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Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile

Porcelain and non-porcelain tile might look the same, but their durability differs

All tiles made of clay and cured by heat are ceramic tiles.  However, ceramic tile is best understood by dividing it into two product classifications:  porcelain and non-porcelain.  Their availability and look are roughly the same, but their durability is not.

Porcelain tile is more durable and is the top choice when strength matters most. Although nonporcelain tiles can be quite durable, none are as resilient as porcelain. Porcelain tiles are created by mixing porcelain clay and very finely ground sand, and curing them with high heat and pressure. Porcelain tile is denser and harder than nonporcelain tile and has a lower water-absorption rate of 0.5% or less. Porcelain’s density makes it highly resistant to physical damage, while its low absorption rate makes the tile frost resistant, allowing it to be used outdoors. Unglazed porcelain tile is sought after for its full-body characteristics, which means its color remains consistent throughout the tile. Surface scratches are less noticeable as a result, a benefit that diminishes when the tiles are glazed.

Non-porcelain tile is easier to work with

Non-porcelain tiles are made primarily of clay mixed with minerals and water. The material is then fired to solidify the tiles into a bisque form. This process creates tile that isn’t as hard as porcelain, so it can be worked more easily with basic snap cutters and nippers instead of a wet saw.  A sealer and a glaze are applied to the surface of non-porcelain tile to create color and texture before the tile receives a second firing.Even though damage to non-porcelain tiles is more noticeable than with some porcelain tile, they can be purchased in grades that are perfectly suited for high-contact areas like kitchen counters and floors.Non-porcelain tile’s main weakness is that it has a water-absorption rate of greater than 0.5%. As a result, the tile doesn’t perform nearly as well as unglazed porcelain tile in outdoor freeze/thaw environments

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About Me

Deborah Faulkner-Jones

I am the co-owner of Creative Tile Designs. Moving from San Diego in 1995, I have brought 30 years experience in all phases of design to the Treasure Valley. I am a “hands on” designer and have spent years setting tile and stone, faux painting, hanging wallpaper, and manufacturing custom draperies. Within the company, my responsibilities include all in-home consultations, estimates, and project management. I will be with you from day one and throughout your project until it is 100% completed to your satisfaction.

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Professional Stone and Tile Design and Installation
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
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