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Porcelain vs. Natural Stone: What Is the Best Option for Your Project?

As you plan for an exterior home renovation project, the choice of materials can be daunting. With so many options available, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Particularly, we've noticed that the decision between porcelain pavers and natural stones has been a common debate.

At Stone Center, located in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, we understand this decision-making process can be stressful as you want to make an investment that you'll love for years to come. That's why we've put together this article to help you explore the differences between these two materials so you can make the best choice for your project.

What Is the Structure Difference Between Porcelain and Natural Stone?

Let's start with the basics. Porcelain tiles are made from a type of ceramic clay that's fired at very high temperatures, resulting in a dense and durable tile. The surface of a porcelain tile is typically smooth and consistent, with uniform coloring throughout.

On the other hand, natural stone tiles are cut from quarried stone such as marble, granite, or slate. Each stone tile has its own unique variations in color, veining, and texture due to the natural geological processes that formed it. Natural stone tiles tend to have a more organic and irregular surface compared to porcelain tiles, a look that appeals to many homeowners.

Comparing Porcelain Tile and Stone

porcelain pavers vs stone pavers

Evaluating each material feature by various features can help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and design preferences.

Cost and Tile Installation Process

Porcelain tiles are generally less expensive than natural stone tiles, with the average price per square foot ranging from $3 to $10 for porcelain and $5 to $20 for natural stone. However, prices can vary depending on the type of stone and porcelain that's being used, as well as their quality and availability.

In terms of installation, porcelain tiles are easier to install when compared with natural stone, especially for DIY projects. Porcelain tiles are uniform in size and shape, making them easier to cut and fit together along uniform grout lines. Natural stone tiles, on the other hand, require more care and expertise during installation, as they vary in size and shape and can be more challenging to cut and install. Therefore, if you're looking for a cost-effective and straightforward installation option, porcelain tiles may be the best choice for your project.


There's no doubt that both porcelain tiles and natural stone tiles can increase the value of your home, but natural stone typically offers a higher return on investment. According to the National Association of Home Builders, installing natural stone tiles can yield a return of up to 90% of the installation cost, while porcelain tile can yield a return of up to 70% of the installation cost. This is due to the perceived luxury and high-end look of natural stone that can attract potential buyers and increase your property value.

However, the return on investment ultimately depends on various factors such as the quality of the installation and the overall design of the space.


porcelain tile and stone

Porcelain tile is generally considered to be more durable than stone tile; it is a dense and hard material that's highly resistant to scratches, stains, and water damage. Many homeowners love the extremely tough conditions that porcelain can withstand.

In contrast, natural stones can be more susceptible to chipping and cracking, especially if the stones aren't properly sealed.

However, the durability of both types of tile can be impacted by factors such as the level of foot traffic and the maintenance routine, so you'll want to factor in the location in which these stones will live.

Stain Prevention

Porcelain tiles are generally more stain-resistant than natural stone tiles, as the material itself is less porous. Porcelain tile can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth or mild cleaner, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

In contrast, natural stone tiles are more porous and can be more prone to staining and discoloration, especially if the stones aren't properly sealed. Note that regular sealing will be required to keep your natural stone tiles looking their best.

Moisture Resistance

Porcelain tile is highly moisture-resistant, making it an ideal choice for wet areas such as a bathroom, a kitchen, and a laundry room because of its non-porous surface that resists water absorption.

Stone tile, on the contrary, can be more porous, which means it can absorb moisture and water over time. This can lead to discoloration and even structural damage if the moisture isn't adequately addressed.


natural stone tile vs porcelain

Porcelain tile vs. natural stone tile offers different aesthetics, with each option having its own unique beauty.

Porcelain tile can resemble natural stone, but it tends to have a more uniform appearance due to being mass-produced.

Natural flagstone tiles, on the other hand, are admired for their natural variations in color, pattern, and texture, making each tile distinct. The natural beauty of stone can add character and warmth to any space, while porcelain tile offers a sleek and modern look.


When it comes to maintenance, porcelain tile is generally considered to be low-maintenance, while natural stone tile requires more attention to preserve its appearance and durability. Porcelain tile is easy to clean and maintain with regular sweeping and mopping.

In contrast, natural stone tile requires periodic sealing and polishing to prevent staining, etching, and cracking. Additionally, different types of natural stones require different levels of maintenance, so it's important to research and understand the specific needs of each type of stone before you make your decision.

Natural Stone Tile vs. Porcelain Style Ideas for Your Home Exterior

porcelain pavers vs natural stone

As you may know, there are many options for styling your home exterior. You can choose from stone tile vs. porcelain or even a combination of both.

Stone vs. Porcelain Tile Flooring

Outdoor porcelain tiles don't absorb as much heat from the sun as some natural tiles do, making them a cooler and more comfortable option for outdoor patios and pool areas during hot summer days.

Porcelain vs. Stone Walls

Regarding your outdoor spaces, stonewall cladding can add a chic and rustic touch to any design. The style options are virtually endless, with many sizes and colors of natural stone from which you can choose. However, for those seeking a more versatile and low-maintenance option, stone wall pavers may be a better choice.

Stone vs. Porcelain Countertops

For outdoor use, both stone tile vs. porcelain countertops has unique benefits. Smooth, finished porcelain tiles can create an elegant surface for patio spaces that rivals the beauty of natural stones such as marble or travertine. However, natural stone requires more care and maintenance than porcelain.

As a homeowner, it's important to note that marble is prone to stains and rust spots and requires sealing regularly, which can be time-consuming and require shutting down the entertainment area for a few days.

Porcelain Tile vs. Stone Tile: The Choice Is Up to You

The decision between porcelain pavers and natural stone ultimately comes down to personal preference, budget, and the specific needs of your project. Regardless of your choice, both options can enhance the beauty and functionality of your home. No matter what, you don't have to make this important decision alone.

If you're in Ohio and you're searching for the best quality natural stone or porcelain pavers for your upcoming project, we encourage you to visit our Stone Center fabrication shops so you can interact with each material in person and talk with our expert team.

With our guidance, expertise, and premium products, you can make an informed choice and create a stunning renovation with lasting value. Don't hesitate to contact us today to explore your options and get started on your next project!