Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

Main Difference – Porcelain vs Ceramic Tiles

The terms porcelain and ceramics are often used interchangeably. This is mainly because porcelain is also a type of ceramic. But not all ceramics are porcelain. These materials have a wide range of uses, one of the main uses being the production of tiles. Porcelain tiles are different from ceramic tiles in several parameters. The main difference between porcelain and ceramics tile is that porcelain tiles are impermeable to water infiltration than ceramic tiles.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Porcelain Tile
      – Definition, Raw Material, Production Process, Uses
2. What is a Ceramic Tile
      – Definition, Production, Uses
3. What is the Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Ceramic, Clay, Durability, Feldspar, Glazing, Magnetic Filtration, Porcelain, Translucency, Quartz

Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic - Comparison Summary

What is a Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tiles are a type of tiles made out of porcelain. Porcelain is a form of ceramic made by baking materials such as kaolin at high temperatures to obtain specific porcelain properties. The important properties of porcelain tiles include toughness, strength, translucency and low porosity. The chemical composition of porcelain typically includes clay, kaolin, feldspar, silica, and quartz.

The production of porcelain uses minerals as raw materials. Clay is used in required amounts along with kaolin, which is also a type of clay but is specific due to its translucency. Two main types of clay are used for the production of porcelain. They are china clay and ball clay. Feldspar is a mineral composed of aluminum silicate, so it is a type of hard quartz. Silica is another type of mineral that is used in the production of porcelain.

Porcelain tiles are made of white clay, sand, and feldspar. These tiles are harder and denser than ceramic tiles. They absorb a less amount of water and are stain resistant. Porcelain tiles are more expensive and are more brittle than ceramic tiles.

Porcelain tiles can be used in areas with high moisture levels and abrasion. These tiles have laze on top. However, cutting is difficult with porcelain tiles. Porcelain tiles are suitable for exterior use.

Main Difference - Porcelain vs Ceramic Tile

Figure 1: Porcelain Tiles

Using porcelain tiles for bathrooms is very useful because these tiles are very impermeable to water infiltration due to their low porosity. This prevents the walls from getting wet. Other uses of porcelain include tableware and decorative objects. Porcelain is used to make laboratory equipment that is heated to high temperatures. Porcelain is also used in producing electrical insulating material because porcelain is an excellent insulator to use at high voltages. Another common use of porcelain is its use in bathroom fittings due to durability, non-rusting and impermeability to liquids.

What is a Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tiles are tiles that are made out of ceramic. Ceramic is a non-metallic, inorganic material with a range of useful properties. The well-known properties include corrosion resistance, hardness (but brittle), electrical and thermal insulation and ability to withstand high temperatures. However, using different types of material in the production of ceramic can get different properties. Ceramics can be found in two types as traditional ceramics and advanced ceramics. Both these types can be used in the production of tiles.

For the production of ceramic tiles, red, brown or white clay can be used. Cutting ceramic tiles are easier than porcelain tiles. these tiles are cheaper than porcelain tiles. But the problem with these tiles is they absorb water. They are more prone to stain.

Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

Figure 2: Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles can be used for walls, areas with a low level of moisture and little abrasion. These tiles are best to be used interior. Other ceramic products include bricks, pipes, tiles and tableware, cookware, pottery products, etc. Most ceramic objects are thermal and electrical insulators.

Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic

Definition

Porcelain Tile: Porcelain tiles are made of porcelain, which is a type of ceramic made by baking materials such as kaolin at high temperatures to obtain specific porcelain properties.

Ceramic Tile:  Ceramic tiles are made out of ceramic, which is a non-metallic, inorganic material with a range of useful properties.

Water Absorption

Porcelain Tile: Porcelain tiles have a lower water absorption rate than ceramic tiles.

Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tiles have a higher water absorption rate than porcelain tiles.

Durability

Porcelain Tile: Porcelain tiles are more durable.

Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tiles are less durable.

Cutting

Porcelain Tile: Porcelain tile is harder to cut.

Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tile is softer and is easy to cut.

Uses

Porcelain Tile: Porcelain tiles can be used for exterior applications.

Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tiles can be used for interior applications.

Cost

Porcelain Tile: Porcelain tiles are expensive than ceramic tiles.

Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tiles are cheaper than porcelain tiles.

Conclusion

Porcelain is a type of ceramic with improved properties. Ceramic is an inorganic material that has a traditional value. Porcelain and ceramic have different applications depending on their specific properties. However, porcelain mainly differs from ceramic due to its the impermeability of water. Porcelain is more impermeable to water infiltration whereas ceramic is permeable than porcelain.

References:

1. “Porcelain.” How Products Are Made, Available here.
2. “Porcelain.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Oct. 2017, Available here.
3. “Ceramics.” Chemistry Explained, Available here.
4. “Ceramics – their properties, manufacture, and everyday uses.” Explain that Stuff, 10 Feb. 2017, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “389262” (Public Domain) via Pixabay
2. “2021446” (Public Domain) via Pixabay

About the Author: Madhusha

Madhusha is a BSc (Hons) graduate in the field of Biological Sciences and is currently pursuing for her Masters in Industrial and Environmental Chemistry. Her interest areas for writing and research include Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry.

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