Why Ceramic Tile?
Why Porcelain Tile?
Why Natural Stone?
Differentiating Characteristics of:
Porcelain - A glazed or unglazed vitreous tile that is made of an extremely fine porcelain clay composition that produces a dense, impervious, fine tile. It is suited for both exterior and interior use, and is frost proof.
Ceramic - a glazed unit made from clays and other ceramic material. It is fired to a temperature sufficiently high to produce a dense body. Decorative ceramic tile is heated at a lower temperature and for a longer period of time to allow the glazes to work. Only some low-fired ceramics are frost resistant.
Natural stone is not manufactured. It comes from the earth as grown by God. Since this is the case, you must expect great variation in color and vein within the same slab. There are textural variations as well.
How do they compare? Why would you buy one over the other? It depends on the usage desired.
Porcelain is denser, therefore stronger than ceramic tile. The unglazed clay composition has the same color throughout the tile. It is used residentially, but is chosen more often than ceramic for industrial use. The primary reasons why one would select porcelain tile and ceramic tile over stone is that they take much less care than stone, both in installation and in maintenance.
Ceramic tile is rated by the hardness of the glaze. Depending upon glaze, some tiles are rated only for light residential use, and there are others rated for total residential use, light commercial use moving into commercial use. Ceramic can be more decorative than porcelain as it's not fired in as high temperature as porcelain. Ceramic can be used in all residential and some commercial installations. Some ceramics are frost resistant. The primary reasons why one would select porcelain tile and ceramic tile over stone is that they take much less care than stone, both in installation and in maintenance.
Natural stone comes from God and is the exact product that ceramic and porcelain try to copy. It is the original, but has some maintenance characteristics that must be taken into account before making a decision to purchase. Stone may be very soft to very dense. Depending on the use intended you have to pick the right density stone. The range of porosity differs a great deal, so there are more variables involved. People who love the natural look and are willing to undergo the maintenance choose stone.
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