Terms porcelain and ceramic are often used interchangeably, yet they definitely aren’t one and the same. Even though, they both belong to the ceramics family, their manufacturing process imparts them with slightly different qualities. It doesn’t mean that one is superior over another but rather that ceramic and porcelain tiles will work better under some circumstances and worse under the others. The most obvious difference boils down to absorption rate.
Porcelain is completely vitrified and thus non-porous, so it’s completely water-impermeable even without glazing. Ceramic, on the other hand, characterizes with higher porosity, therefore it requires additional sealing to protect it from water damage. Even with such protection, ceramic tile installation should be solely limited to indoors. Moreover, ceramic’s lower density also results in slightly worse durability. Don’t get that wrong, if properly maintained, both products can easily last for several decades. Nevertheless, porcelain tiles fare better under heavy usage than their counterparts.
Considering characteristics such as absorption rate and overall durability, you may quickly jump to conclusion that porcelain is far superior to ceramic. Unfortunately, those qualities come at a price, as ceramic tile installation can be cheaper by half. On top of that, its lower density is definite winner where the cutting is concerned. Less brittle and softer, it’s easier to cut and shaped into rectangles, planks or triangles even by an inexperienced person. In consequence, ceramic tiles prove a viable option if you consider DIY type of project. One the other hand, porcelain usually requires skilled tile setter to achieve desired results. Another feature that may decide in favor of ceramic is its manufacturing process, which enables printing tiles with different patterns. As you can clearly see, both types of products have fans, who would swear by them. Neither one is better or worse by itself and which of them you choose should depend on your needs and tastes.