Ceramic Tile vs Porcelain Tile in 2016

Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile.

As a long time Port St. Lucie tile contractor, most of my tiling work has been setting ceramic tile, with porcelain tile being set to a lesser degree.  That trend has changed and porcelain is now the most popular tile. Ceramic Tile installed on the diagonal.I believe that popularity is based upon the perception that porcelain is a higher quality tile when compared to ceramic tile. That perception is basically wrong.   Ceramic vs. porcelain tile in Port St. Lucie’s homes  is a contest for respectability;  Ceramic tile gets short changed.

Porcelain tile is fired the same way as standard ceramic tile and when fired for the same period of time, produce tiles of similar quality. There are technical differences in the tile production processes, but practically speaking, the difference in quality is minimal.  Porcelain is made with less clay and more finely ground feldspar, subject to higher pressure and fired longer at higher temperatures than ceramic.

There is very little difference between a good class 4 ceramic tile and a class 4 porcelain tile.

Porcelain is denser because the clay is finer and can be pressed into a harder body, but not so much harder than a good quality ceramic tile. There is a difference however in price. Comparing ceramic and porcelain tiles of the same class rating, porcelain is more expensive.

Grading Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile.

Although there are no universally accepted industry standards, most ceramic tile is rated for use by the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) abrasion test and is recommended by the American Society Testing Materials (ASTM). PEI ratings measure the wear resistance of the tile surface.

Thinking back on tiling jobs I’ve done in Port St. Lucie over the years, it occurred to me that those tiling project that turn out best are those that use high quality tile, be it ceramic or porcelain. A class 4 ceramic tile is going to be more costly that a lower classed ceramic tile, but the added cost should bring with it better quality control (all tiles are same size and flat).  A ceramic tile with a low water absorption rating and a PEI of Class 3 is less expensive, easier to work with and suitable to almost all residential purposes.

Ceramic tile gets as much respect as Rodney Dangerfield; That’s not right. Quality ceramic tile are available for most tiling requirements and compared to porcelain, a better value for residential applications. Porcelain tile for Port St. Lucie residential applications is over-kill.


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In St. Lucie County Boyer Tile LLC. services Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie West, Tradition, Torino, Tesoro, Lake Charles, Lake Forest, Magnolia Lakes, PGA Village, The Vineyards, St James Golf Club, The Cascades, and Fort Pierce, FL.

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