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Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain

Main Difference

The main difference between ceramic and porcelain tile is that ceramic is made from a less refined clay mixture; in contrast, porcelain is made from a more refined clay mixture.

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Ceramic vs. Porcelain

Ceramic is a tile that is made from a less refined mixture of clay by heating it at a higher temperature in a kiln. The clay for making ceramic tiles is naturally red, brown, or white. Porcelain is another kind of tile made from a more refined mixture of clay by heating it at extremely higher temperatures in a kiln. The clay which is used for making porcelain tiles is peculiar, having finely-ground sand along with feldspar added to the mixture. Due to the difference in the refining of their clay, ceramic tile is less dense and more porous. Porcelain tile is denser hence less porous, making it more durable.

Ceramic is less liquid resistant. Porcelain is highly liquid-resistant, making the tiles suitable for damp locations such as bathrooms, basements, etc. As ceramic tiles are less dense, they are easy to lift, making it easy to lift and fix. Due to the higher density, porcelain tiles are harder, and they absorb less water. As far as the price is concerned, ceramic tile is less expensive. Porcelain tile costs more than ceramic tile. Ceramics is divided into four types: technical, refractories, whitewares, and structural. Porcelain has three kinds: bone porcelain, hard-paste porcelain, and soft-paste porcelain.

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Ceramic is less stain-resistant. Porcelain tile is more stain resistant. Ceramic has a less smooth surface with an opaque appearance. Porcelain has a smooth surface with a translucent appearance. Ceramic is considered to be lower in quality as compared to porcelain. Porcelain is a high-quality tile.

Comparison Chart

CeramicPorcelain
A ceramic is a tile made from a less refined clay mixturePorcelain is a tile made from a more refined clay mixture
Type of Clay Used
Red, brown or white clayWhite clay, sand, feldspar
Density
Less dense, softerDenser, harder
Durability
LessMore
Liquid/Stain Resistant
It is notIt is
Cost
Less costlyMore costly
Appearance
Slightly rough and opaqueSmooth and translucent
Installation
EasyDifficult
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What is Ceramic?

Ceramic is one of the inorganic materials made from clay that is solidified. It is used in pottery and construction on a wide scale. Ceramic is a tile that is made from a less refined mixture of clay by heating it at higher temperatures in a kiln. The term ceramics derived from the Greek word “Keramikos,” meaning “of or for pottery.” The clay for making ceramic tiles is naturally red, brown, or white. Ceramic tiles are right to use in warm climates because it is naturally cool. But at the same time, it is not suitable for cold regions or in the winter season.

Ceramic tile is having less density and a more porous surface. This porous nature allows water to pass through it. That is why ceramic tile absorbs moisture and is not recommended for the damp or moist areas. It requires deep-cleaning at least once in a week owing to this moist absorbing nature. Ceramic tiles appear attractive as they have an opaque surface. There is a durable glazed finish on them that can be customized in various patterns and colors, giving tiles different looks. This kind of tile is not so hard, making it easy to lift. This is the reason that ceramic is to install. It has a soft surface making it easy for the homeowners to cut it with a simple tile cutter.

Although some of the cons of ceramic are, it is not durable as it is soft. The spills on the ceramic tile must be cleared quickly because its absorption capacity is high. The clay material underneath glaze on such kinds of tiles appears if the tile cracks or chips. It does not give an appealing effect to the sight. A ceramic tile is less expensive and more affordable. Types of ceramic are technical, refractories, white-wares, and structural.

What is Porcelain?

Porcelain is made from very refined clay and other natural elements at a temperature higher than ceramics. The average temperature to fire porcelain in the kiln is 2600 degrees Fahrenheit. The earth used for making porcelain tiles is particularly having finely-ground sand along with feldspar added to the mixture. After heating, porcelain is moreover left naturally or converted into stone, concrete, or other substances. The most common of its forms is porcelain tiles.

The surface of the porcelain is translucent. Porcelain is denser tile, and so it is less porous. It is less likely to absorb liquid as it contains lesser pores. This is why the porcelain tiles are suitable for damp locations such as bathrooms, basements, etc. This presence of fewer pores also makes it stain resistant, so the tile always appears shiny and clean. The features like water/stain resistance, high durability, etc. contribute to making porcelain tile a high-quality tile.

Due to the higher density, porcelain tiles are harder. It is highly preferred in flooring etc. Porcelain tiles are heavy to lift. The installation process of such tiles is tough. Its hardness causes it less damage. This high-quality tile is expensive and not afforded by everyone. The maintenance of porcelain tile is easy. Simply wash it regularly, and it will remain in good condition for years. Even the cracks on porcelain look appealing because it has a uniform color. It is highly durable. Grout, which is a filler material, is used between the tiles for water-resistant installation. The grout must be cleaned regularly along with the tile. Types of porcelain are bone porcelain, hard-paste porcelain, and soft-paste porcelain.

Key Differences

  1. Ceramic is made from a less refined mixture of clay, whereas porcelain is made from a more refined blend of clay.
  2. Ceramic tile is less dense and more porous; on the other hand, porcelain tile is denser hence less porous.
  3. Ceramic is less durable on the converse porcelain is more durable.
  4. Ceramic is considered to be lower in quality; on the contrary, porcelain is a high-quality tile.
  5. Ceramic tile is less expensive; conversely, porcelain costs more.
  6. Ceramic has a less smooth surface with an opaque appearance on the flip side porcelain has a smooth surface with a translucent appearance.
  7. Ceramic is less stain-resistant inversely porcelain tile is more stain resistant.
  8. Ceramic is less liquid-resistant hence not suitable for damp areas contrarily porcelain is highly liquid-resistant, making the tiles ideal for wet locations.
  9. Ceramic is less hard lighter in weight; in contrast, porcelain is heavier and harder.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

Ceramic and porcelain are the two different types of tiles. Both are different from each other based on their material, texture, appearance, resistance from liquid and stains, price, durability, weight, and the installation process.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson