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ceramic and porcelain tiles: what's the difference?

Tiles are often one of the main materials used in homes these days, and it's not hard to see why. With the multitude of different colours, textures and materials, they offer a veritable smorgasbord of aesthetic characteristics that can be incorporated into you new home design.

However, there are a number of terms thrown around when people talk about tiles, with the main two being 'ceramic' and 'porcelain'. If you're selecting tile products for your home, it pays to understand the difference between the two.

Ceramic Tiles

These tiles are effectively clay that has been baked in a kiln to become a solid material that can be applied to a range of surfaces. The body of the material is red, and the colour is applied through a glazed that is cooked on.

Unfortunately, they tend to be slightly less durable than their porcelain counterparts, which usually means they are laid in areas that don't experience heavy traffic like bathrooms, wet areas, and on the walls.

Porcelain Tiles

The main difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles is the durability and water absorption rates of the two.

Porcelain tiles are fired at much higher levels than ceramic, which results in water being driven out of the material and the vitrification of the material - effectively, some of the molecules inside the material become crystalised.

A side effect of this is an increased resistance to water absorption. In fact, porcelain tiles have an absorption rate of less than 0.5 per cent, which makes them perfect for application in external areas as well as high traffic areas, or places exposed to the elements regularly.

These varying factors could be something to consider when developing your own double storey house plans, with tile selection playing a role in your overall designs.