This is a question that I am asked all the time. The other question that usually comes with it is-
Which is easier to install? Porcelain tile or ceramic tile?
When laying Ceramic Tile or Porcelain tile there is really only one difference. That is cutting the tile. If you use a tile cutter with the correct wheel this isn’t that difficult.
I explain the different cutting methods in my post How to Cut Porcelain Tile
I do want to recommend just using a wet saw. The reason for this is simply that a wet saw is the easiest cutting tool to use.
The other tool to go with that, would be an angle grinder with a diamond cutting wheel. Both of these tools together will give you success in cutting any Tile.
The Myth of Ceramic Tile
Some of the most expensive tile that I’ve ever installed was a Ceramic. There really is a lot of high quality ceramic tile on the market.
I think that there is a myth out there that ceramic is not a good tile. That is simply not true at all.
Have you ever been to the restaurant – Olive Garden? That is ceramic tile my friend. In a restaurant, that gets a ton of traffic. Have you ever walked into one that wasn’t full? I haven’t!
I don’t think they would use it if it was junk! There are many restaurants, businesses and homes that use ceramic tile.
Like anything though, there is CHEAPLY MADE ceramic tile.
Like the old saying goes, ” you get what you pay for!”.
Ceramic is a softer tile. Because of this, it can chip a little easier. So if you drop something on it’ there is a better chance that it will chip.
I’m talking about heavy items, like a hammer or something like that. When laying ceramic tile, just make sure you get full coverage of thin set on the back of the tile.
This would be the same with any tile though. Then everything will be fine.
Porcelain Tile is King
This seams to be an accurate statement these days. Retailers have done a great job marketing how great porcelain is.
Don’t get me wrong, I like porcelain tile. I have porcelain in my house. I don’t have anything negative to say about it either, so I’ll give you the benefits.
It is a stronger tile(period). However, there is some pretty crappy porcelain out there. I have seen some junk for sale.
Just be careful not to get caught up with the sales pitch-
It’s porcelain tile, so it’s good!
Some porcelain tile is made thinner, therefor it can be sold for a lesser cost. Just keep your eyes open for when you see a sweet deal on a porcelain tile.
You can take a piece and compare it to others. Here are a few things to look for-
- compare thickness
- compare how much it weighs(just put one in each hand)
- look through a few boxes and see how many different patterns there are .
sometimes there are only three different patterns when you are buying a tile that is on SALE. You don’t want to get a box that has only one of those patterns in it!
So which is Better?
In my opinion, I would always use porcelain on the floor. It’s stronger and in my house I need stronger!
There is another benefit to porcelain tile. You can buy a through body porcelain which will have the same color all the way through the tile.
So if a chip does occur, than it’s not as noticeable.
If you have any questions or comments please list them below.
The only way to the Father is through the Son!
You keep mentioning thickness. How thick should the tile be? At the minimum?
floor tile should be close to 3/8 in my opinion.
I am looking for a tile that looks like wood. I saw some porcelain tile I liked but the wood image is put on with a laser. What are your thoughts on the durability of this type of design?
Dan, I’ve worked a lot with these types of tile and the quality and the quality is very good. You should be fine with whatever you choose. I prefer the laser image over a textured tile because it’s easier to grout.
Other than the weight of the tile, how dan you tell if the porcelain tile is of good quality? Also what is the average cost of porcelain tile? Thanks
Great question! You can also look at the thickness of the tile and compare it to others. Most of the time price is the tell tale of the quality of a tile. (Not always) if you are buying tile at one of the home improvement stores for a bargain, chances are that it is not top quality. Keep in mind though, setting the tile correctly with a quality thin set is where most of the strength comes from. Porcelain(even the inexpensive porcelains) will be a lot less chip resistant than a ceramic and will perform well if installed correctly.
Thanks and Amen!