Porcelain vs Ceramic Tiles: What are the Differences?

porcelain vs ceramic tiles for a bathroom
Ceramic wall tiles from Porcelain Superstore (Image credit: Porcelain Superstore)

The difference between porcelain vs ceramic tiles causes some confusion for people shopping for tiles for their project, whether they're for a kitchen or bathroom design, or outdoor space. The main difference of course comes down to what these tiles are made from and how they're made.

Ceramic tiles are made at lower temperatures from softer clay, creating a less dense and more porous tile. Porcelain tiles use white clay, strengthened with other additives and fired at a high temperature to make a harder, denser tile. 

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PEI Ratings
Pei RatingTile usage
0Only for light use on walls, never underfoot
1Suitable for use on walls, but not underfoot
2Walls and light traffic spaces, such as residential bathrooms
3Walls and floors with moderate footfall in homes
4Walls and floors in homes, and some moderate traffic commercial settings
5Heavy duty flooring, not usually used in residential settings
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Row 0 - Cell 0 ProsCons
Ceramic tilesCheaper, easier to install, lighter, suitable for floors in most instancesLess durable, less waterproof, may crack in cold weather
Porcelain tilesHard and durable finish, highly waterproof, suitable for outdoor use and heavy traffic floors, stain resistantMore expensive, heavier, harder to install
Hugh Metcalf

Hugh is editor of sister title Livingetc.com and former digital editor of homebuilding.co.uk. He has worked on a range of home, design and property magazines, including Grand Designs, Essential Kitchens, Bathrooms, Bedrooms and Good Homes. Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture and green homes, and moonlights as an interior designer, having designed and managed projects ranging from single rooms to whole house renovations and large extensions. He's currently renovating his own Victorian terrace in Essex, DIYing as much of the work as possible. He's recently finished his kitchen renovation, which involved knocking through walls, and landscaping a courtyard garden, and is currently working on a bathroom renovation.