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If you’re thinking of redoing your flooring, you might be confused about all the tile options. Many people think of porcelain tiles and ceramic tiles as vastly different types, while others use the names interchangeably. To begin with, both porcelain and ceramic tiles belong to the same family of tile types, which is called ceramic, but their functionality differs.
This can get very confusing, so let’s break down the differences.
When choosing tile options for different areas in your home, you might not be sure which option is best. Here are some things to look for:
When comparing and contrasting costs, ceramic tiles are definitely the cheaper option. Porcelain tiles cost around $4-$8 per square foot, which is slightly more expensive than ceramic tiles. The cost of porcelain tiles can skyrocket though when it comes to custom tiles. With the vast variety and ease of customization in porcelain tiles, many homeowners opt to go with a tile that will blend seamlessly with their homes and tastes. Porcelain tiles are not only available in a range of colors and finishes, but they can be cut into a plethora of shapes as well. Because of that, you might have heard that porcelain tiles are very expensive, with custom quotes going anywhere to $25 per square foot.
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PEI stands for “Porcelain Enamel Institute” and this rating system helps you to determine the hardness and durability of the tile, allowing you to understand where it can be installed. In general, tiles are rated starting with the number 1, and go up to 5. Here is the general scheme:
1 – no foot traffic and should be used in residential and commercial wall applications only. Never to be used underfoot or in shower areas.
2 – light foot traffic, and can be used on walls and floors that receive little traffic such as residential bathrooms.
3 – light to moderate traffic, and can be used on countertops, walls, and floors that receive normal foot traffic.
4 – moderate to heavy traffic, and can be used in all residential areas, and medium commercial areas.
5 – heavy to extra heavy traffic, and can be used in all residential and heavy commercial foot traffic areas. Used for flooring, and is generally thought too unattractive to use in interior residential applications.
When it comes down to choosing a tile, the choice between ceramic and porcelain tile is entirely up to you and depends heavily on the area in which you decide to use it in. Both are attractive, versatile in colors and shapes, and are popular across the board.