Some people will use terms “porcelain” and “ceramic” interchangeably, but it’s not that straightforward. There are actually a few differences.
Ceramic tiles are a mixture of clay and other natural materials, such as sand, quartz and water. Once molded into shape, they are fired in a kiln. Ceramic tiles can be either glazed or unglazed. However glazed finish is much more popular. It is also much easier to clean and harder to stain.
Porcelain tiles are also made from clay but tends to be denser. Porcelain tiles are baked at higher temperature than ceramic and for longer periods of time so that almost all of water is removed. That process makes porcelain harder and denser than ceramic, therefore less porous. Meaning they are harder, more durable and almost waterproof. This makes them more suitable for outdoor or heavy traffic areas. As it’s nearly waterproof, with only 3% of porosity, it’s perfect for wet rooms. Note, that not all porcelain tiles will have the same durability, that will depend on how long it has been in the oven.
Ceramic, on the other hand, as it’s less dense it is also less brittle, so it’s easier to work with. Both, porcelain tiles and ceramic tiles are great to cover walls, backslashes, ceilings, counter tops. In the high footfall areas such as hallways or kitchens, porcelain – due to resistance to scratches and scuffs, is better choice.
That not means ceramic wouldn’t be a good choice. It’s durable and hard – wearing.
Porcelain tiles are generally more expensive but can last longer and are easier to maintain. Ceramic tiles are great solution if you are on a tighter budget.
Whichever you will choose, it will deliver great visual effects.
How to clean porcelain?
Usually the dirt is trapped in the grout lines, especially with textured porcelain. This requires a few stages of cleaning, combined between soft brushes and cleaning pads followed by very fine burnishing pads as a final stage. Due to low porosity, it is not necessary to seal these tiles however it is important to seal the grout lines.