While building your home, you’ll have to deal with lots of catch 22. Such as deciding between roofing material types, wall paints, and so many other things.
Same phenomena… I was looking for a clear-cut answer.
That is, whether ceramic or porcelain tiles are good for shower floor and surroundings?
And that drove me into doing lots of research. I dived into expert’s opinion, visited lots of webpages and so on. Because you know, no one would like to regret afterward. Subsequently, it’s the best practice of any project to get into the process with having the proper knowledge.
Hopefully, this will be an all-in-one guide for those with a busy schedule.
If you don’t have time to go digging around for days trying to figure out which is the right bathroom shower tile for you, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I am going to discuss in-depth the differences between porcelain and ceramic tiles.
By the time you’re done reading, you should be in a position to make the right selection based on your needs.
Let’s get started.
What is a ceramic tile?
Ceramic tile is manufactured from brown, white, or red clay. High temperatures are used when firing the clay to minimize the amount of water in the clay. After that, the manufacturer applies the glaze, which gives the tile its pattern.
What is a porcelain tile?
Porcelain tile is considered a cousin of the ceramic tile. This tile is manufactured in a similar manner to ceramic tile, albeit with a few differences.
For instance, feldspar and fine sand are added to the mix.
Porcelain is also made from various forms of natural clay, but the clay has to be very fine. Like with ceramics, the clay gets fired at high heat levels to ensure almost all the water is removed.
That results in a very hard and dense tile that is super sturdy. Because of the extra density and sturdiness, porcelain tiles are more suited for high-traffic areas than ceramic tiles.
Ceramic Vs Porcelain Tiles for Shower?
To help you understand the key differences between ceramic and porcelain tiles and choose the right one for your shower floor and walls, I will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of both types of tiles.
Let’s dive in.
Advantages of Ceramic Tiles
1. Both natural and exotic looks
With ceramic tiles, you have more freedom of choice. If you’re into natural-looking décor, you can go for the unglazed ceramic tile. And if you’re into exotic decors, then you can get the glazed ceramic tiles.
The benefit with unglazed ceramic tiles is affordability, but when it comes to water resistance, they’re not half as good as the glazed ceramic tiles.
What’s more, ceramic tiles come in a much wider array of colors and designs than other flooring options. It’s really easy to get something that will match your decor.
2. Resistance to water
To set the record straight, ceramic tiles are not as good as porcelain tiles when it comes to water resistance. Still, they’re a good option for damp areas such as bathrooms and basements.
As long as you install ceramic tiles properly, you can trust that they will keep the water from seeping through your floor. Just be sure not to wait too long to wipe away the water.
One important thing to keep in mind when installing ceramic tiles is that the grout needs to be high-quality and it needs to be installed correctly.
3. Low cost
One of the reasons why people prefer ceramic tiles over other flooring options is because they are relatively cheaper. You can get excellent designs that match the décor you have in mind without having to pay a fortune.
Ceramics go for an average of 3 to 4 dollars, and they cost as much as 60 percent less than porcelain tiles to install. They’re a great option for someone on a budget.
4. Keeping allergens at bay
Do you suffer from allergies caused by hair, dust, and other items like those? You might find carpets unsuitable as they attract and hold these allergens. By replacing your carpet with ceramic tiles, you might be able to tremendously mitigate against allergic attacks. How does that work? Ceramic tiles don’t attract or hold substances, and cleaning stuff off of them is super easy, thanks to the hard and smooth surface.
Disadvantages of Ceramic Tiles
1. More prone to staining
I mentioned earlier that one of the benefits of ceramic tiles is that they’re easy to rid of hairs and other allergens. But the case doesn’t apply when talking about stains.
Ceramic tiles are more porous than porcelain tiles, which makes it easier for them to attract stains. If you install ceramic tiles, you got to be prepared to protect them from stains. Also, you got to keep bleach and other strong cleaning formulas nearby.
2. Less durable
When it comes to strength, ceramics are not as good as porcelain. They’re more prone to breaking, cracking, and scratching. That is why it is a bad idea to install ceramic tiles in a place where there’s high foot traffic or where heavy objects or furniture is to be placed.
Ceramic tiles are best suited for places like bathrooms, kitchens, and other locations where they’re not subjected to many factors of wear.
Advantages of Porcelain Tiles
1. Resistant to liquids
As mentioned earlier, porcelain tiles are designed to have more density but less porosity than ceramics. These tiles, therefore, are able to resist water and other liquids very efficiently, which makes them ideal for any damp locations such as basements and shower rooms. If you’re looking for tiles that can hold up to moist conditions, porcelain would be a great choice.
2. Resistant to staining
Do you know what makes stains hard to remove from some surfaces than other surfaces? First off, stains affect porous surfaces more, owing to the fact that they get absorbed and set in. It’s no wonder unpainted furniture becomes dirty quicker than painted furniture.
Still, because of the high density and low porosity, porcelain tiles are able to resist stains very well. This benefit makes porcelain tiles a suitable choice for kitchens as they are susceptible to staining from coffee, juice, broth, and other spills.
Porcelain is manufactured with a high degree of care. It is also enhanced with materials like fine sand, and water r is expelled almost to its entirety. Moreover, this tile has low porosity, meaning moisture and stains are kept from getting in and weakening the bonds.
That is what makes porcelain so strong and durable. And, it is unlike ceramic tile, which is known to break more easily. If you’re looking for a tile that is able to withstand heavy furniture or high foot traffic, that would be porcelain.
There are few floor finishing materials that equal or exceed porcelain with regards to durability. This tile is resistant to both scratching and chipping. If you’re looking for something that will last, don’t hesitate to get porcelain.
4. Requires minimal maintenance
When you hear something is able to keep stains and water and bay, and the same item is hard and difficult to wear, then you know you can rest assured you will have less stress when it comes to maintenance.
With porcelain, you won’t struggle to get off the stains. The only part that will probably require attention is the grout (substance used to seal the spaces between tiles).
Porcelain will keep looking great for years even with simple maintenance such as washing regularly.
Disadvantages of Porcelain Tiles
Even with all the advantages of porcelain I have talked about, people still go for ceramic tiles more than porcelain tiles. Here is why:
In the world of floor tiles, porcelain is a premium. It costs more to buy and also costs more to have it installed. According to the Home Advisor, stores in the US charge an average of $3 to $4 dollars per square foot of glazed ceramic tiles. The same data indicates that porcelain goes for $4 to $8 per square foot, which is obviously a higher price range.
Labor also costs more than for porcelain than ceramic tiles. While you can pay as low as $800 to have ceramic tiles installed on a 100 square feet surface, you will likely pay upwards of $1000 to have porcelain tiles installed in the same space.
While it is certainly an advantage for porcelain tiles to be dense, as that makes them strong, that also introduces problems. The main issue with it is that porcelain is heavy. That translates to more difficulty of installation.
Before installing porcelain tiles, consider whether the floor can withstand the weight. This is especially important if you’re installing the tiles on a storied building. If the floor is not strong enough, go for ceramic tiles.
Comparing Ceramic Vs Porcelain Tiles
Now let see the debate at a glance. And see which tile is better for the shower?
Both porcelain and ceramics are made of natural clay. Also, high heat levels are applied in the construction process to rid them of water. The first and main difference lies in the texture of the clay used. For porcelain, finer clay is used, which makes the final product denser.
Kaolin is a kind of fine white and soft sand that is used in the making of various items, including chine and porcelain. Manufacturers source kaolin from feldspar and combine it with fine sand in the manufacturing process to make porcelain tiles stronger.
Water absorption rate
According to experts, ceramic tiles absorb more water than porcelain tiles. That owes to the fact that porcelain is denser, and hence more capable of keeping water at bay than ceramic tiles.
It’s the same reason folks prefer porcelain tiles for damp areas such as the bathroom and the basement.
That being said, the difference is not all that considerable. Ceramics can be relied upon to keep the water from soaking the floor, just as long as the installation of the tiles was done correctly by a competent person. The grout used also serves to determine the water-resistance of the floor.
As mentioned before, porcelain tiles are denser than ceramic tiles. That means the former is heavier and more resistant to water than the latter. Still, as I elucidated earlier, finer clay enhanced with kaolin is used in the manufacture of porcelain tiles. That translates to more strength, which subsequently means porcelain tiles are tougher and more durable than ceramic tiles.
If you’re looking for something that will not break or get scratched easily, you’d be better off getting porcelain tiles instead of ceramics. That doesn’t mean that ceramic tiles are useless. They’re still sturdier than other flooring options such as wood.
The extra perks that porcelain presents don’t come free of charge. Porcelain typically costs more to purchase than ceramic tiles. Also, the cost of labor for porcelain tile installation is usually 60% more than that of ceramics.
So, Which One to Choose for The Shower?
A shower is a place that is exposed to water and dampness. That means you need something that will efficiently keep the water from seeping through the floor as that can cause damage to the floor. Water seeping through the floor can also keep the bathroom damp and encourage the growth of bacteria.
Considering these facts, it is better to go for porcelain. Even though both porcelain and ceramics are resistant to water, porcelain is more efficient at keeping the water from seeping through. It is more water-resistant.
That being said, ceramic tiles are also pretty water-resistant.
I would recommend going for ceramic tiles for the shower rather than porcelain tiles if you’re in any f these positions:
- You’re on a budget – ceramics cost less to buy and install.
- You’re looking for a very specific color or style – ceramics are available in a wider range with regards to colors and styles.
- You’re concerned about the sturdiness of the floor – ceramic tiles are lighter than porcelain tiles.
- You want to do the installation yourself – it is easier to work with ceramic tiles than porcelain tiles.
Most people prefer ceramic tiles to porcelain tiles for the lower price and cost of installation associated. Ceramics also offers a wider range of colors and designs to choose from that porcelain.
However, I would recommend that you consider your exact needs before settling on the type to purchase. For instance, if you have pets around the house or for whatever reason you’re concerned about dealing with stains, porcelain would be the better option.
Glad I could help! Feel free to share your thoughts.