Ceramic Vs Porcelain Tiles: Which is Better for the Shower?

ceramic vs porcelain tiles for shower

Tiles are manufactured from materials like ceramic, stone, metal, baked clay, or glass.

When the question of functionality arises, tiles are one of those interior design materials that have multiple uses.

The universal function of tiles is to cover floors, walls, rooftops, or other objects such as tabletops, making it a favorite when it comes to furnishing the floor, ceiling, and wall of the home. 

As a result of demand, most common types of tiles are made of hard materials like marble, clay, slate, metal, ceramic, stone, and glass—some other ones are made of soft materials like wool, cork, recycled paper, and perlite.

The availability of varieties ensures that consumers have a wide range of options to choose from to suit their style, taste, and budget.  Of the best materials used for making tiles are ceramics and porcelain.

Ceramic tiles are produced by using natural red, brown, or white clay. First, the clay is heated at a high temperature to lower the moisture content. The shape is then applied, followed by the pattern. Then the finished product is obtained.

The production process of porcelain tiles, on the other hand, involves using concrete clay, with finely-ground sand and feldspar added to the mixture. The tiles are heated at a higher temperature than ceramic; this helps to make porcelain tiles thicker and more solid.

 

Why Use Tiles?

You might wonder why you should use tiles instead of conventional rugs and carpets. Tiles provide several benefits that you won't get from rugs and carpets. Below is a highlight;

  • Tiles are commonly used in wet areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room. This is because of the water-resistant feature of the materials they are made from. Hence, they serve as a form of protection against moisture
  • Tiles are highly decorative, especially when they are combined with different colors by professionals
  • The organic materials used to produce tiles are soundproof, thus, they are suitable for use in places like cinemas, studio rooms, and theatres

 

Types of Tiles 

Before we move into the comparison between ceramic and porcelain tiles, let’s quickly take a look at the common types of tiles.

  1. Ceramics tiles
  2. Porcelain tiles
  3. Glass tiles
  4. Cement tiles
  5. Marble tiles
  6. Mosaic tiles
  7. Granite tiles
  8. Limestone tiles
  9. Travertine tiles
  10. Quarry tiles
  11. Metal tiles
  12. Resin tiles

 

Now, let’s take a closer look at the ceramic and porcelain tiles.

 

Ceramic Tiles

ceramic vs porcelain tiles for shower

Image credit: sushineinterior.com

Ceramic tiles are a product of red or white clay that has been heated in a kiln (a type of oven that generates temperature sufficient enough to soften, harden, or cause chemical changes in objects).

Ceramics is emerging as the most used material at home, and it is essential to consider the advantages of using ceramics when choosing a home design.

 

Benefits of Ceramic Tiles

  • Durability

If you want a material that lasts longer in comparison to other materials used to cover walls and floors, then ceramic tiles are your go-to option. They are recommended for wet floor areas.

 

  • Colour permanence

Floor tiles are often exposed to various kinds of disasters like exposure to sunlight, chemicals (in companies), and hot liquids (in the kitchen). The color retention feature of ceramic materials ensures that the color or design does not fade. Ceramics maintain their aesthetic for their entire life span. 

 

  • Ease of maintenance

Ceramics are known for the ease of maintaining them. Dust, dirt, liquid, and waste materials only rest on the surface, which allows you to wipe them off easily with the help of a mob or a vacuum cleaner.

 

  • Solid surface

Most common ceramics are made of hard materials like clay, stone, or glass. Thus, they do not crack easily when placed under pressure from heavyweights. 

 

Disadvantages of Ceramic Tiles

  • Temperature

Ceramic tiles are very intolerable in colder regions. Due to their thickness, they take more time to heat or cool than other flooring materials. At times, they can become un-walkable with bare feet under extreme temperatures. 

 

  • Longevity

While ceramics might be a safe investment for home decoration in terms of durability, they cannot be changed easily. As trends and styles change often, homeowners might feel the need to upgrade to the latest trend. Changing or replacing ceramics can be very messy and expensive.

 

  • Expertise

Installation if ceramic tiles require the service of a professional because a slight imbalance or unevenness in the arrangement can cause breakage. If not correctly assembled, the sharp edges of rectangular tiles can cause injury to home occupants when threaded upon. 

 

Porcelain Tiles

ceramic vs porcelain tiles for shower

Image credit: livingproofmag.com

Porcelain tiles are very similar to ceramics considering that they have a heavy resistance to water, about 0.5% more than ceramic. This is as a result of the density of clay used to manufacture porcelain tiles.

Historically, porcelain wasn't one of the ingredients to manufacture tiles. The first porcelain tiles were manufactured and used for walls in China in the 15th century. There has been modernization in the methods of producing porcelain tiles ever since.

The products have been simplified to ensure that they are available for an average household.

 

Benefits of Porcelain Tiles

  • Durability

Porcelain tiles are known to last longer than ceramic tiles because they have fewer air pockets, denser clay, and thicker and more rigid modification.

 

  • Decoration

Porcelain tiles have a luxurious look in homes since they are made from high-quality materials combined. Their thickness makes them better with designs than most ceramic tiles. 

 

  • Population

In areas occupied by a large number of people like clubs, theatre, and companies, porcelain tiles are desirable.

Their thickness can handle pressure and weight better than other materials. They don't have to be pampered and routinely maintained regularly; they can take more toughness in everyday life. 

 

  • Moisture resistant

Homeowners often experience problems when it comes to changes in climatic conditions. Cold climate causes ceramic tiles to break or crack easily due to freezing. Porcelain tiles are less-likey to suffer this problem.

The reason is that the tiles are less porous and more uniform than other tiles. Some even test the efficiency further by using them for outdoor decorations. They are, however, highly recommended for interior designs only.

 

Disadvantages of Porcelain Tiles

  • Installation

Since they are more rigid, they present more difficulty during installation. It is necessary to cut and trim tiles to ensure they are correctly laid, but the thickness of porcelain tiles makes them challenging to shape correctly. As a result, only the most experienced tile professionals are hired to install them. 

 

  • Costly

Porcelain tiles are expensive and not as affordable as other materials. When you are low on budget, the price can be a deciding factor when choosing tiles. The cost of sales, in addition to the cost of installation, might not be affordable to the average household.

 

  • Replacement or repair

The cost of replacing porcelain tiles should be thoroughly deliberated if necessary. Repairing is almost impossible due to its toughness. Experts often recommend replacement instead of repairing due to similar costs incurred.

 

Ceramics Vs. Porcelain; Which Is Better for the Shower?

ceramic vs porcelain tiles for shower

Having weighed the pros and cons of both types of tiles, it is crucial to consider some factors when choosing tiles for your shower room.

Depending on how you plan to use your space, porcelain or ceramic tiles may suit you better. Here’s how they differ and where they’re best used.

  • The population of occupants

In a  household with a larger population, more people are likely to use the shower. Porcelain tiles can handle more pressure and require less pampering, so it is recommended in this situation. 

 

  • Moisture resistance

The shower room may have the highest amount of water being used in a house, so you have to consider choosing a tile with more moisture resistance. In this case, porcelain wins.

 

  • Decoration

Ceramic tiles are more flexible and can be easily trimmed and adjusted to suit your designs. If you want the best design for your shower room, ceramic tiles do it better.

 

Conclusion

Based on our analysis above, porcelain tiles are almost waterproof and are the best material that can be used for a wet room due to the level of moisture activities.

However, ceramic tiles are an excellent option for a standard bathroom, especially one with varying options of designs available.

If you’re on a tight budget, ceramic tiles are relatively cheaper than porcelain. This doesn't mean that the quality of ceramic tiles will be compromised as a result. 

There is no universally agreed preference of tiles for a shower room. However, an unbiased decision will be that porcelain tiles are better. The main reason is their higher level of porosity to moisture. Since a shower is often water-logged, porcelain tiles easily sit out as the better option.

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