Porcelain vs. Ceramic Tile: What’s Right for Your Home?


Are you redesigning or renovating your home? Are you trying to choose between porcelain vs ceramic tile? Did you even know there’s a difference?

The decision can be difficult and confusing, but once you study up on all there is to know about both Porcelaine stoneware and Ceramic, you’ll be fully equipped to make the right choice for your home and your needs.

Of course, it also depends on where you’re using the tile. Your kitchen needs will differ greatly from the tile needs in your bathroom.

Read on for help weighing the decision between porcelain vs ceramic tile.

Things to Know About Porcelain Tile

Both porcelain and ceramic are in the ceramic family of materials. Tile shops recall porcelain’s roots as cowrie shell in Italian mythology, and this makes up one of the major differences in the two types of tile.

Fine porcelain is usually white and strong but very fine. It is a dense material that is slightly translucent and very delicate.

Today, there are different certifications to signify that is something is porcelain.

Though porcelain vs ceramic tile are very similar, they differ greatly from other types of tile like glass, natural stone, and quarry tiles.


Porcelain has a very low water absorption rate.

When it’s being crafted, the fired tile is weighed and then boiled for 5 hours. The next 24 hours, it spends sitting in water.

It is then weighed again and if it weighs only a fraction of a percent more due to water absorbing into its surface, then it is given the name porcelain.

Porcelain has fewer impurities than ceramic does but often contains more kaolin. It is also a bit denser than ceramic, which makes it harder and less sensitive to moisture. Porcelain is fired at a higher temperature than ceramic and for a longer amount of time.

Overall, porcelain is more durable than ceramic in most cases. This is also partly due to the fact that porcelain is the same all the way through. If you chip it, it will be hardly noticeable because the color is the same underneath.

The same is not true for ceramic. If you chip a ceramic tile, you will find a different color underneath the top layer of color.


The drawbacks of porcelain really depend on what you plan to use it for. While it is a beautiful and valuable fine material, it chips and breaks easily. It’s great for decorative purposes and fine tableware, but probably not for an outdoor pool area!

It can also add a beautiful touch to a bathroom, but do be careful of the dangers of cracking.

It is not recommended to use porcelain outside. It is not a very durable material for that kind of wear. Because it is so delicate, it cracks very easily and is too sensitive a material for outdoor use, especially as a flooring choice.

In addition, porcelain is always a fine white color. Though it can be painted, it does not have the same color variations as ceramic does.

Both porcelain and ceramic will likely require a professional for home installation. They are delicate materials that can easily break if not handled properly.

Things to Know About Ceramic Tile

When it comes to brainstorming decorating ideas for your home, ceramic tile may come to mind.

It is a beautiful material that can be used for all sorts of decorative purposes and even as flooring, countertops, or walls. Both ceramic and porcelain can be cleaned very easily with a wet sponge or mop.

While ceramic can be great for countertops or backsplashes, you want to make sure to be gentle with it. Though it is not super obvious when it chips, it does break very easily.


When weighing the cost of porcelain vs ceramic tile, it’s important to note that ceramic tile is cheaper than porcelain tile.

In addition, because ceramic is less dense than porcelain, it is easier to cut.

Homeowners can DIY cutting ceramic tile, but would likely need to hire an expert to cut porcelain without breaking it. Porcelain is a bit too brittle to be handled by the untrained hand.

Ceramic comes in red, brown, or white clays. It is much more porous than porcelain.

It’s great for interior use on walls or floors. It adds a shiny, beautiful, and refined yet classic look to any home. In addition, the natural coolness of ceramic tile flooring is beloved in warm climates. It can be a great choice for places that tend to be more hot or tropical.


Like porcelain, ceramic tile is not recommended for outdoor use.

It absorbs too much water, and therefore is very susceptible to cracking. Areas that get cold and freeze would likely lead to cracked ceramic during the first freeze of the season.

People typically opt to use stone instead, which does not have as much sensitivity to the weather conditions.

Plus, cooler climates do not mix well with the natural coolness of ceramic tile. Instead of insulating a home, it can actually make it feel more chilly.

In addition, you do not want to use ceramic in areas that will receive heavy use. Besides being fragile, ceramic tiles are easier to stain.

Ceramic has a much higher absorption rate than porcelain, so any spills will need to be cleaned up quickly to avoid staining as much as possible.

Areas exposed to a lot of moisture, like a shower or a patio in more humid climates, are not an ideal place to install ceramic.

Need Help Deciding Between Porcelain vs Ceramic Tile?

If you need some additional help as you weigh porcelain vs ceramic tile, we are here for you.

Our site contains plenty of design inspiration, how-tos, and all sorts of tips and tools you can use for your craftiest ideas. We exist to help DIY bloggers craft their hearts out.

Contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss the ins and outs of porcelain vs ceramic tile with us.