Porcelain Tile vs. Ceramic Tile – Is There a Difference?

If you’re in the market for tile, you’re likely to come across two main choices: porcelain tile and ceramic tile. Although you’ve likely heard these terms many times before, when it comes time to shop, you may find yourself asking, what is the difference between porcelain tile and ceramic tile? What sets them apart, or are they really the same? What will provide the best durability? Which will provide the best value?

Porcelain tile and ceramic tile can both add beauty to your home, but which is the right choice for your project? Let’s review the differences between the two to find out!

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Differences


Both porcelain and ceramic tile are made from clay and fired to take on their form. Porcelain tile is fired at a higher temperate, and will be harder, while ceramic tile will be softer and less dense.


While either type of tile can have a colored glaze on top, the body color of porcelain tile will run all the way through the tile (also known as “through-body color”). This means that if you were to chip the tile, you’d see the same color underneath. With ceramic tiles, if you chip the top layer, the clay base (which can be white, red, or tan) will be exposed.

Water Absorption

One of the key aspects that sets ceramic and porcelain tile apart is their rate of water absorption, or density. Porcelain tiles have a low water absorption rate (0.5 percent or lower). This means that the denser porcelain tiles are less likely to crack or stain than the less-dense ceramic tiles. Because ceramic tile is less dense, and will absorb more water, it is never recommended to be used outdoors.


Ceramic tile will nearly always be cheaper than porcelain tile. While price will vary depending upon the brand, ceramic tiles may run as much as 30-40% cheaper than porcelain tiles. Porcelain tile will require an expert to cut and set the tile properly; therefore, installation may also cost more, while ceramic tile is a homeowner DIY-favorite (for those comfortable with a wet tile saw, anyway!).

What’s the right choice for me?

In the end, you’ll need to evaluate your project and consider the desired final result. Is this an outdoor project? Is it an area with high foot traffic, like an entryway or kitchen floor? If so, you may want to choose porcelain tile for its durability and resistance to water, stains, and cracking. Is it a backsplash or decorative project that won’t be subject to much water or harsh use? Then perhaps you will prefer the more economical ceramic tile.

Whatever you choose, your tile will add a modern look and sophistication to your home!

JC Floors Plus is ready to help you choose the right material for your project, taste, and budget. We are a direct importer of ceramic and porcelain tile as well as hardwood and laminate. This allows us to pass the savings on to you! Come visit us at either of our Florida showrooms, or call us at:

Lauderdale Lakes Flooring Store – 954-735-4005

Pompano Beach Flooring Store – 754-205-6196