay that is kiln-fired after being shaped into tiles and glazed. Porcelain tile on the other hand is made with clay that contains higher levels of feldspar and is fired at extremely hot temperatures of 1,200 to 1,350 degrees Celsius (2,192 to 2,462 degrees Fahrenheit). This causes porcelain tile floors to be much harder and more water resistant than ceramic tiles. The way that porcelain is classified, as being separate from ceramic tile flooring, is that it has an absorption rate less than 0.5%.




Porcelain tile is by far the more durable option of the two. The high heats at which it is kiln-fired cause it to be incredibly hard, meaning that it can handle heavy traffic in commercial, industrial, and institutional settings. Porcelain tile flooring is recommended for structures such as airports and malls because of this. The Porcelain Enamel Institute has a scale by which they measure the hardness, and corresponding durability of tile. The scale ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 being the least hard, suitable only for wall tiling, and 5 being the hardest, suitable for heavy traffic, industrial flooring. Porcelain tile flooring is consistently rated as class 5, whereas ceramic tile tends to stay in the mid-to low range on the scale, with ratings of 1 to 3. Porcelain tile flooring is also safe to use in exteriors, due to its lower rates of absorption, whereas ceramic tile flooring is only recommended for indoor use.




In almost all cases, porcelain tile flooring is going to be more expensive than ceramic tile flooring. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, porcelain has many positive aspects, including its durability and versatility, which make it to be considered a luxury item. The high heat and energy used in the manufacturing process also contributes, and because it is such a hard material it is more difficult to cut and fit than regular ceramic tile, which is softer and easier to work.




Porcelain tile flooring is much more difficult to install than regular ceramic tile flooring. This is due to the fact that porcelain tile flooring is much less porous than ceramic, making it heavier. A common mistake amongst DIY-ers who are attempting to install porcelain tile floors, is to use the same adhesive as they would use if they were installing ceramic tiles. Porcelain tiles are much heavier and require specialty adhesives and cement. Porcelain is also much more difficult to cut and fit to a space than ceramic is, and may require specialty saws and tools. Ceramic flooring is far and away the more installation-friendly flooring.


Whether you want the pricier, unruly, but incredibly durable porcelain, or the more approachable ceramic, be sure to call Floor Coverings International of Orange County and Middletown, NY for your next flooring project!