Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile: Which is Right for You?

Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile: Which is Right for You?

When it comes to selecting the right tile for your home, the choice often boils down to ceramic vs. porcelain. Both types of tiles are popular choices for flooring, backsplashes, and bathroom walls, but they come with distinct characteristics that may make one more suitable than the other depending on your specific needs. In this blog, we will delve into the differences between ceramic and porcelain tiles to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding the Basics

What is Ceramic Tile?

Ceramic tiles are made from natural clay that is fired in a kiln at a high temperature. The result is a hard, durable surface that can be glazed with various colors and patterns or left unglazed for a natural look. Ceramic tiles are known for their versatility and are commonly used in residential projects due to their ease of cutting and installation.

What is Porcelain Tile?

Porcelain tiles are a type of ceramic tile, but they are made from a more refined clay and fired at higher temperatures. This process makes porcelain tiles denser and less porous than their ceramic counterparts. Porcelain tiles are highly resistant to moisture, making them ideal for areas that are prone to wetness, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Comparing Performance and Durability

Water Resistance

One of the key differences between ceramic and porcelain tiles is their level of water resistance. Porcelain tiles have a water absorption rate of less than 0.5%, which makes them virtually impervious to water. This attribute allows porcelain tiles to be used both indoors and outdoors in any climate. Ceramic tiles, while also resistant to moisture, are more porous and generally not suitable for outdoor use in freezing temperatures.


Porcelain tiles are also renowned for their durability. The high temperatures at which they are fired produce a tile that is incredibly hard and resistant to wear and tear. This makes porcelain tiles an excellent choice for high-traffic areas or commercial environments. Ceramic tiles, while durable enough for residential use, are softer and may crack or chip more easily under heavy use.

Aesthetic Considerations

Design Flexibility

Ceramic tiles are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and sizes. Because they are easier to cut and shape, they offer more flexibility for custom designs and intricate patterns. Porcelain tiles, while also available in various styles, are generally harder to cut due to their density, which can limit some custom design options.

Finish and Appearance

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles can be finished with a glazed or unglazed surface. Glazed tiles are coated with a liquid glass, which is then baked into the surface of the tile, allowing for a wide range of colors and designs. This glaze also makes the tiles easier to clean. Unglazed tiles, while lacking the color variety of glazed tiles, have a natural, earthy appearance and are more slip-resistant.

Cost Considerations

Initial Investment

Generally, porcelain tiles are more expensive than ceramic tiles due to their superior durability and water resistance. The cost can be justified by the longevity and the ability to use porcelain in virtually any environment without concerns about moisture damage.

Installation Costs

Due to their density and hardness, porcelain tiles are more challenging and thus more expensive to install than ceramic tiles. Ceramic tiles are easier to cut and handle, which can reduce the cost of installation.


Choosing between ceramic and porcelain tiles depends largely on where you plan to install them and what performance factors are most important to you. For areas exposed to heavy traffic or high moisture, porcelain is likely the better choice. If you are looking for more design flexibility and a lower cost, ceramic tiles might be the way to go.

If you're still undecided or need more guidance on the perfect tile for your home project, consider visiting Miele Flooring in Prescott, AZ. Our experts can help you compare options and find the best fit for your style and needs. Check out our selections online or come by our store to explore a wide range of ceramic and porcelain tiles tailored to your preferences and budget.