Answers to your questions
Have questions about ceramic or porcelain tile? Great Lakes Carpet & Tile has answers! Read through some of our FAQs on tile before you buy.
There are a few differences between ceramic and porcelain tile. Ceramic tile is made up of clay, plus other naturally occurring minerals. It can be glazed or unglazed. Glazed ceramic tile has a coating applied to the body that gives the tile its color and finish. The color of ceramic tile typically does not run through the body.
Porcelain tile comes in either a glazed finish or through-body color. Through-body porcelain tiles have the same color all the way through and, if chipped or scratched, will not change color. Glazed porcelain tiles are similar to glazed ceramic tiles with a design layer (glaze) on top and a tile body that is a different color.
Glazed tiles already have the protective coating that seals them from stains and moisture. Unglazed tiles do not have a protective coating. After installation, you will need to use a sealant for unglazed tiles and for porous grout.
Grout joints are an aesthetic decision. Rule of thumb is that larger joints have a tendency to crack and attract more dirt than smaller joints. A thin grout joint ranges from 1/8-inch to 3/16-inch. If your tile design contains multiple sizes, a 1/4-inch grout joint lends a consistent, cohesive look to the finished floor.
Porcelain tile is fired at extremely high temperatures (around 2000 degrees fahrenheit) until it becomes vitrified, meaning it has a very low porosity. This makes porcelain exceptionally durable. In fact, it's 30% harder than granite and marble. Most porcelain tiles are suitable for both indoor and outdoor installations.