You can’t compare ceramic tile to porcelain tile because they are one in the same. Ceramic tile is a name given to any clay fired product used to cover walls or floors. Quarry tile, terracotta tile and yes, porcelain tile are all types of ceramic tile. Porcelain tile is a type of ceramic tile that is impervious which means it has a water absorption of less than .5%. To put it in simple terms porcelain tile is a very dense and strong material so it’s less prone to cracking or chipping as compared to the red body clay tile. In fact it’s so strong that when a floor is not prepared properly to accept ceramic tile porcelain will pop-up rather that crack like a clay tile. It’s also a nightmare to drill through because it’s so hard carbide drill bits burn out after just one hole. Let’s look at the different types of porcelain.
Glazed porcelain is fired and the glaze melts into the body.
Through-body porcelain has the color pigments throughout the entire body of the tile so the color goes all the way through.
Rectified porcelain just means the tile is cut to an exact size and can be installed with a very small grout joint because every tile is the exact same size.
Polished porcelain is a through-body porcelain that is run through a polishing machine.
There is also a dry application porcelain, salt glaze porcelain and technical porcelain. Click here to download a well written brochure on the different types of porcelain.
Not all porcelain is created equal, for a tile to be porcelain it has to have an absorption of less than 0.5% and most will be certified by an outside agency. Some manufacturers claim their tile is porcelain and will sell it at a cheaper price but if it doesn’t have the porcelain certification there really is no way to tell unless you see a product specification sheet. The factories we deal with are very reputable and either have the certification or specification sheet to back up their porcelain claims. Another way to tell if a tile is porcelain is to knock on it and you will hear a high pitch sound. Although not a scientific test it’s pretty accurate. Confused by all the techobabble? Have no fear, 98% of the ceramic floor tile in our showroom is porcelain which means there is not much tile knocking going on at Westchester Tile or Vedovato Brothers!