Porcelain and ceramic tiles are two of the most commonly-used flooring materials. Compared to other options such as natural stone or hardwood they are affordable, making them ideal choices for home owners who desire the durability and strength of a hard floor.
But which one do you choose? This is an important question to consider before you begin shopping for tiles.
Both options have their benefits and they also have a few drawbacks. It is important to understand them, so as to make the best decision for your space.
The kind of tile you have in your home can determine a lot of things.
For one, they determine the functionality of a specific space. For example, visualise installing highly porous tiles in the kitchen or bathroom, or if you installed tiles that are not designed for the outdoors on your porch that would get damaged quickly.
Secondly, they determine the style of your home. Some tiles create a warm homely feel, while others produce a more sterile look, that is better suited for an institution such as a simple office. Luckily, tile manufacturers these days have numerous style options for customers to choose from.
It is important when deciding between the two that you consider various factors. For example, where are you going to install the tiles? If it’s a high-traffic area such as the kitchen, porcelain tiles are better because of their strength. If you are installing the tiles in a weather-exposed outdoor area, porcelain again wins based on its strength and durability.
Another issue that undoubtedly crosses every homeowner’s mind is their budget. How much can you and are you willing to spend? In this case, ceramic tiles often tend to be cheaper, though the price could vary among different types of tiles. Porcelain tiles are usually more expensive and are frankly often costly to install as well. It is important that you discuss with your contractor the facts to get an idea of how much you could spend with each option.
Each tile is made differently
Porcelain consists of various clay fused together, while ceramic is made from an inorganic non-metallic solid material. These structural differences give both tiles varying features and characteristics. Porcelain tiles, for instance, are non-porous even before they are treated with glaze.
In the end however, both options are great for flooring: they are strong, able to withstand a lot of traffic and can last for years without significant damage. If they get damaged, it is simply a matter of replacing the damaged tiles.
Underfloor heating can be also used, with a variety of floor coverings including wood, carpet, laminate, vinyl and tiles.
The heat-up time and output of your system will depend on the thermal conductivity of the flooring materials. Thermal conductivity means how well the floor material of your choice transfers heat from the heating system to the surface of the floor.
Flooring materials with high thermal conductivity heat up quicker and are more efficient for use in underfloor heating, but there are systems available for use with almost any finish.
Tile flooring is very conductive and the best flooring to use with underfloor heating. Tile flooring heats up fast and retains heat well. Tiles are of course especially well suited for high heat loss areas, due to the excellent thermal properties of the material. Tiles can be heated to around 29°C or more, meaning that you can also achieve the highest heat output – up to 20W/sqft – by choosing tile as the flooring material.
For more information on our current range of tiles and other options, check out our Tile Gallery here.