Porcelain Or Ceramic?

Tiles are building materials that are known for their durability and moisture resistance. The two most common types of tiles are ceramic and porcelain tiles, and each one has different uses based on their strengths and weaknesses.

PEI ratings ( Porcelain Enamel Institute) is a quick and easy way to decide which tile is suitable for your space depending based on whether it is a low or high traffic area.

Tiles are grading on a scale of 0-5 depending on the hardness of the tile:

  • PEI O - No traffic (wall tiles)

  • PEI 1 - Very light traffic (e.g. Bathroom)

  • PEI 2 - Light traffic (bathroom & bedroom)

  • PEI 3 - Light to moderate traffic (suitable for domestic floors)

  • PEI 4 - Moderate to heavy traffic (domestic floors and some commercial uses)

  • PEI 5 - Heavy traffic (domestic and all commercial uses with heavy foot traffic)

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are made using a specific type of clay which has finely-ground sand and feldspar. The tiles are fired at a higher temperature than ceramic which helps to make porcelain tiles very durable. This clay is also denser and less porous.

Porcelain tiles are mostly used on:

  • Floors

  • Walls

  • Commercial properties (hotels, offices, retail outlets)

  • Areas with high moisture levels 

  • High foot traffic

  • Outside 

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are made using natural, red, brown or white clay. First the clay is fired at a high temperature to reduce the water content, then the glaze and pattern is applied. The clay that is used to make ceramic tiles is more porous than porcelain tiles.

Ceramic tiles are generally used for:

  • Walls and floors

  • Home interiors & exteriors

  • Commercial interior walls

  • Commercial wall & floor (depending on grade)


Is Porcelain Or Ceramic Better?

Which one is better? Porcelain or ceramic? Well, it all depends. The different tiles are suitable for different areas of the house. The two biggest considerations are usually the cost and water resistance. As mentioned before, porcelain tiles have a greater water resistance so they work well in rooms subject to a lot of moisture, such as the outdoor patios.

Another thing to consider is the high traffic versus low traffic areas. Porcelain tiles are better in high traffic areas due to their density, such as hospitals, supermarkets, banks. However, if you opt to use ceramic tiles in these applications, it is recommend to use a PEI 5 tile. Ceramic tiles have a softer surface and have a tendency to stay cooler than porcelain tiles. This makes them more popular in warmer climates.

Choosing between porcelain and ceramic tiles can mean prioritising durability, water resistance, and the look and feel of the tiles.