porcelain or ceramic tile in Colorado Springs, CO

How to Tell if Tile is Porcelain or Ceramic

Are you in the midst of a home renovation project and trying to figure out whether the tile you're eyeing is porcelain or ceramic?

Understanding the differences between these two popular materials can help you make the right choice for your space. Uncover the mystery between ceramic and porcelain tile floors as well as how to tell the difference betwee them with your tile floor experts at Carpet World of Colorado Springs. When you’re ready, stop by or give us a call and browse our selection of porcelain and ceramic tiles in Colorado Springs, CO

Porcelain or ceramic tile: what’s the difference? 

Both porcelain and ceramic tiles are made from clay, but their composition and manufacturing processes differ, resulting in distinct characteristics.

Porcelain tile

Porcelain tile is made from refined clay and other minerals, which are then fired at extremely high temperatures. This process creates a dense, hard material that is highly resistant to water, stains, and scratches. Porcelain tiles are known for their durability and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. They come in a wide range of colors, patterns, and finishes, making them a versatile choice for various design styles.

Ceramic tile

Ceramic tile is also made from clay, but it is less dense and more porous than porcelain tile. It is fired at lower temperatures, which makes it more susceptible to water damage and wear over time. Ceramic tiles are available in an array of colors and designs and are often used for indoor applications such as kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways.

How to tell if tile is porcelain or ceramic

Now that we've covered the basics, let's delve into how you can determine whether a tile is porcelain or ceramic.

Check the label

The easiest way to identify the type of tile is to check the packaging or label. Most manufacturers clearly specify whether the tile is porcelain or ceramic. Look for terms like "porcelain stoneware" or "ceramic tile" on the box.

Inspect the edges

Examine the edges of the tile closely. Porcelain tiles typically have a straight, clean edge due to their density and hardness. In contrast, ceramic tiles may have a slightly rounded or irregular edge.

Look at the surface

Porcelain tiles often have a smoother, more polished surface compared to ceramic tiles. Run your fingers over the tile's surface to feel for any texture or irregularities. Porcelain tiles are also less likely to have glaze variations or color inconsistencies.

Check the water absorption rate

Porcelain tiles have a lower water absorption rate than ceramic tiles, typically less than 0.5%. You can perform a simple water absorption test by placing a few drops of water on the back of the tile. If the water is absorbed quickly, it's likely ceramic. If it beads up or takes a while to absorb, it's probably porcelain.

Consider the weight

Porcelain tiles are denser and heavier than ceramic tiles due to their composition. Pick up a few tiles of different types and compare their weight. Porcelain tiles will feel more substantial in your hand.

Analyze for PEI ratings

The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rates tiles based on their durability and suitability for different applications. Porcelain tiles typically have higher PEI ratings, indicating greater resistance to wear and abrasion. Check the tile's packaging or ask the retailer about its PEI rating.

When in doubt, call Carpet World of Colorado Springs

Whether you're remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, or outdoor patio, choosing the right type of tile is essential for achieving the desired look and performance. By familiarizing yourself with the characteristics of porcelain and ceramic tiles and using the tips provided in this guide, you can confidently select the perfect tile for your project.

If you're in the Colorado Springs area and need assistance with tile selection or installation, don't hesitate to reach out to Carpet World Of Colorado Springs. As a locally-owned and operated business serving Black Forest, Castle Rock, Monument, and Colorado Springs, CO, we pride ourselves on pairing our customers with high-quality products and exceptional service. Visit or call us today for all your flooring needs!