How to Tell the Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

When it is time to cover the floor or wall of a home environment, you will find yourself making a great decision, porcelain or ceramic. Learn about the difference between ceramic and porcelain to decide which is the ideal material for your home or project you want to undertake.

The excitement of choosing the floor for a room, an outside patio or the whole house also carries a great responsibility. Because it is done with the intention of lasting several years. Then, it is when some details must be taken into account such as the number of people who live within it and the areas that will have a greater traffic, such as corridors.

The same happens when we think of covering the wall of a special room in the home such as the kitchen or the bathroom, which has very different characteristics from other rooms in the house. Here we tell you some tips that will help you choose, which is the best option for each corner of your house.

Difference between ceramic and porcelain for floor coverings

At first glance, both products look very similar, however, each one has very important advantages in different environmental or traffic situations.


Sometimes the price is the main determining factor when we are making important changes in the home. If you only take into account the price, ceramic tiles are cheaper than porcelain tiles.

This is due to the process and quality of the material used. However, the fact that these types of tiles are more expensive does not mean that they are the most convenient to place on the floor of your home.

Each product has its advantages for certain places in the house, here we tell you some of them.

Water absorption

The porosity of the tiles is a big difference between ceramic and porcelain. Ceramic is more porous than porcelain, so it absorbs more water.

So, on floors for patios and terraces that are outdoors, it is recommended to place porcelain tile. Especially in areas with very cold climates, because it is resistant to frost and sudden changes in temperature .

You can quickly test it by dumping some water on the underside of the tile. If it is ceramic it will absorb it quickly.


Another big difference between ceramic and porcelain is the hardness between both types of tiles. Porcelain tile is much harder and shock resistant. For this reason it is recommended to place it in high traffic areas such as corridors and outside. One place in the home that needs a resilient floor is the garage.

For laying, ceramic tiles are more malleable and easier to cut , while cutting porcelain requires a porcelain diamond blade.


Both ceramic and porcelain are made of clay along with other natural materials. The difference is in the quality and purity of the clay used for porcelain tile, they also receive a different treatment such as firing at higher pressure and temperature.

As a result, a more resistant and durable product is obtained, ideal for areas with high traffic or with high probability of receiving impacts. While, for rooms, for example, ceramic would be a very good option in terms of durability.

You can notice it in the color of the cake when you turn the tile. Since the porcelain tile will look white and red the ceramic.


A big difference between ceramic and porcelain is the design that each of them offer. Porcelain tile offers a greater variety in terms of tile sizes, including the option of liquid porcelain that offers great design advantages.

As for colors, in both types of tiles you will find excellent options. When buying it, you should take into account that they are of the same tone and caliber . This characteristic is indicated by three letters on the box label.


There is another difference between ceramic and porcelain is the glue to use. Each type of tile needs a different glue, in addition, the material where it will be placed must be taken into account.

Because it is not the same to place it on a plaster than on a cardboard drywall. In addition, the floor where it will be placed must be correctly leveled.

Here you can consult a professional to advise you on the glue you really need.

Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain

Types of ceramic floors

There are different types of ceramics, which respond to the needs of traffic in the place where they will be installed. Kitchen and bathroom ceramics are the most required for both walls and floors.

Read: Types of Upper Floors: Concrete, Timber and More

For living room and bedroom floors, light traffic ceramics are used. While for places with more traffic you can opt for ceramic for moderate, normal, intense and very intense traffic.

According to the porosity, you will be able to find the earthenware or rustic ceramic that have an absorption greater than 10%, the semi-gray with an absorption of 3 to 10% and the stoneware with an absorption of 0.5 to 3%. If you compare it with porcelain, the latter has an absorption of less than 0.5%.

Kitchen and bathroom tiles are one of the most popular ceramic options, replacing old glass tiles with modern ceramic tiles in a wide variety of colors and sizes.

Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain

Types of porcelain

When opting for a porcelain tile for the floor or wall covering, you will find a wide range of colors, designs and finishes . As for the finish, you can choose between matt, polished or satin with a rectified or semi-rectified finish.

The most used is glazed porcelain for environments where traffic is moderate. According to the type of traffic you will receive, you can choose the appropriate one, because porcelain is differentiated with a PEI code (Porcelain Enamel Institute) that ranges from 1 to 4 according to the traffic.

Read: Types of Paints for Exterior and Interior Walls

What you should take into account when designing is that the differences between the games can be minimal, moderate or high. In addition, of the different types of formats.

Another great, very modern option is liquid porcelain , which offers a smooth, shiny finish for floors and countertops. The only disadvantages of liquid porcelain is that the floor must be prepared in advance, such as leveling it, for example.

Do not hesitate to consult the price of a professional to level the floor of your house and even the placement of ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Conclusion: Ceramic or porcelain

Both materials can be used to cover the floor or the walls of the interior of a home. However, porcelain tile is ideal for floors where a higher demand is needed, such as garages, shopping centers or outdoor spaces.

Some rooms in the house are exposed to heat and humidity for several hours a day. Like the kitchen and the bathroom, in these places, the application of porcelain is also recommended. Because they are also more resistant to cleaning products.

In places where solvent, oil, or acid liquids are likely to be spilled, it is not recommended to use either type of tile, porcelain or ceramic, as these products will ruin the polished coat.

On the other hand, in bedroom floors you can choose either of the two types of tiles. In short, knowing the difference between ceramic and porcelain will help you choose the best option to cover the floor or wall.

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