Choosing the Right Tile

The location in your home really determines which type of tile you should opt for on your next remodel. Although ceramic and porcelain tile have similar characteristics, they should be used in different areas throughout the home.

First off, it is important to know the difference between the two – Porcelain is harder and denser than ceramic tiles which generally makes it more expensive, however this tile is excellent for floors. Porcelain tile is made up of a sand-like material and absorbs less than 0.5% of water. On the other hand, ceramic tile is lighter than porcelain and absorbs more than 0.5% of water due to its porous nature. Ceramic tile is made with clay, minerals and water and are easier to install than porcelain, and less expensive. Ceramic tile is a good choice for tiling the walls, or a backsplash.

Places to opt for the pricier, more durable porcelain tile:

  •  A room with high moisture content – i.e. the bathroom. Porcelain is nearly waterproof ensuring you have the best protection against moisture. The kitchen and mudroom/laundry room also bear the potential threat of  water exposure. The potential leaks from the dishwasher, sink, and/or washing machine in these rooms make porcelain tile the safer and longer-lasting option.
  • Spaces with high foot traffic – living rooms, hallways, mudrooms, kitchens. These areas of the home experience a lot of foot traffic and wear and tear from shoes dragging in the outdoor elements. Although both ceramic and porcelain are better than other flooring types in high-traffic areas, porcelain is denser and offers better long-term resistance to potential scratches.
  • Patio floors – porcelain’s impermeability is key. Especially in areas where you experience freezing temperatures in the winter time, porcelain will stand the test of the elements. When ceramic tile freezes, it absorbs moisture which will cause it to expand and break. Although porcelain is pricier, it will be worth it to install rather than replacing ceramic quite often.

Places to opt for ceramic tile:

  • When your remodel is on a strict budget – porcelain is almost always more expensive than ceramic is. Ceramic usually never costs more then $4 per square foot, and many styles are under $2 per square foot.
  • Do-it-yourself projects – ceramic is much easier to cut and install than porcelain tile. It is less dense and affixes to the floor easier than porcelain, making it the better option for DIY projects.
  • Walls – the walls of your home that aren’t high in moisture content work perfectly for ceramic tile.

It is key to find the right balance between porcelain and ceramic tile based on the type of area they are being installed in. Following these rules of thumb can end up saving you money in the long run by having the right tile in the correct space.


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