Ceramic Tile

Tile defined as ceramic uses a coarser clay with a smaller ratio of fine kaolin clay, and it generally lacks some of the additives used in porcelain clay. Ceramic tile is fired at lower temperatures, generally no more than 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit. Ceramic tile can be slightly more prone to water infiltration than is porcelain tile, though these differences are fairly minimal if the ceramic tile is glazed.

Most ceramic tile that is not categorized as porcelain is a solid color, and simulations of wood grains or natural stone are not common with basic ceramic tile.

Ceramic tile is somewhat more susceptible to moisture infiltration, though the differences are minimal if the tile is glazed. Ceramic tile has excellent heat resistance, making it a good choice for countertops.

Ceramic tile has the same care and cleaning needs as ceramic tile—routine damp-mopping and period sealing of grout joints.

Chip a ceramic tile and you find a different color underneath the top glaze, which means that chips are likely to be quite visible. The clays used for ceramic tile are less dense than porcelain clays, which means ceramic tiles are somewhat more prone to cracking and breaking. Unglazed ceramic tiles may also need to have sealers applied to the entire tile, not just the grout lines.

While ceramic tile is less dense than porcelain tile and thus less durable, it is also a far easier material for do-it-yourselfer homeowners to cut manually, by wet tile saw, or with a snap tile cutter.

With all other factors equal, ceramic tile is cheaper than porcelain tile. Ceramic tile tends to run about 60 to 70 percent of the cost of porcelain tile, on average. Ceramics can be purchased for as little as $.50 per square foot or as much as $35 per square foot.

By some estimates, a ceramic tile floor can last from 75 to 100 years if the grout is maintained properly and sealed regularly. While it theoretically is softer and doesn’t wear as long as porcelain tile, it also tends to resist cracking due to structure shifting somewhat better than does porcelain tile