The difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles

Porcelain and ceramic tiles are both made from clay that is combined with various minerals including quartz, which gives them added strength and longevity. Their differences, however, may mean that one or the other is more suitable for the project you have in mind.

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Tiles have surged in popularity over recent years in part because, as this Building Design and Construction article demonstrates, the variety of different looks that can be achieved are vast. To help you choose tiles that are appropriate for your project, here are the differences between ceramic and porcelain tiles.


Porcelain tiles

Usage of the word porcelain can be traced back to the 1200s and has been used for centuries to refer to gleaming white finishes achieved by using the finest quality kaolin clay. Now, manufacturers often label their products as either ‘certified porcelain’ or ‘uncertified porcelain’.

Uncertified and certified porcelain

Largely a marketing term, uncertified porcelain isn’t reflective of the composition of the materials used, or the resulting quality of the tile. Manufacturers do not have to have their products tested if they are labelling them as uncertified porcelain, and the term generally encapsulates every form of ceramic tile. Each product labelled as certified porcelain however, will have gone through a testing process to verify its composition and quality.

Characteristics of porcelain tiles

Certified porcelain tiles have a lower water absorption rate, are more durable, harder and have an increased resistance to general wear and tear. The composition of a porcelain tile means it is more dense, and the higher firing temperatures used during the production process results in increased strength.

Every high-quality online flooring company, such as, should label their products in a way that describes whether they will be suitable for your project. Whereas ceramic tiles are more suitable in dry, low impact areas, certified porcelain tiles are more suited to wet areas, and those that experience high levels of foot traffic, such as hallways and living spaces.


Certified porcelain tiles are more expensive than their ceramic counterparts because they are more durable and are made from higher quality materials. It is also important to note that installation prices also tend to be more expensive for certified porcelain tiles because their durability requires the use of more expensive cutting equipment.