What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?


Polished Porcelain Tiles

Polished porcelain tiles are different to other ceramic tiles in that they are unglazed. It is therefore recommended that unless advised otherwise these tiles should be sealed. Porcelain tiles are manufactured from finely ground sand and highly refined and purified clay. These ingredients are produced at a much higher temperature compared to ceramic tiles, allowing them to be more resistant to scratches and chipping.


Durability: More durable than ceramic as it has a higher density, which leads it to be more resistant to wear, chipping and other damages that may occur over time.


Sustainability: Porcelain tiles are suitable for areas with light to heavy traffic due to their high-density characteristics. Full-bodied porcelain tiles also don't depict wear of the tile as their finish runs throughout the product.


Water Absorption Rate: 0.5%


Optical Hazing: Whilst polished porcelain has a glossy surface, the latter does not mean it has the characteristics of a mirror and therefore will not perform as a mirror. As such it is subject to a natural phenomenon known as optical hazing presenting as a smoky haze when the surface of the tile is struck by oblique light sources. For example, early morning sun, halogen and white lights. The effects of optical hazing can be minimised by careful design planning, such as, the use of curtains and blinds, and the careful placement of furniture.

Important note: Before sealing the tiles it is essential that all cementitious and wax residues are removed from the tiles. Failure to do so will result in these contaminants being trapped below the surface of the tile. It is recommended that the cleaning and sealing be done by the same contractor.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are manufactured from mostly red and white clay, mixed with various other minerals and fired in a kiln at a high temperature to solidify the product. Ceramics are porous and more likely to absorb water. The top surface of the tile is usually sealed with glaze creating a design layer that determines the tile's finished colour, design and texture. 


Durability: Glazed ceramic tiles are one of the easiest products to keep clean. These products have a high water absorption rate, which leads these tiles to be less stain and frost resistant.


Sustainability: Ceramic tiles are suitable for areas with light to moderate traffic. They are however more prone to wear, chipping and cracking due to not being a high-density product.


Water Absorption Rate: 3 - 7%


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