Ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles are often used interchangeably because both result from kiln firing. Clay and other raw materials are heated to over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit to produce a dense tile with a hard surface glaze. These are technically all ceramic tiles. The difference lies in their components.
Porcelain tile is produced using the dust-pressed method. This method involves compressing nearly dry porcelain clay between two metal dies or frames. When the tiles are formed, they are allowed to dry slowly before being fired in an insulated kiln. This produces a dense, fine-grained, smooth tile surface with a very low water absorption rate. This quality makes it resistant to frost.
Porcelain’s beauty, durability and resistance to moisture make it a classy material for kitchen tile floors and countertops, and bathroom tile vanities. Bacteria do not adhere well to porcelain tiles, making it hygienic and all the more suited for bath, shower, laundry and kitchen areas.
Glazed porcelain tiles are harder than matte or unglazed versions. They are also more slip-resistant and practically scratchproof. Unglazed porcelain tiles are sometimes called “through body” tiles because the color goes through the entire tile. In other words, if the tile is chipped, the color of the clay is the same throughout the entire layer.
Non-porcelain tiles are considered ceramic tiles and a class separate from porcelain tiles. Red or white clay are the main components of non-porcelain or “ceramic” tiles. After being fired in the kiln, the end product is a glazed tile that retains the color of the original clay material. Ceramic tiles are softer and easier to cut than porcelain tiles. They are used for wall and floor tile purposes. Ceramic tiles are a designer favorite because of its vast array of textures and colors.