Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile: The Choice is Driven by Purpose and Budget

The difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles lies in their genetic makeup. Ceramic tiles are built from natural brown, white or red clay while porcelain is made strictly of white clay. Porcelain tiles are baked at higher temperatures than ceramic tiles – the reason they are harder, denser, and less porous. This porosity is actually what determines how a tile will be classified, whether as porcelain or ceramic.

Ceramic vs. Porcelain

Ceramic tiles, being softer and more susceptible to water, wear easily and may not be appropriate for some uses. For instance, you cannot use them on an outdoor surface as they will absorb water, swell and eventually crack.

Porcelain tiles, on the other hand, can be used in entryways, kitchens and other high-traffic areas. They are highly durable and incorporate about everything ceramic tile offers.

Advantages of using ceramic tiles

  •        They are relatively affordable: Ceramic tiles are cheaper than porcelain by a whopping 60-70 percent. The average cost for ceramic tiles at the budget end is $3-7 per square foot.
  •        They are easier to shape: During installation, you may be forced to cut some of the tiles so they can fit in your space. Ceramic tiles are less dense and, for that reason, pretty easy to cut using simple tools such as a wet tile saw or a snap tile.
  •        They are water resistant: This is one of the most sought-after properties in tiling material. Glazed ceramic tiles are fully covered with a protective layer that keeps the surface safe from water damage. This makes them suitable for bathroom and kitchen countertops, and other moisture-prone areas.
  •        Easy to maintain: Thanks to the smooth, water-resistant surface, glazed ceramic tiles are easy to clean and highly resistant to stubborn stains and grime.
  •        They are hypoallergenic: Their even and smooth surface means they cannot hold potential allergy triggers such as dust and pollen. With no dips to lodge in, the particles are easily wiped or washed off using regular cleaning equipment.

Advantages of using porcelain tiles

  •        They are more durable: Ceramic tiling may be durable, but it has nothing on porcelain. Porcelain is not only thick and highly resistant to physical damage but also made of a uniformly colored material which conceals slight chips and cracks on the surface.
  •        Water-resistant: Porcelain tiles have a water-absorption rate of under 0.5, according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). They can work well on outdoor surfaces and water-prone spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens.
  •        Easy maintenance: Porcelain’s water-imperviousness property makes it resistant to stubborn stains and easy to clean.


Make sure to consider all factors when trying to find the better tile material between porcelain and ceramic to install in your space. You want something that offers the perfect combination of features to match the requirements of the surface you wish to tile. Also, you do not want to pay those few extra dollars for unnecessary features just because the material in question is superior overall. With the help of the above tips, you can create a better filter-down criterion and make a more informed decision.