Ceramic tile in Houston kitchen

Most homeowners are aware that ceramic and porcelain tile flooring is an excellent choice for just about every room in the house—but if you ask them to explain the difference between ceramic and porcelain, you’ll probably see their faces glaze over with confusion.

So what exactly is the difference between these two styles of flooring that you’ve heard so much about? The tile flooring experts at Floor Coverings International Houston Heights are here to dispel some myths and set the record straight about ceramic and porcelain. By the end of this article you’ll be able to distinguish between these two similar styles of tile and you’ll know which one is right for the floors in your home.

The Short Answer: It’s All Ceramic

Broadly defined, ceramics are different combinations of dirt, mud, and stone that are exposed to extreme heat, making them very hard. The word “ceramic” is actually refers to a huge category of materials and processes for making everything from bowls and cups, to sculptures, building materials (like tile!), and tools. Even the fillings in your teeth are technically made of a type of ceramic!

Ultimately, porcelain is simply one specific type of ceramic. The confusion comes from the fact that homeowners, bloggers, and people in the flooring industry often refer to “ceramic” and “porcelain” as separate materials. Let’s put it this way: all porcelain is ceramic, but not all ceramics are porcelain.Ceramic tile samples

The Long Answer:

If you want to get a little more technical (we certainly like to get technical since we’re nerds about this stuff), porcelain is a super-special ceramic that’s fired at extremely high temperatures (2,200-2,600 degrees Fahrenheit). Typically composed of some combination of feldspar, quartz, alabaster, and a smattering of other minerals, these materials undergo a process known as “vitrification.” Vitrification occurs when certain materials materials are melted, essentially becoming glass, and rapidly cooled into a dazzlingly hard, totally impermeable new form.

At the end of the day, you’re left with porcelain. And when porcelain is used to make tiles, you get an incredibly durable, easy to clean, very reliable floor. There’s some amazing science baked into the tiles beneath your feet!

Porcelain tile in Houston home

Transform Your Floors with New Tile

If you think ceramic or porcelain might be right for your home—or if you just want to learn more about your options, the best thing you can do is schedule a free, in-home consultation with the Floor Coverings International Houston Heights mobile showroom. Our roving showroom can come straight to your front door anywhere in the greater Greater Heights, Montrose, Upper Kirby, Museum District, and Downtown area so that you can conveniently browse our full selection of products. Contact us today to get started!

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Photo Credit: © Brandon Bourdages © Elena Elisseeva © robinimages2013