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I'm planning on tiling a bathroom floor and a walk-in shower (including the ceiling). I haven't looked into pricing yet, but I've heard that porcelain would be a better, yet more expensive material to use in a bathroom.

  • What type of porcelain should I use if I want it in a bathroom and shower?
  • What type of ceramic should I use if I want it in a bathroom and shower?
  • How much more expensive is porcelain (in general)?
  • Is it worth spending the extra money on porcelain?
  • What are the general pros/cons of each material?
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I am going to give you a very short answer to a very involved topic. Ceramic and porcelain are basically similar products. There are very good and very cheap versions or each product. When you go to your supplier, ask about the hardness rating. Softer cheap tile usually has a redish tint on the back side and is made from softer clay, typically in Mexico. Some of the better grades come from Turkey, Italy etc. and have hardness ratings of 5 or above and have a gray or whiteish back. Most ceramic tiles have a thinner glaze finish than Porcelain. I usually prefer a porcelain glaze on a good hard base in shower and bath applications. Rather than hitting the box stores first, go to a few tile specialty tile stores where a good knowledgeable sales person can give you a good education on the differences. If and when you feel comfortable with your knowledge about tile, find a professional flooring liquidator in your area where you may save anywhere from 40 to 80% on overages, returns or closeouts. I recently purchased 600 sq feet of Turkish porcelain grade 5 commercial tiles for 60 cents a square foot that retailed for over $8 a foot, at a local flooring liquidator. (overages from a hotel job) Huge savings.

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I am a committee member of the Tile Council of North America. I would like to point out that the advantage of porcelain tile over other types of ceramic bodies is its denseness. It is 1/2 of 1 % absorptive and can be used extensively in wet areas, even exterior types of installations. The problem with some imported so called porcelain tiles today is that they do not meet the ANSI requirement of this 1/2 of 1% absorptive quality. In fact some are even as much as 8% to 9% absorptive and are being called porcelain ceramic tiles. If you were to place these in wet areas you would have some serious failure problems. Be sure whatever you buy has the certification label from the TCNA that it does meet this porcelain requirement. This is truly a much better more durable product than talc body or clay body ceramic tiles.

Thanks Captain Bay

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2  
Why is porcelain tile "truly a much better" product than talc-body or clay-body ceramic tile? –  Vebjorn Ljosa Dec 24 '10 at 14:56
1  
do you have a link to a good teaching article about types and ratings of tiles in general? I would love to read some. –  shirlock homes Dec 25 '10 at 9:19
    
If your looking for good teaching articles on types and ratings of tiles check out this website ctasc.com Thanks captainbay –  Howard Pryor Dec 28 '10 at 13:06

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