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

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Choosing between porcelain and natural stone for your project can be a tough decision. While natural stone has long been favored for its timeless beauty, porcelain is becoming an increasingly popular option among homeowners in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the key differences between porcelain tiles and natural stones to help you determine which option is best for your project. Our experts at Stone Center will guide you through the pros and cons of porcelain and natural stone, ensuring that you make an informed decision for your home.

What Is the Structure Difference Between Porcelain and Natural Stone?

What Is the Structure Difference Between Porcelain and Natural Stone?
The Natural Stone Design

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 Tiles and Natural Stone

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

#1. Cost

When it comes to comparing porcelain and natural stone, cost is an important factor to consider. Porcelain tiles typically range from $3 to $10 per square foot, making them a more affordable option. On the other hand, natural stone tiles can range from $5 to $20 per square foot, depending on the type of stone chosen. Understanding the cost differences can help you make the best decision when selecting between porcelain and natural stone for your project.

More Affordable: Porcelain

#2. Installation Process

#2. Installation Process
The Porcelain Tile Instalation Process

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, which makes 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. If you're looking for a cost-effective and straightforward installation option, porcelain tiles may be the best choice for your project.

Easier to Install: Porcelain

#3. Value

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.

More Valuable: Tie

#4. Durability

#4. Durability
The Porcelain Tile Variation

Porcelain tile is generally considered to be more durable than stone tile; it’s 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.

More Durable: Porcelain

#5. 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.

More Stain-resistant: Porcelain

#6. 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.

More Moisture-resistant: Porcelain

#7. Appearance

#7. Appearance
The Porcelain Pavers

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.

More Attractive: Natural stone

#8. Maintenance

Porcelain vs Natural Stone Tile: Main Distinctions
Criteria Porcelain Natural Stone
Cost Generally more affordable, ranging from $3 to $10 per sq ft. Can be more expensive, ranging from $5 to $20 per sq ft.
Installation Process Relatively easier to install due to uniform shape and size. Requires experienced installers due to natural variations in shape and size.
Value Offers good value for the price. Considered a premium option, enhancing the value of the space.
Durability Highly durable, with resistance to scratches, chips, and wear. Each type of stone varies in durability, with some being more susceptible to damage.
Stain Prevention Porcelain's non-porous surface makes it highly resistant to stains. Natural stone may require sealing to prevent stains from absorbing.
Moisture Resistance Porcelain is highly moisture-resistant, suitable for areas prone to moisture. Natural stone may require additional sealing to maintain moisture resistance.
Appearance Offers a wide range of colors and patterns, with the ability to mimic natural stone. Unique and distinctive natural variations in color, veining, and texture.
Maintenance Low maintenance, requiring simple cleaning and occasional sealing. Can require more maintenance, including regular sealing and specialized care.

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.

Easier to Care: Porcelain


The Porcelain Tiles Patio

Natural Stone vs Porcelain: Style Ideas for Your Home Exterior

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


For many homeowners, the elegance of natural stone tile flooring is irresistible. Materials like marble, travertine, and slate create a timeless, luxurious look. However, porcelain tile has become an extremely viable alternative. As production methods advance, porcelain tiles can emulate the beauty of stone while being more durable, affordable, and easier to maintain. Porcelain tile floors can provide the look of stone with greater stain, scratch, and water resistance.


Natural Stone Tiles Patio

Natural stone tiles and porcelain offer unique style ideas for your home exterior, particularly the patio. Natural stone tiles, with their organic textures and earthy tones, create a rustic and natural ambiance. On the other hand, porcelain tiles provide a sleek and modern look with a wide range of colors and patterns. Whether you prefer the elegance of natural stone or the contemporary aesthetic of porcelain, both options can transform your patio into a stunning outdoor space.


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, if you want a more versatile and low-maintenance option, stone wall pavers may be a better choice.


When designing your home's exterior, consider using porcelain or natural stone for coping along the pools or walls. Both offer durability to withstand weathering. Porcelain resists fading, while natural stone develops a patina. Evaluate your climate and desired aesthetic to choose between uniform porcelain or the organic variations of natural stone.

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

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

Both porcelain and natural stone offer beauty and durability, but porcelain provides greater consistency and lower maintenance. As you evaluate porcelain vs. natural stone for your next project, consider your priorities in terms of appearance, maintenance, and budget.

Regardless of your choice, our team at Stone Center is here to help. For the highest quality porcelain tiles and natural stone from a reputable supplier, contact us today. With an extensive selection of premium porcelain and natural stone, we can help you select the best materials for your unique vision.


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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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