You may have heard the terms ‘Ceramic’ and ‘Porcelain’ in relation to tiles. Understanding the difference will help you make one of the most practical decisions when choosing tiles for your new home.
Ceramic tiles are a mainly made from a clay-based material and they’re normally glazed. Glazed, ceramic tiles are made up of a ceramic ‘biscuit’ with a screen print design over the top.
Glazed ceramics don’t absorb moisture through the surface of the glaze, however due to the high clay content of the ceramic base, the base or ‘biscuit’ can hold around 80% moisture absorption. This moisture absorption can slightly reduce the life expectancy of the tiles, but so long as they’re installed correctly, ceramic tiles will last on average up to 20 years. The major benefit of ceramic tiles is the cost effectiveness
Porcelain (vitrified) Tiles
Porcelain tiles are predominantly made of rhyolite and feldspar, in conjunction with other natural minerals. The content structure of porcelain has a much higher density then ceramic tiles, making them more durable and versatile. Porcelain tiles can be produced in a glazed format like ceramic tiles, or given its high density, they can also be produced ‘raw’ or unglazed.
Common forms of porcelain are polished porcelain which is the polishing of the raw biscuit to a highly reflective state (often described as shiny tiles), and external format porcelain where the surface of the biscuit is purposely produced rough for slip reduction in external applications. Most porcelain tiles are available in multiple finishes and multiple sizes, making them incredibly adaptable and popular. The superiority of the raw materials which make porcelain tiles stronger and denser, also reduce moisture absorption.