Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile: A Full Comparison Guide

Table of Contents

If you're planning a home renovation project and trying to decide between porcelain vs. ceramic tile, you've come to the right place. Our comprehensive comparison guide will help you understand the differences between these two popular tile materials and which one may be the best fit for your project.

From cost and design options to durability and water resistance, we'll cover all the factors you need to consider. Located in the Columbus and Cincinnati area, Stone Center will help you with all your tile and stone needs.

The Main Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

The major difference between porcelain and ceramic tile is the materials and processes used in their production. You should be aware of these differences before making a decision.

Porcelain Tike

What Is Porcelain Tile?

Porcelain tile is made from a mixture of fine-grain, refined clay, and minerals that are pressed into shape and fired at extremely high temperatures, typically between 2,200 and 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. This process is known as vitrification and results in a dense, hard material that's highly resistant to water, stains, and scratches. After the firing process, porcelain tiles can be left unglazed or finished with a glaze that gives the tile a smooth, glossy surface.

The result is a high-quality, durable tile that's suitable for a wide range of applications.


  • Highly durable, water-resistant, and stain-resistant;
  • Available in a wide variety of colors, styles, and finishes;
  • Relatively easy to clean and maintain;
  • Can last for many years, even with heavy use.


  • More expensive than other types of tile;
  • Difficult to install, especially for DIYers;
  • Hard and slippery, especially when wet.
Ceramic Tile

What Is Ceramic Tile?

Ceramic tile is made by combining clay mixture and other natural materials, shaping them, and then firing them at lower temperatures than porcelain tile.

The firing process involves baking the tile in a kiln at temperatures ranging from 1,000 to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which results in a slightly softer material than porcelain tile. Ceramic floor tiles are a popular choice best suited for low-traffic areas, such as bedrooms or guest bathrooms.


  • Affordable;
  • Easy to install;
  • Available in a wide variety of colors, styles, and finishes;
  • Relatively durable and water-resistant.


  • Less durable than porcelain tile;
  • More porous than porcelain tile, so it can be more prone to stains;
  • Can be slippery when wet.

Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile: The Overview

Aspect Porcelain Tiles Ceramic Tiles
Durability Exceptionally durable, resistant to extreme temperatures, and suitable for outdoor use. Generally durable but more susceptible to cracks and chips under extreme conditions.
Maintenance Easy to clean and maintain, minimal risk of staining or damage. Relatively easy to maintain but may require more frequent sealing and cleaning.
Visual Appeal High-end aesthetic, various colors, sizes, shapes, and finishes. Versatile options, different colors, patterns, textures, glazed or unglazed.
Cost Tends to be more expensive ($3 - $10 per sq. ft.). Typically more affordable ($1 - $5 per sq. ft.), cost depends on type and use.
Installation and Repairs More difficult to cut and install, may require specialized tools. Easier to cut and install, less expensive to replace if damaged.
Weight Denser and heavier, may require additional subfloor support. Lighter and easier to handle during installation.
Water & Heat Resistance More resistant to water and stains. Relatively resistant but may require regular maintenance.
Care and Cleaning Requirements Easier to clean due to non-porous surface. May require more regular cleaning due to porous surface.
Lifespan Longer lifespan with proper care. May require more frequent replacement due to porosity.
Uses Suitable for outdoor use, shower stalls, high-traffic areas. Versatile, suitable for kitchens, entryways, decorative accents.

Durability and Maintenance

Porcelain tiles are known for their exceptional durability thanks to their dense, hard material. They're also more resistant to extreme temperatures and can be used in outdoor areas, while ceramic tiles may crack or chip under these conditions. Porcelain tiles are also less likely to fade over time and they maintain their original appearance for many years.

In terms of maintenance, porcelain tiles are easy to clean and maintain, with minimal risk of staining or damage. Many of our customers enjoy that they don't require sealing and can be cleaned with just soap and water or a mild cleaning solution.

Ceramic tiles, while still relatively easy to maintain, may require more frequent sealing and cleaning to maintain their appearance over time. They're also more susceptible to scratches and stains than porcelain tiles. These are important differences to consider before you make your decision.

Better at Durability: Porcelain tiles.

Visual Appeal

Visual Appeal
Patio Porcelain Tile

Porcelain and ceramic tiles both offer a wide range of options when it comes to visual appeal. Porcelain tiles are a popular choice for those looking to achieve a high-end aesthetic in their space and they come in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and finishes.

This means that homeowners have plenty of options to customize their flooring. For instance, Milestone porcelain tile in Chalk offers a sophisticated and contemporary look with its neutral tones and matte finish.

Ceramic tiles are offered in different colors, patterns, and textures and they can be glazed or unglazed, offering different levels of texture and shine. Ultimately, the visual appeal of porcelain and ceramic tiles will depend on your personal preference and the specific style that you want to achieve.

Better at Visual Appeal: Porcelain tiles.


We know that cost is another important factor in your decision. When it comes to cost, the porcelain and ceramic tile difference can vary. Porcelain tile tends to be more expensive than ceramic tile due to its manufacturing process and higher-quality materials.

The average cost of porcelain tile is around $3 to $10 per square foot, while ceramic tile typically ranges from $1 to $5 per square foot. However, the cost of both types of tile can vary depending on factors such as size, design, and location. Whether porcelain or ceramic tile is more expensive will depend on the specific type of tile and the intended use.

Budget Friendly: Ceramic tiles.

Installation and Repairs

Installation and Repairs
The Porcelain Tile Design

When it comes to ceramic vs. porcelain tile flooring installation and repairs, there are some key differences to keep in mind. While both types of tile can be installed using a similar process, porcelain tiles are denser than ceramic tiles, making them more difficult to cut and install. As a result, porcelain tile installation may require specialized tools and expertise, adding to the overall project cost.

In terms of repairs, both porcelain and ceramic tiles can be repaired if damaged. However, porcelain tiles tend to be more expensive to replace due to their higher base cost.

Easier at Installation: Ceramic tiles.

More Budget-Friendly to Replace: Ceramic tiles.


Weight is another consideration. When comparing porcelain vs ceramic tile weight, it's important to note that porcelain tiles are denser and heavier than ceramic tiles. As we discussed above, the high-temperature firing process results in a denser, harder material that is more resistant to water, stains, and scratches than ceramic tiles. It makes them more difficult to handle during installation.

Additionally, the weight of porcelain tiles may require additional support from the subfloor or underlayment. However, this added weight also makes porcelain tiles more durable and suitable for areas with heavy traffic. On the other hand, the lighter weight of ceramic tiles can make them easier to cut and install, but they may not be as durable as porcelain tiles.

So the decision between ceramic or porcelain tiles' weight will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the project.

Porcelain tiles are heavier and more durable, while ceramic tiles are lighter and easier to install.

Water & Heat Resistance

Water & Heat Resistance
Ceramic Water Durability

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles offer good resistance to water and heat, but there are differences between the two. Porcelain tiles are denser and less porous than ceramic tiles, making them more resistant to water and stains.

Ceramic tiles, while still relatively resistant to water and heat, may be more susceptible to damage from exposure to moisture or high temperatures. They're best suited for use in low-traffic areas and may require regular maintenance to prevent staining or damage.

Better at Water & Heat Resistance: Porcelain tiles.

Care and Cleaning Requirements

Porcelain tiles are generally easier to clean and maintain than ceramic tiles due to their dense, non-porous surface, which makes them less susceptible to staining and water damage. They can be easily cleaned with a damp mop and mild cleaning solution.

On the other hand, ceramic tiles may require more regular maintenance and cleaning due to their more porous surface. Regular sweeping or vacuuming is recommended to remove dirt and debris, followed by a damp mop with a mild cleaning solution.

In terms of care, both porcelain and ceramic tiles can be susceptible to damage from heavy impacts or sharp objects. It's important to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive tools when cleaning or maintaining either type of tile.

Easier to Maintain: Porcelain tiles.


There's also a difference between porcelain and ceramic floor tile lifespan; porcelain tiles generally have a longer lifespan than ceramic tiles. Impressively, porcelain tiles can last for decades with proper care and maintenance, making them a worthwhile investment for high-traffic areas.

Ceramic tiles, on the other hand, may require more frequent replacement due to their more porous surface, which makes them more susceptible to damage over time. The lifespan of ceramic vs. porcelain tiles can also be impacted by factors such as the installation location, exposure to moisture or extreme temperatures, and level of foot traffic.

Longer Lifespan: Porcelain tiles.

Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tiles Uses

Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tiles Uses
Porcelain Variation

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles have a wide range of uses, from flooring and walls to backsplashes and shower stalls.

When choosing between ceramic vs. porcelain tiles for a shower or bathroom flooring, porcelain tiles are a popular choice due to their water-resistant and durable properties. Porcelain tiles are also suitable for outdoor use and can be used for patios, pool surrounds, and other outdoor spaces.

Ceramic tiles may be a better choice for areas with less moisture exposure, such as kitchens, laundry rooms, and entryways. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, making them a versatile choice for a range of design styles. Ceramic tiles can also be used for decorative accents such as borders, medallions, and mosaics.

Deciding Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles: Key Differences Summarized

When choosing new tiles for your home, two of the most popular options are porcelain and ceramic. Though similar in some ways, there are key differences between the two worth considering before making a selection. The table below summarizes the main characteristics and uses of porcelain and ceramic tile to help guide your decision.

Porcelain often excels at replicating natural stone and wood looks, while ceramic provides endless creative design options. But there are also differences in cost, durability, and maintenance to weigh. Factors like your lifestyle, budget, and goals for the space should inform your choice between these two tile types. Understanding the unique properties of porcelain versus ceramic will help ensure you end up with beautiful, functional tiles you’ll love for years to come.


In summary, the decision to choose between ceramic vs porcelain tiles depends on a variety of factors including durability, water resistance, maintenance, cost, and design options. Each type of tile has its unique advantages and can create beautiful and functional spaces when installed properly.

If you're looking for high-quality porcelain tiles or a vast collection of natural stones, contact Stone Center or visit our website and find the perfect tiles, pavers, or copings for your space. We have been a leading Ohio stone supplier since 1952 and we're happy to assist you with your flooring options.


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Jon Smiley

Jon, the owner of Stone Center, is a knowledgeable expert in natural stone products, specializing in various types of stone for landscaping and architectural projects. Passionate about promoting the beauty and versatility of natural stone, Jon aims to use these blogs to inspire readers with creative ideas to upgrade their homes.

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