What You Need to Know Before Purchasing Porcelain Tiles

What You Need to Know Before Purchasing Porcelain Tiles

Tile Work
Flooring
By Alex Mikayelyan December 14, 2021

Porcelain is among the most common tiles on the market. These tiles are used for floors, walls, and plenty of other construction or interior design projects. So, if you’re planning to renovate or change up your kitchen or bathroom, then porcelain will be one of the materials you should take into account.

This is why it’s even more important to expand your knowledge of porcelain to see if it may fit into your kitchen or bathroom remodel project. There is quite a bit to go over with porcelain tiles, but once you have a better idea of what to expect from it, it will be much easier for you to decide if this is the right material for your project.

What Is Porcelain?

Why Are Porcelain Tiles So Special?

Why Are Porcelain Tiles So Special?

Just because they are often compared to each other, does not mean that porcelain and ceramic tiles are completely different materials. In fact, porcelain stone is a type of ceramic that is created by firing up a special mixture of clay at very high temperatures to achieve a more solid and less porous surface. Porcelain is actually one of the more durable ceramic materials that are widely sold and can be used for a variety of kitchen, bathroom, and other construction, remodel, and renovation projects.

Because of the way porcelain ceramic tile is manufactured and the wide range of control that manufacturers have over its appearance, it can be made to fit a range of designs and styles. Manufacturers have control over how veiny or grainy the appearance of the tiles are, as well as their color. They can be made to mimic other natural materials, such as porcelain wood tiles or marble-look porcelain tiles if that is something homeowners are looking for.

What Is Porcelain Used for?

How Porcelain Is Used Throughout a Home

How Porcelain Is Used Throughout a Home

Porcelain tile flooring is commonly used in kitchens, bathrooms, and mudrooms. This is thanks to porcelain being very durable and able to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Even accidentally dropping heavy objects onto porcelain floors will barely damage them (depending on what the object is and its weight). Outdoor porcelain tiles can also be used in terraces and patios, as they are weather-resistant and can withstand most of the things that nature throws their way.

Porcelain tile bathroom walls are also quite popular. Aside from porcelain kitchen floor tiles, there are also tiles specifically made for kitchen backsplashes. Since porcelain tiles are waterproof they make for great materials in areas that see a lot of moisture. Since they are available in many different colors and designs, porcelain tiles can fit a wide range of interiors. Porcelain can even be used to build fireplaces in contemporary interiors. The glossy surface of glazed porcelain tiles makes for a gorgeous and chic fireplace that may not have that grainy texture of traditional brick fireplaces but looks stunning in a more minimalist interior. 

Porcelain Durability and Maintenance

How Strong Porcelain Is and How to Maintain It

How Strong Porcelain Is and How to Maintain It

The most notable advantage of using porcelain over ceramic or other stone tiles is that it is very durable. Because it is not as porous as other materials, porcelain is more solid, able to withstand much heavier weights without being damaged. This denseness makes it a reliable material to use as flooring in rooms with a lot of traffic where other materials would begin to falter after so much use. Durability goes beyond its toughness, however. Maintenance is also a major plus with porcelain.

Not unlike other tiles, cleaning polished porcelain tiles is not all that difficult. As long as you don’t leave any acidic chemicals on the surface for a long time, most stains will come off with warm water and a mop. If your porcelain tiles get scratched, you can use toothpaste to fill in the crevice and hide the damage, though this should be done with white porcelain tile or other bright colors. In case of cracks or chips, porcelain tiles are very easy to replace individually. Finally, as with any other tiled surface out there, grout is also an important part of porcelain maintenance. Over time, the bright white or muted gray grout is going to lose its color, get damaged by moisture, or flake away. Your best option is to apply a waterproof grout sealer and refresh it annually in areas with high traffic or a lot of moisture.

Lastly, the benefit of having porcelain is its natural and sleek appearance. While porcelain is not a slab of natural stone like marble, it can still look organic depending on how it has been manufactured. Much like granite, or marble, porcelain stoneware also has those veins or grains running along its surface. 

The Disadvantages of Porcelain

What Difficulties You May Have with Porcelain

What Difficulties You May Have with Porcelain

While porcelain has a slew of advantages that make it a great material for flooring, walls, and other interior features, it’s not without a few downsides that you should consider before making any purchases. One disadvantage has to do with its density. While the added density makes porcelain stronger than other materials, it also makes it rigid and brittle. This means that it is still susceptible to cracking and if put under too much pressure, it could break.

Another disadvantage to porcelain is its installation. In general, tile floor or wall installation projects are very time and energy-consuming. At first glance, tile installation may seem like a no-brainer — you put the squares next to each other, and voila. But there are a lot of subtle nuances to getting porcelain flooring or walls just right. First, there’s the question of grout and mortar mixes. You can find bags of either that come with instructions on how to create the mixture. There’s also the matter of quantity, as too much grout or mortar could cause an uneven floor surface and too little may cause the porcelain tiles to get pulled off the subfloor. Also, there’s the question of lining up all the tiles properly. Even if you use square tiles, they may not fit perfectly into the space and might end up overlapping, in which case you would also need to know how to neatly cut porcelain tiles with a special saw. All of these challenges make porcelain mosaic tile installation difficult to do on your own and it’s best to hire a professional tiler.

How Much Does Porcelain Cost?

All the Costs Included In Porcelain Home Additions

All the Costs Included In Porcelain Home Additions

Porcelain tends to be somewhat pricier than other ceramic tiles out there. The tiles will cost $5 to $30 per square foot, though you can find some really good bargains. You can even install premium porcelain tiles in areas with more traffic, such as the kitchen floor or porcelain shower walls. And for areas with less traffic, like the flooring under your fridge or bathroom vanity, you can use lower-end tiles. This way you will save money without having to regularly replace your porcelain tiles as a result of damage. You generally shouldn’t aim for the cheapest options, as the quality of your porcelain tiles plays a huge role in how durable they are and in their longevity. 


Also, since you won’t be installing porcelain tile on your own, there are also labor costs to consider when calculating the porcelain floor tile price. Most tilers charge anywhere from $10 to $30 per square foot, so calculate how much surface area you’re working with and you should have your price. Lastly, there’s also the question of transportation. Porcelain tiles are very heavy and if you’re looking to cover large surfaces you will need a lot of them. So, transporting them in your sedan without damaging them or your vehicle will be a challenge. In this case, it would be a good idea to hire a professional transportation company that will deliver your construction materials to your home in one piece. This is especially a must if you’ve invested in large slabs of porcelain that are most likely not going to fit into your car.

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Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan

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