Ceramic or porcelain tiles? What’s the difference?

It's all in the material

Looking to give walls and floors a new lease of life? Love the thought of tiles but not sure whether ceramic or porcelain tiles are best?

It pays to know the difference between these 2 key materials, the benefits of each and how they can also work together to make great design. So let's start with porcelain and then talk ceramics.

Porcelain - what's not to like?

We love porcelain. It's exceptionally hardwearing, scratch and stain resistant, in an abundance of stunning designs and requires minimal love and care to keep it looking like new. It's in beautiful textures and you can create everything from dramatic backdrops to that cosy canvas - think polished, matt and more. Porcelain just loves walls and floors in equal measure.

Porcelain tiles are fired at a much higher temperature than ceramics and made from a mixture of finer clays. All that makes for a heavier, denser material than ceramics making it ideal for those busy areas of the home - particularly kitchen floors, hallways, living areas, bathrooms and more.

Plus, great quality porcelains expertly mimic all kinds of materials from woods to cements, stone to marbles - and all without the maintenance associated with some of these materials.

And, gone are the days of just one or two designs per tile. Collections may well have 20, 30 or 40 different designs and combined with advances in technology designs are more ultra realistic than ever.

As if this material needed any more shout outs let's add that with a water absorption rate of less than 0.5% it's even frost and fade resistant so can also be used outside in surface finishes and textures that give added grip. That means creating a flow from home to garden with the same flooring is a breeze.

Porcelain tiles come in a range of sizes making them the ideal choice whether you are looking for smaller tiles or larger formats.

Collections that once housed a couple of options may well offer all kinds of sizes with 900 x 900mm and larger becoming the go to for those seeking 'more tile, less grout'. Many of these tiles feature rectified (straight) edges so grout lines are at an absolute minimum of around 3mm. Plus for floors, porcelain works just fine with underfloor heating so you can keep that cosy feeling all year round.

Get creative with ceramics

Ceramic tiles are made from clay and baked in a kiln and are usually lighter in weight than porcelain. That makes them easier to cut and faster to install so they tend to be less expensive.

They also allow for more creative patterns and designs so are a great way to add a touch of texture to walls. From the handcrafted appeal of smaller tiles to larger formats with straight edges, ceramics are perfect for bringing interiors to life.

Because they are softer than porcelain, ceramics are best suited to areas with lower footfall if using them on floors as they are not as hardwearing. Some ceramics are exclusively for walls so always worth checking before you buy.

Mix and match - here's how

Bathrooms can be particularly tricky rooms to design.

Fortunately we have some clever combinations involving both porcelain and ceramics that not only look great, they will help you make the most of your budget.

Porcelain is the ideal choice for bathroom floors. Tiles come in all sorts of finishes and slip ratings, so for wet room floors in particular textured tiles with a higher antislip rating are ideal.

However, for walls, you could opt for porcelain or ceramics. Bathrooms are generally smaller rooms and can have lots of cuts and angles so ceramics are generally quicker and easier to install.

Our collections have been specially selected to offer two or three different ceramic designs for walls making it easy to get creative and design bathrooms!

Docklands Beige 900 x 320mm ceramic tiles to walls.

Because we specialise in large format tiles, our ceramics are in larger formats too. Lots of our wall tiles work with our porcelain collections so get ready to mix and match.

For more bathroom ideas see our blog on Bathroom design ideas. If you're stuck choosing ceramic or porcelain tiles - give us a call. We would be delighted to help so please get in touch. We'd love to be your partner in design!

The TilePortfolio specialise in Italian and Spanish Porcelain and Ceramic tiles, in particular large format Porcelains and Porcelain tiles for inside and outside. Our carefully curated, stunning tile portfolios are beautifully presented online and supported by our fuss-free ‘go-the -extra-tile’ service and video design consultancy. Visit our website for unmissable interiors inspiration. The TilePortfolio team are always available to chat, we’d be delighted to help with your project so please do get in touch.

Please note: We strongly recommend using a professional tiler for your project. Always check with your tiler regards suitability of your chosen tiles for your project.

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