Be a savvy shopper when selecting the best type of tile for your home.
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Having a tough time deciding whether you want ceramic or porcelain tile for your next home renovation project? Here’s some good advice that will help you make an informed decision. If you're shopping for tile, keep in mind that there are two common types, ceramic and porcelain. Both ceramic and porcelain tile come in a wide range of styles and when installed properly, will last for decades with little upkeep.
Let’s take a close look at ceramic first. Ceramic tile is made from standard flattened clay, that is typically given a surface glaze. Ceramic’s greatest advantage over other types of tile is that it offers a wider array of colors and more design possibilities, plus, new manufacturing methods can make ceramic tile look like granite, marble and other natural stone. Since ceramic tile is too delicate for heavy wear situations, like floors or countertops, it’s usually reserved for walls. The glaze also gives the ceramic tile a glassy surface that can make it too slippery for floor applications, especially in wet bathrooms.
Porcelain tile is made from fine white clay that can be fired at higher temperatures. This makes the tile harder than ceramic and less likely to crack in cold climate. Being so hard and dense also gives porcelain a very low absorption rate, which also makes it less likely to stain. Many porcelain tiles get their color from a dye that’s added to the clay. In fact, porcelain often comes on glaze so it looks more like stone. Porcelain works great for countertops, back splashes and floors because it’s so hard and stain resistant. In terms of installation, the same do-it-yourself techniques can be applied to ceramic and porcelain with one minor exception. Because porcelain is harder and less porous, it may be necessary to use a latex additive in the mortar to create a stronger adhesion. Glazed ceramic tile and porcelain are stain resistant and don’t need to be sealed. Still, it’s a good idea to check with your tile dealer or manufacturer for proper care. Cost wise, you’ll find that porcelain is generally a little more expensive than ceramic tile but both are still more affordable than stone. So which choice is better for you? With these tips in mind, you can now make an informed decision.
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