Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles For Your Bathroom Remodel In Tucson

Last Updated on June 13, 2024 by support

Tile Tug-of-War: Ceramic vs. Porcelain

Shower with tile

Are you torn between ceramic and porcelain tiles for your bathroom remodel? Wondering which tile type offers the best bang for your buck?

In this post, you’ll learn the key differences between ceramic vs. porcelain tiles, their pros and cons, and where each tile shines best.

By the end of this read, you’ll have the information you need to make a confident decision for your Tucson bathroom remodel.

Is Ceramic Or Porcelain Tile Better For Bathrooms?

When comparing ceramic vs. porcelain tile, porcelain generally emerges as the better choice for bathroom use. This is due to its superior water resistance and durability. Porcelain tiles have a low water absorption rate of 0.5% or less, making them ideal for wet areas like shower surrounds and bathroom floors.

Check out the tiling Frei Remodeling & Construction did in this client’s bathroom.

Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile

Shower niche

Choosing between ceramic vs. porcelain tile for your home in Tucson, AZ, can be a daunting task. Both options offer unique benefits and potential drawbacks, making the decision dependent on various factors. Here, we’ll break down the key differences to help you decide which is the better fit for your needs.

FeatureCeramic TilesPorcelain Tiles
CompositionSand, water, clay, kiln-firedMore refined clay, higher kiln temperature
CostGenerally more affordableHigher initial cost
DurabilityLess durable, prone to chipping and crackingExtremely durable, resistant to heavy traffic and impact
Water ResistanceHigher water absorption, less suitable for high-moisture areasLow water absorption (0.5% or less), ideal for wet areas
MaintenanceRequires regular sealing, more frequent maintenanceMinimal maintenance, resistant to stains and easy to clean
Ease of InstallationEasier to cut and install, suitable for DIY projectsHarder to cut, requires specialized tools and professional installation
ComfortSofter material, more comfortable to stand onHarder surface, may be less comfortable
Design OptionsWide range of designs, colors, and texturesRealistic natural stone and wood appearances, through-body composition
Ideal Usage AreasKitchen floors, backsplashes, low-moisture areasHigh-moisture areas like bathroom floors, shower surrounds, high-traffic areas
WeightLighter, easier to handleHeavier, can be more challenging to handle

What Are Ceramic Tiles?

Ceramic tiles are made from a clay mixture that includes sand, water, and clay, which is then kiln-fired at high temperatures. This process creates a versatile and cost-effective tile that is used in a variety of applications.

What Are Porcelain Tiles?

Porcelain tiles, a subtype of ceramic, are made from more refined clay and fired at higher temperatures. This results in a denser, more durable tile that is less porous and better suited for high-moisture environments.

Composition And Manufacturing Of Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile

Ceramic Tiles: Ceramic tiles are made from a mixture of sand, water, and clay, which is then kiln-fired at high temperatures. This process makes them less dense and more porous than porcelain tiles. They are typically glazed to create a protective layer that adds to their durability and aesthetic appeal.

Porcelain Tiles: Porcelain tiles are crafted from more refined clay and fired at higher temperatures, resulting in a denser, less porous product. This makes porcelain and ceramic tiles quite different in terms of their physical properties. Porcelain tiles also often have a through-body composition, meaning the color and pattern run throughout the tile.

Durability Of Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile

Ceramic Tiles: Ceramic tiles are durable enough for many household applications but are generally less robust than porcelain tiles. They are prone to chipping and cracking under heavy foot traffic or impact, making them more suitable for areas with lower traffic.

Porcelain Tiles: Porcelain tiles are known for their superior durability and strength. They are highly resistant to chipping, scratching, and wear, making them ideal for high traffic areas and commercial use. Their low water absorption rate (0.5% or less) also makes them perfect for high moisture environments like bathrooms and kitchens.


Ceramic Tiles: One of the main advantages of ceramic tiles is their affordability. They are generally cheaper than porcelain tiles, both in terms of material cost and installation. This makes ceramic tiles a popular choice for budget-conscious homeowners.

Porcelain Tiles: While more expensive, porcelain tiles are considered a long-term investment due to their durability and low maintenance requirements. The higher initial cost can be offset by the longevity and reduced need for replacement or repairs.

Discover more about flooring costs in Tucson.

Maintenance Of Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile

Ceramic Tiles: Ceramic tiles require regular maintenance, such as sealing, to maintain water resistance and prevent stains. Their glazed surface makes them easier to clean, but they can still be prone to chipping, which may expose the porous core to moisture and stains.

Porcelain Tiles: Porcelain tiles are highly resistant to stains and require minimal maintenance. Their dense, non-porous nature means they don’t need sealing, and they are less likely to harbor mold or mildew. Cleaning porcelain tiles is straightforward, making them an excellent choice for busy households.

Ideal Usage Areas Of Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile

Ceramic Tiles:

  • Indoor Areas: Ceramic tiles are perfect for low to moderate traffic areas such as bedrooms, living rooms, and walls.
  • Decorative Uses: They are highly customizable, making them suitable for decorative applications like kitchen backsplashes and accent walls.

Porcelain Tiles:

  • High-Traffic Areas: Due to their superior durability, porcelain tiles are ideal for high-traffic areas like hallways, entryways, and commercial spaces.
  • Moisture-Prone Areas: Their low water absorption rate makes them perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor spaces where water exposure is common.


Ceramic Tiles: Ceramic tiles are easier to cut and install, making them a good choice for DIY projects. They do not require specialized tools, and their lighter weight makes handling easier.

Porcelain Tiles: Porcelain tile installation can be more challenging due to their hardness and density. They require specialized tools such as a wet saw and are best installed by professionals to ensure a quality finish and prevent damage.

Aesthetic And Design Flexibility Of Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile

Ceramic Tiles: Ceramic tiles offer a wide range of designs, colors, and textures, including options that mimic natural stone and wood. Their versatility in design makes them a favorite for creative interior design projects.

Porcelain Tiles: Porcelain tiles also come in a variety of styles but are particularly valued for their realistic natural stone and wood appearances. Their through-body composition ensures that any chips or wear do not show as prominently, maintaining their aesthetic appeal over time.

Do you also want to know the differences between hardwood vs engineered flooring?

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tiles

Shower floor with different tile types

Advantages Of Ceramic Tiles

  • Cost: Ceramic tiles are generally more affordable than porcelain tiles, making them a great option for budget-conscious homeowners. This cost-effectiveness allows for a broader range of design choices without breaking the bank.
  • Customization: Ceramic tiles offer a wide range of designs, colors, and textures, including options that mimic natural materials like wood and stone.
  • Comfort: The softer material of ceramic tiles makes them more comfortable to stand on for long periods, which is ideal for kitchen floors and other areas where people stand often.
  • Ease of Installation: Ceramic tiles are easier to cut and install, making them ideal for DIY projects. They do not require specialized tools.
  • Cool to the Touch: Ceramic tiles tend to be cooler, which can be a benefit in warmer climates like Tucson, AZ.

Disadvantages Of Ceramic Tiles

  • Durability: Ceramic tiles are prone to chipping and cracking under heavy use. Their higher water absorption rate can lead to damage over time, making them less suitable for high-moisture environments.
  • Maintenance: Ceramic tiles require more frequent sealing and maintenance to prevent water damage and stains. Chips and cracks are more visible due to the glazed surface.
  • Water Resistance: While ceramic tiles can be used in bathrooms, their water resistance is lower compared to porcelain tiles, making them less ideal for areas like shower floors.

Advantages Of Porcelain Tiles

  • Durability: Porcelain tiles are extremely durable and resistant to heavy traffic and impact. They are made from denser clay and fired at higher temperatures, resulting in a harder, more durable tile.
  • Water Resistance: Porcelain tiles have a low water absorption rate (0.5% or less), making them highly water-resistant and suitable for high-moisture environments like bathrooms and shower floors.
  • Maintenance: Porcelain tiles require minimal maintenance due to their high density and water resistance. They are resistant to stains and are easier to clean.
  • Aesthetic Consistency: Porcelain tiles have a through-body composition, meaning the color and pattern are consistent throughout the tile. This makes chips less visible.
  • Ideal Usage Areas: Porcelain tiles are perfect for high-moisture areas like shower floors and bathroom floors. They are also suitable for high-traffic areas such as hallways and entryways, making them versatile for various home applications.

Disadvantages Of Porcelain Tiles

  • Cost: The higher initial cost of porcelain tiles can be a barrier for budget-conscious projects. They are also more expensive to install due to the need for specialized tools and professional installation.
  • Installation Difficulty: Porcelain tiles are harder and more brittle, making them more challenging to cut and install. This requires professional tools and expertise, often ruling out DIY installations.
  • Comfort: The harder surface of porcelain tiles may be less comfortable to stand on for long periods compared to the softer ceramic tiles.
  • Weight: Porcelain tiles are heavier than ceramic tiles, which can make handling and installation more difficult.

Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile Flooring

Many people want to know, “is ceramic or porcelain tile better for floors?” They’re both great for floors, just in different areas.

Ceramic floor tiles are better in kitchens and other areas that don’t get wet very often. It’s easier to stand on because it isn’t as hard as porcelain.

Porcelain flooring is better in bathrooms. It’s more water-resistant and thus wears down less quickly than ceramic.

Want to know the best bathroom tile selection process?

Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tiles For Shower Walls

Is porcelain or ceramic tile better for showers?

This comes back to the water-resistance of porcelain over ceramic. Porcelain, being more water-resistant, is better for showers.

You can use both if you’d like. Mostly, people use ceramic for the walls and porcelain for the floor.

Ceramic Or Porcelain Tiles In The Bathroom

Ceramic tiles are great for the walls and floors because they’re less expensive and easier to stand on.

Porcelain tiles are best for shower floors because they’re more water-resistant.

Are Porcelain Or Ceramic Tiles Better For Outdoor Use?

As porcelain is more durable than ceramic, it’s definitely the better choice for outdoor patios and other outdoor tilings. It works better in freezing temperatures too.

Making The Final Decision Between Porcelain And Ceramic Tile

Evaluating Your Needs

When deciding between ceramic and porcelain tiles, consider your specific needs and the areas where the tiles will be used. Assess factors like moisture levels, traffic, and budget to make an informed decision.

For homeowners in Tucson, the local climate and typical usage patterns should guide your tile selection.

Porcelain tiles are recommended for high-moisture areas like bathrooms and outdoor spaces due to their superior durability and water resistance.

Ceramic tiles can be used effectively in low-moisture, moderate-traffic areas where budget and design flexibility are primary concerns.

Tile Your Way To Perfection With Frei Remodeling & Construction

At Frei Remodeling & Construction, we specialize in transforming your bathroom with the perfect tiles. Our expertise ensures that whether you choose ceramic or porcelain tiles, your space will be both beautiful and functional.

Don’t leave your bathroom remodel to chance—trust the professionals to deliver stunning results. Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call to start your tile transformation journey.

author avatar
Joe Frei

More Posts