Ask the Experts: Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile

October 3, 2014

We’re often asked for recommendations when it comes to what type of flooring to put down in our clients’ homes. One of the most common questions is: ceramic or porcelain tiles? While these choices may bring bathroom flooring to your mind first, ceramic and porcelain tiles are viable (and recommended!) options for virtually every space in your home.

Overall, ceramic and porcelain tiles look very similar. So what’s the difference? Here’s the breakdown:


  • Made from a natural clay with a durable glaze added to the face once the clay has been pressed and baked at high temperatures in a kiln
  • Recommended for interior walls and floors
  • Typically less expensive


  • A much more dense material, and less porous
  • More hard wearing and suitable for indoor and outdoor spaces (think: high traffic areas like kitchen floors and entryways)
  • Much more resistant to scratching, chipping, etc.
  • Generally have no glaze (design/color) baked onto the face
  •  Typically more expensive than ceramic

To help you determine whether the tile you are considering is appropriate for a particular location, check the tile’s rating, as determined by the Porcelain Enamel Institute. Hardness ratings are as follows:

Group I (Light traffic) – These tiles may be used on residential bathroom floors such as a guest bath where bare or stocking feet are the norm.

Group II (Medium traffic) – These tiles are designed for use in interiors where little abrasion occurs. They are not recommended for kitchens, entries, or stairwells.

Group III (Medium-heavy traffic) – These tiles can be used anywhere inside a home, including kitchens and baths.

Group IV (Heavy traffic) – These tiles are very hard and can be used in homes or in light to medium commercial areas.

Group V (Extra heavy traffic) – These tiles can be used anywhere.

Underlayment – To prevent chipping and cracking, tile must be installed over a firmly supported subflooring. Broken tiles cannot be repaired, but they can be replaced. Tile grout, if left unsealed, can be difficult to clean.

If you are interested in a free estimate or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form by clicking here. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page!

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