If you are considering a tiling project for your home, it is good to know the difference between porcelain and ceramic tiles before you go out and buy your materials. Although both porcelain and ceramic tile fall into the category of “Ceramic Tile”, the category is divided into two subcategories; porcelain tiles and non-porcelain or ceramic. The main difference is their material makeup and kiln finishing temperature, which makes each tile better suited for different uses and spaces.

Porcelain and ceramic tiles are both rigid tiles made from a base of natural clay and then kiln-fired. By just looking at both types of tiles, it may be difficult to differentiate between them. But, there are clear differences between the two. Below we outline some of these key differences.

Manufacturing Process

Both tiles are manufactured from a clay mixture that is fire finished in a kiln. Porcelain tiles are made of a special kaolin clay mixture which is finer and purer than most ceramic clay mixtures. Porcelain is also fired at a higher temperature leading to a denser and more durable finished product than that of a non-porcelain tile.


Porcelain tiles are denser and harder than ceramic tiles making them more durable. Porcelain tiles are more suited for high traffic areas and areas where there will be heavy usage. If a porcelain tile does chip, the colour runs through the tile, making the damage less obvious than if you chip a ceramic tile which has a different colour below its top glazing.

Water Resistance

Porcelain tiles are less porous than ceramic tiles, making porcelain tiles more resistant to water and other liquids. For this reason, porcelain tiles are more suitable for use in damp locations such as bathrooms, basements and even for use on countertops.


General cleaning for both tile types is hassle free, simply mop the surface with a mixture of water and a mild detergent. Long term maintenance for each tile type is does differ, porcelain tile will require periodic sealing of the grout between the tile where ceramic tile may need to be sealed along with the grout depending on if the tile is glazed or not.


Even though both materials are installed using a similar process with mortar and grout, there are differences in how easily each tile is handled during the instillation. Ceramic tile is the easier material to handle and cut do to it being less dense. This makes ceramic tile a great choice for those looking to take on a DIY project. Porcelain tile requires a wet saw to cut through the dense material and a steady hand as it is more brittle than ceramic tile.


Porcelain and ceramic tiles come in different price ranges. However, porcelain tiles tend to be more expensive than ceramic tiles as their materials and manufacturing process is more expensive than ceramic tile. Ceramic tiles tend to run between 60%-70% of the cost of an equivalent porcelain tile.