Ceramic vs. Porcelain vs. Stone Tiles - Which is Best for You?
Tiles are a great choice to cover the walls and floors of your home. They are available in many different shapes and sizes, are durable and also boost the overall aesthetic of your building. As a homeowner, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of choices you have while choosing tiles for your house. Ceramic, porcelain and stone tiles are the most popular ones and each is used in different applications. You can choose from a wide variety of bathroom and kitchen renovation materials at Caledon Tile, Bath & Kitchen Centre.
Differences between Ceramic, Porcelain and Stone Tiles
To better understand which tiles work best for an area, you should first understand the differences between the manufacturing processes of each of them. Here are some of the major differences:
• Ceramic Tiles: The manufacturing process of ceramic and porcelain tiles is slightly different. Ceramic tiles are made of red, brown or white clay while porcelain tiles are made using a specific type of white clay, sand and feldspar. Porcelain tiles are baked at higher temperatures than ceramic tiles which results in a harder and denser product.
Ceramic tiles are softer and less dense. They are easier to use and are available in the latest, intricate designs. These tiles can be glazed or vitrified. The glaze can be an earthenware glaze or a coloured enamel. The latter is available in three types:
o Bright or glossy surface
o Eggshell, vellum finishes
o Matt finishes
Vitrified tiles are made from clay, quartz, feldspar and silica. They are subjected to higher temperatures during firing compared to the glazed ones. Porosity is very less and abrasion resistance is higher in vitrified ceramic tiles, which makes it more durable and better suitable for areas of heavy traffic.
• Porcelain Tiles: These are also made of clay but the clay variety used in this case is heavier or denser than the one used in ceramic tiles. They are less porous with water absorption rates lesser than 0.5 per cent. They are baked at higher temperatures for a longer time. This is a better option in terms of durability, design, colour and value. They are scratch and dirt resistant to a huge extent. They are also available in a polished variety, which has a nice shine to it.
The colours of the upper and inner layers are different in ceramic tiles. On the other hand, porcelain tiles have the same colour composition throughout.
As ceramic tiles are less dense than porcelain tiles, you can cut them manually. You will need a wet tile saw to cut through a porcelain tile. As manufacturing costs are more for porcelain tiles, they have higher retail prices than ceramic ones.
• Stone Tiles: Different types of natural stone tiles are available such as marble, slate, granite and travertine. They are mined from quarries and later cut as per requirements. They suit almost every style of décor. As they are not man-made, it is difficult to rectify a chipped or scratched tile. Certain natural stone tiles (like marble) are porous and you should regularly treat them with a sealing agent to prevent damage or staining.
Applications of Porcelain, Ceramic or Stone Tiles
If you are on a tight budget, cost-effective ceramic tiles are a great choice for both your walls and floors. They are suitable for areas with low foot-fall. They are available in several designs and are easy to install. Unglazed tiles give a rustic and artistic finish while the glazed ones offer better resistance to wear and tear.
As porcelain tiles are nearly waterproof, they work best for floors and areas with high moisture levels (such as wet rooms). You can also use them on walls if the tiles are not very heavy. They are very popular in commercial properties such as hotels, offices and retail outlets. The tiles require minimum maintenance and do not crack or chip due to changing weather conditions. You can use it outdoors and in areas like kitchens where they are prone to damages. They can mimic natural wood planks or stone tiles. To learn more, read our blog – ‘Get the Look of Wood Without the Hassle - the Porcelain Tile Wood Effect!’
Natural stone tiles are available in various hues and styles. Each piece is unique in its natural characteristics such as colour, veining and markings. You can use natural stone tiles for both indoor and outdoor applications. Apart from floors, you can use them on your walls, backsplashes and countertops. As they are not slippery like ceramic and other options, they are safe for children and pets. The tiles provide excellent insulation; they are warm in summers and cool in winters. The cost depends on the grade and the type of stones you opt for. Granite is extremely hard and commonly used in kitchens, entryways and bathrooms. Marble is usually used for floors in foyers, bathrooms or fireplaces. Slate can be used both indoors and outdoors, offers dramatic colour variations and is extremely durable.
Whether constructing a new home or renovating an existing one, visit our showroom to find the latest styles of bathroom and kitchen materials. Contact us today!