The pros and cons of porcelain tile

October 28, 2020

porcelain tile floor and wall

Porcelain tile is one of the hottest new products in the flooring industry, and it has a lot of advantages that make it desirable for homeowners and even for commercial use. It’s not right for everyone, though, and has some drawbacks that need to be considered when making your choice. In this post, we’ll address the pros and cons of porcelain tile so that you can choose wisely!

What is Porcelain Tile?

Ceramic tile has been manufactured for thousands of years, and it is an extremely familiar material that is used for flooring as well as wall coverings. Porcelain tile is similar, but it’s not just glorified ceramic. Both materials start out as clay, and are molded into a variety of shapes and thicknesses, glazed, and then fired in a kiln. There, however, is where the similarities end. 

The clay used for porcelain tile is more refined and much denser. It is also fired at a higher temperature, under greater pressure. The result is a more robust, strong, durable, and water-resistant tile than ordinary ceramic tile. 

porcelain tile flooring blue and beige living room

Pros to consider:

Porcelain tile is highly durable. Because it is extremely hard and dense, this tile resists wear, scratching, chipping, and cracking. That makes it an exceptional choice for homes with pets and active children. Its toughness also makes it suitable for high traffic areas, which makes it a popular choice for commercial use in hotels, restaurants, stores, and other businesses. Owners of rental properties may appreciate it as well, because it won’t have to be replaced for decades.

One thing that sets porcelain tile apart from other flooring materials is its water resistance — in fact, it is completely waterproof. That makes it an exceptional flooring for areas that are prone to getting wet, such as bathroom tile and kitchen tile.

Because it is waterproof, this modern tile is also extremely resistant to staining, so you won’t have to worry about mud being tracked in by pets and family members, messy meals, or the kids’ art projects. That makes it super-easy to clean with a minimum of cleaning products — and we’re all trying to reduce the amount of chemicals in our home, including noxious cleansers. Porcelain tile will not harbor germs, mold, or mildew.

You’ll love how easy porcelain tile is to care for. Unlike natural stone flooring, porcelain tile never needs to be sealed to maintain its waterproof properties. It does not need to be polished, waxed, buffed, or re-finished. 

porcelain wood look plank flooring

Speaking of easy maintenance, porcelain tile can recreate the look of high-maintenance flooring types such as marble, travertine, wood, and even metal. A modern, high-tech inkjet printing process creates tile that looks like marble so realistically that you’d need to examine it closely to tell the difference, allowing you to design an upscale, opulent decorating scheme without the worry that comes with maintaining real marble. You can have hardwood flooring — or the look of it, at least — in areas that you’d normally never install wood, such as the bathroom. Porcelain tile can replicate the character of metallic tile, complete with an aged patina that won’t wipe away.

Just as you can choose from many different tile patterns, it is also available in a wide array of shapes and sizes. This allows you full rein for creativity. For example, with porcelain wood tile planks, you can replicate the look of a sophisticated parquet floor. Check out this flooring visualizer tool below to get some inspiration for your own home.

Modern porcelain tile is even frost proof, so you can install it outdoors. Use it to finish off a three-seasons room, a patio, or even a pool deck. Some homeowners install it in a kitchen or family room, and then continue it into an adjacent outdoor space to create a unified design.

Finally, should one of your porcelain tiles crack or break under extreme circumstances, there’s no need to replace the entire floor. Just pry up the damaged tile and replace it.

Cons to consider:

Although porcelain tile is extremely durable, it does occasionally chip, particularly around the edges. This may not be noticeable with through-body composition, but it is a concern.

Porcelain tile is typically more expensive than ceramic and other popular flooring materials. Because of its hardness and durability, it wears so well that the tile may last for decades, which makes it a great value. But, there may be a significantly higher cash outlay at the time of installation.

Another factor adding to the cost of porcelain flooring is the labor cost of installation. Unlike other types of flooring, porcelain tile installation is not really a DIY job. It is extremely heavy, it needs specialized equipment to cut, and it’s unforgiving. An experienced, professional tile installer is recommended.

porcelain_blue floral pattern tile

The density of porcelain tile can create problems too. You’ll need to make sure that your sub-floor and supports are strong enough to withstand the extra weight. Reinforcing your floor can add to the installation cost.

Compared to other flooring materials, such as hardwood flooring, natural stone, or vinyl tile, porcelain tile can be less comfortable underfoot due to its hardness. It’s colder to walk on, especially in the winter. If you desire under-floor heating, though, porcelain tile is perfect for the job.

When planning home renovations, homeowners often consider their return on investment. They want to know that the money they spend will translate into a higher selling price, if they should choose to put their home on the market one day. Unfortunately, porcelain tile isn’t known for its ability to add value to the home, despite its beneficial features. However, a beautiful tile floor can make your home much more appealing, so it sells faster!

As you can see, porcelain tile has a lot of benefits that contribute to its growing popularity. It’s not the perfect flooring choice for everyone and every application, however. Consider the pros and cons to listed here, and you can be confident when making your choice.