Natural Stone Shower Trays | Stone, Ceramic or Porcelain Shower Tile – Which is Best?
Porcelain tile is the best tile for showers in my opinion. They can be as attractive as any other type of tile but they have the added advantages of high density and low moisture permeability. These are important factors when shower wall waterproofing is a priority.
In my humble opinion, a porcelain tile shower is generally better than a ceramic tile shower, but there are benefits to using ceramic over porcelain.
Below I will compare these two types of tile, assuming that they are being installed into an area of constant water immersion…….. in other words, a fish pond you plan to build in your backyard (just kidding), or a shower (much more common).
The Main Difference
In a word, the primary difference between porcelain tiles and ceramic tiles is density. The more dense a tile, the less permeable it is to water (more on that later), and the more load stress it can handle.
Porcelain and Ceramic Density
As mentioned above, the decision about ceramic or porcelain tile is all about material density. Although the density of porcelain tiles can vary significantly, porcelain is more like glass in the way it absorbs water.
Think of a porcelain tea cup that you may have in your kitchen cupboard. It is not completely water resistant like glass, but it does repel water similar to glass.
In contrast, ceramic tile absorbs water quite readily.
You can probably look in your kitchen cupboard again for another good example of this. On the unglazed base of any ceramic mug, you can see the tone of the ceramic gets darker when exposed to water. This indicates that it’s absorbing water.
I’m not suggesting that the top face of the ceramic tiles in your shower will be unglazed like the base of your coffee mug, but it’s a good way to see the major difference between the material used to make porcelain vs ceramic tile.
The fact is, the glazing on the top surface of all ceramic products only inhibits moisture from being absorbed. No matter how it is glazed, it will always be far more permeable than porcelain.
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