Ceramic vs. Porcelain – What’s the Difference?
Both ceramic and porcelain are made from clay and other naturally occurring materials, which are then fired in a kiln. Ceramic tiles are both pressed at a lower pressure and fired at a lower temperature than porcelain. Most of the time, ceramic tiles are finished with a glaze that carries the color or pattern, and then sent through the kiln again. While ceramic is more porous than porcelain, the hardness and absorbency levels vary depending on the type of clay used, as well as the pressure used to form the tile and the heat of the kiln.
Porcelain is a subset of ceramic and is made primarily of feldspar particles. It is kiln fired at a higher temperature than ceramic, which results in an extremely dense material that is harder and less absorbent than standard ceramic tile. Considered nearly impervious, porcelain is resistant to acids, heat, scratching, and UV rays. Porcelain tiles can be found in a variety of finishes including matte or polished, as well as various textures such as strutturato or brushed.
You’ll most commonly find ceramic tile used in residential wall applications such as backslashes or shower walls. Ceramic tile is also often used in decorative elements and can sometimes be ordered in custom sizes or colors. Because porcelain is more durable, it can be used in nearly any application from light residential to heavy commercial including both residential and commercial flooring, backslashes, shower walls, and fireplaces.
Caring for ceramic and porcelain tile differs a bit as well. Sealing is recommended for unglazed or crackle glazed ceramic tile, while for the most part porcelain does not require sealing. Both can be cleaned using soap and water, and textured porcelain tiles can be cleaned using a bristled brush or Magic Eraser mop.
We carry nearly 50 different series of ceramic and porcelain tiles – each with its own various color, size and finish options. The design possibilities are endless!!