What’s the difference between ceramic and porcelain tile?

People often use the words ceramic and porcelain interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing. Porcelain and ceramic can look similar. Both types are part of the same family, which is a mixture of clay and other natural materials that are fired in a kiln.

Tile and Stone Source in Edmonton shares the differences between ceramic and porcelain tile:


Porcelain is composed of porcelain clays and then fired at a much higher temperature in the kiln compared to ceramic clays/tiles. Typically, porcelain undergoes more pressure when being formed into tile, which helps make it more dense and less porous than ceramic.

Absorption Rate

The main difference between the two is their impermeability, or how they absorb moisture. Porcelain tile is less porous than ceramic tile, which means it is more resistant to moisture and staining. This makes them a little more durable than their ceramic counterparts.

How porcelain tiles are manufactured plays a role in their higher resistance to these things. For tile to be qualified as porcelain, they must have an absorption rate of less than one 10th of 1%. Ceramic tile usually has an absorption rate of 3% or more.


Both type choices are very tough. However, porcelain is denser and slightly more durable. If you are installing tile in a high-traffic area that might experience more wear and tear, you might want to choose porcelain over ceramic tile. Their density makes them a little more resistant to scratching and chips. With both types of tile, you can easily replace broken or scratched tile. Just make sure you purchase a few extra tiles and have them in storage for future replacements or repairs.

Porcelain is also resistant to fire, which can help stop the flow of flames in the case of a fire. Ceramic is not resistant to fire and can burn.


Porcelain tile costs more than ceramic tile. Porcelain is heavy, but sturdy, however it can be more difficult to cut. Special tools are required to make precise cuts and it’s time consuming. This can drive up labour and installation costs. If you want your tile cut in unique shapes and angles, choose ceramic tile as it can be cut much easier.


Both are a mixture of natural materials and clay, so can look very similar. Ceramic might have a more reddish look where porcelain can come in a white or grayish colour. If you want a warmer, earthier look, choose ceramic tile. Ceramic can also be printed in a way to mimic the look of other natural stones or even hardwood.

Tile Suppliers in Edmonton

The knowledgable sales staff Tile and Stone Source stand ready to help you achieve your tile dreams. They have attractive tile at affordable prices. Book an appointment with one of their Tile Enthusiasts to begin your renovation journey.

Come pick out your tile today!


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