Your guide to a smart buying experience
Tile selection for a space is a crucial decision. The tiles set a tone to the area and choosing them is a perfect chance for homeowners to add some personal touch.
We’re spoilt for choice, which makes it so much harder to narrow down our choices. Isn’t it?
To make your life easier, here is a comparison of three popular flooring options — porcelain, ceramic and vitrified.
Ceramics are composed of red-brown and white clay along with natural materials such as sand quartz and water. They are often used in kitchens as backsplash tiles and bathrooms. Their hard solid surface does not attract any dirt, dust or pollen as they stand out on the surface making it easily detectable and clean. They are available glazed ceramic tiles (which have a matte-glossy finish), wall tiles(showers-backsplash) floor tiles (which come in matte finish).
When clay (white clay) with sand and feldspar is fired at temperatures, such as 2300-2400 Fahrenheit the porcelain is obtained. Porcelain tiles are stronger than ceramic and can withstand more elements making them suitable for even outdoors. They are stronger, harder and more water-resistant compared to simple ceramics.
Which is Which(Poreclain and Ceramic)?
Now a common dilemma a user has is how to differentiate between porcelain and ceramic tiles since they are almost similar. Porcelain tiles have the same colour throughout, that is, a broken or chipped piece will have a uniform colour through the thickness. Whereas ceramic tiles tend to have 2 different colours due to glazing. Porcelain tiles due to their fine grain are smoother, whereas ceramic tiles have a coarse texture on the underside.
Vitrified tiles are similar to traditional ceramic tiles but include silica and clay in the mix. During the process of vitrification, the components melt together to form a glass-like element inside each tile, allowing it to retain a shine even after a long period. Due to the additional vitrification process, the tiles cost comparatively higher than ceramic tiles.
These tiles are available in 4 types-
Double charged (tiles are made thicker by infusing two layers of the same thus increasing its durability),
Full-body vitrified tile (the pattern or colour is run throughout the tile biscuit)
Soluble salt vitrified tile (ivory tiles on which printing is done using liquid colour technology)
Glazed body vitrified tiles (tiles made using digital printers).
What to choose?
It can be confusing to choose between the three, hence an analysis based on installation,maintenance and properties of the three materials is done below.
Installation of ceramic tile is quite labor intensive and can be tricky. The process involves an initial layer of concrete floors adding cost time and labour to the project. Though they are fragile, they gain strength when laid over, free of gaps
Porcelain tiles, on similar lines of ceramic tiles, is also a time consuming and laborious task. The material itself is hard and heavy and tends to make precision cutting difficult, thus substantially increasing the price of the project. The product is often placed only on ground floors to prevent any extra stress on upper floors.
Contrary to porcelain and ceramic tiles, the installation of vitrified tiles does not take time but yet is tedious.
Ceramic tiles are of easy maintenance, especially those glazed, which acts as a protective layer that makes them water and stain-resistant. Hence the reason why they are preferred in areas of moisture such as bathrooms and kitchens. They are very resistant to physical damage but can result in cracking due to heavy load or tile underlayment. Tile replacement on cracking is easy.
Porcelain tiles are one of the hardest flooring options available. They are resistant to heavy loads. The hard and heavy nature of the tile makes it brittle, making it prone to cracking. Replacement of a damaged tile is simple. Similar to ceramic tiles they are stain and water-resistant thus facilitating spot cleaning.
The protective sheen of vitrified tiles makes it easier to maintain. The shine in the tile tends to become blurred or murky which can be removed with continuous cleaning with a cleaning agent.
Ceramic and Porcelain:
Porcelain tiles encompass all properties of ceramic tiles, added merit of colour permanence that is not fading when exposed to direct sunlight and UV rays making it suitable for outdoor paving.Moreover they are water and stain resistant.
Vitrified tiles have multiple qualities that have made them a popular flooring option in the country. Its non-porous nature makes it more durable and has less water absorption capability. The tiles are water, scratch, stain and slip-resistant. On proper maintenance, they retain their brightness and colour since moisture resistance prevents bacteria and fungi growth.
Ceramic tiles can be printed and embossed in several ways. Often patterns are a mixture of custom designs and motifs. They are often used as a cost-effective replacement for hardwood and natural stones. The tiles are available in triangles, rectangles and planks; to name a few.
Porcelain tiles are a common budget-friendly replacement of marble, granite and wood floorings. They have an indistinguishable appearance from others and are often used as an upgraded version of standard ceramic tile.
Vitrified tiles are available in a variety of designs and options in the market; ranging over multiple brands and prices. The standard sizes that are available in the market are 600mm x 600mm, 800mmx800mm, 1000mm x1000mmm.
Ceramic tiles are a cheaper option for flooring when compared to vitrified tiles.
The price of vitrification is due to its stronger characteristics. On a durability front, vitrified tiles are more suitable as they have a higher resistance than ceramics. In strength due to the vitrification process, the tiles are stronger.
Ceramics VS Porcelain
In a comparison of ceramics and porcelain, in terms of performance, both tiles stand as equals. Porcelain tiles have a higher design advantage that is they are available in various designs but are harder and heavier than normal ceramic tiles. Users tend to soften porcelain floors by placing rugs in the area. Both tiles are amenable to radiant heat turning a cold floor to that of subtle warmth.
In our opinion every flooring style and their implications are different, however these are the key properties we feel you should keep in mind while selecting your next flooring.
Unlike resilient floorings, ceramics cannot be softened by padded underlayment thus making it difficult to stand on for longer periods. In terms of installation vitrified tiles definitely wins as ceramic and porcelain are labour intensive.
Maintenance is easy for all three materials thus being an equaliser and they are available in variety. When deciding based on cost porcelain and ceramic takes the front as vitrified tiles are a tad more expensive.
To conclude; Porcelain, vitrified or ceramic tiles each of these have unique properties and applications that would make them the perfect choice for your space.
|Installation||Difficult/Labour Intensive||Difficult/Labour Intensive||Simple|
|Maintenance||Easy Maintenance||Easy Maintenance||Easy Maintenance|
|Variety in Design||High||High||High|