Are Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles Better for Showers?

It’s understandable if you’re not quite sure whether you should choose ceramic or porcelain tile for your shower. First, the distinction between the two is confusing as porcelain is technically a kind of ceramic. And second, there isn’t always a clear answer as to which will work best for a shower. Here are the things you should know before you make the final decision for tile type in your shower.

What is the Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic?

Ceramic tiles are made of clay that has been fired, dried, and (sometimes) glazed. Porcelain tile is a special kind of ceramic tile that is made of denser materials and fired for a longer time at a higher temperature. The result is a smoother and more durable tile, but also one that is much more expensive.

There are also glazed and unglazed versions of both tiles. Glaze is a color or finish applied to the top of the tile. Unglazed ceramic is rough to the touch. Unglazed porcelain is still smooth, and it also has its coloration running deep into the tile, making cracks less noticeable. You may prefer glazed ceramic over unglazed, and you may prefer unglazed porcelain over glazed.

There are a wide range of porcelain and ceramic colors and styles. You can likely find a tile of each variety that you like and would work well in your space.

Are Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles Better for Showers?

When it comes to sheer performance, a porcelain tile is better in a shower environment. It is much more resistant to wet conditions in a shower and is less likely to crack from use. If you choose unglazed porcelain, you will also worry less about the look of a chip.

However, porcelain does have drawbacks. If you were thinking of installing your own bathroom tile, porcelain is not a great choice. It is so hard that it is tough to work with. It requires diamond-tipped saws and very careful work to keep from cracking. Mistakes are costly with this material, so we recommend that you choose a professional to help you with it.

Further, depending on your budget, porcelain may not be the wisest material choice, at least not for this specific spot. Porcelain is expensive. It may be wiser to spend your budget on other elements of the bathroom. Or, to invest in porcelain for the floors, which see more traffic than the bathroom walls and could therefore use a more durable material.

You can find many high-quality ceramic tiles that were well-fired and properly glazed and thus able to withstand the wet conditions of a shower just fine. Many are also highly durable without necessarily breaking your budget. Remember that ceramic tiles are still more durable and moisture-resistant than wood or other materials you might choose for your bathroom.

In the end, it all comes down to the quality of ceramic or porcelain that you can afford and the look that you like. It’s wise to have a professional guide you through your choice of materials so that you know you’ll end up pleased with the performance of the material.

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