Most people not in the know assume that tile is tile, and there is not much difference between ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles. However, there are many differences between them and those differences should be considered when deciding what tiles to use for your bathroom, kitchen, home, or business.
Porcelain tile is a subtype of ceramic tile. It is generally made using a dust-pressed method, which creates a dense, impervious, fine-grained tile with a smooth and sharply formed face. It does not need to be glazed (although it can be) like regular ceramic tile to be water resistant or stain resistant, and the color of porcelain tile goes all the way through, instead of being present only in the glaze. This is great if your tile ends up chipped, since the damaged area will be the same color as the rest of the tile. Certified porcelain tile is more appropriate for outdoor use, and is great for use in bathrooms and laundry rooms where moisture is prevalent. Porcelain tile does tend to be more expensive, but is more durable and more able to withstand heavy traffic.
Ceramic tile is what most people think of when they think of tile. It can be used for floors, backsplashes, showers, and tubs. It is not as dense as porcelain tile because it is fired at a lower temperature than porcelain, and is also softer. In general, ceramic tile is less expensive than porcelain tile, and it is easier to install since it doesn’t need a diamond bladed wet saw and can be cut using a simple tile cutter. Because it is softer, ceramic tile is more appropriate for low to moderate traffic areas. If the tiles sustain damage, the color underneath the glaze will become visible and can stand out.
Overall, both porcelain and ceramic tiles have many pros and cons. Both are versatile in their applications, whether you desire it for kitchen floors, bathroom floors, or backsplashes or showers.