Porcelain tile is about as ubiquitous as building materials come. It has been used for hundreds of years & continues to evolve as new technologies emerge. Yet despite its popularity, many people do not understand what it is, why it is used, or how it compares to other tile options.
What is porcelain tile? How does it compare to ceramic tile?
Porcelain tile is a type of ceramic tile. Ceramic tiles are all made of pure natural resources, like clay, sand, quartz, kaolin, & feldspar, and do not contain any glue, resin, or cement. They are also pressed & fired in a kiln. Porcelain tiles are made with very fine porcelain clays & fired at extremely high temperatures, so the resulting tiles are extremely hard & dense. Due to their high density, porcelain tiles absorb less than 0.5% of water, which is less other non-porcelain tiles.
Why is porcelain tile so popular?
Because of its high density & water resistance, porcelain tile is suitable for a very wide range of applications, including both walls & floors, interior & exterior, and residential & commercial applications. It also comes in an extremely wide variety of sizes, colors, patterns, & finishes, making it as aesthetically pleasing as it is practical.
What are the benefits to porcelain tile?
There are a lot of reasons why porcelain tile might be the right choice for your project, and some of them may surprise you! Porcelain tile is...
Safe. Porcelain tile is inherently VOC-free and plastic free. It is also hygienic, hypoallergenic, and odorless. Unlike other options, porcelain is also inhospitable to bacteria, mold, & mildew, which means a healthier home for you & your family.
Fireproof. Porcelain tile does not burn, melt, or release toxic fumes when exposed to fire.
Environmentally friendly. Porcelain tile is one of the most eco-friendly flooring options on the market. It has excellent thermal mass, which reduces the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home. It also reduces waste due to its incredibly long lifespan. Unlike many other options, porcelain tile lasts for generations to come.
Recyclable. Both the packaging and the tile itself are fully recyclable!
Stain resistant. Porcelain tile is impervious to water & other liquids, making it an excellent choice for showers, mudrooms, & anywhere else where stain resistance is a top priority.
Extremely durable. Because it is extremely hard & dense, porcelain tile is very difficult to crack, scratch, or otherwise damage.
Suitable for outdoor applications. Porcelain tile will not fade in the sunlight or crack in freezing temperatures, making it a great outdoor flooring material.
Easy to clean. Let kids & pets do their worst! Porcelain wipes clean with ordinary household cleaners and does not require any special products or treatments. You can also clean it with just about anything, because it is resistant to acids & chemicals.
What does porcelain tile look like?
Porcelain tile is available in ever-increasing combinations of color, shape, size, pattern, & thickness. It is available in every color under the sun and can look like marble, wood, encaustic cement, or anything else you can dream up. No matter your style, your options are infinite with porcelain!
When it comes to aesthetics, what is the difference between porcelain & natural stone?
Natural stones, like marble & travertine, have a tremendous amount of inherit variation, and other than changing up the finish or using an enhancing sealer, very little can be done to alter the way that they look. Whatever comes out of the ground is what it's going to look like. While this uniqueness makes a particularly beautiful lot of natural stone even more precious, it also makes it more expensive.
Porcelain, on the other hand, is a man-made material, so the designs are predetermined with a certain styles, color trends, & end results in mind. This makes them much more predictable. It is also easier to find a good-looking porcelain product at lower price points since popular designs can be mass-produced.
We hope you found this helpful. If you have additional questions about porcelain tile & its uses, drop them in the comments below!