Ceramic Tile Buyers Guide

- Get 5 Free Samples

Planning on purchasing ceramic tiles? We compiled a list of some of the important considerations
you should take into account prior to making a decision, by creating a ceramic tile comparison chart
that reviews other popular ceramic wall and floor tile alternatives. In addition, the following comparison chart would help you as well to better understand the advantages and drawbacks of ceramic tile flooring.

However, since different characteristics of different tile options cannot be conveyed by words
or images alone, we have also partnered with leading online tile wholesalers, and invite you to
choose up to 5 Free Tile Samples of any kind, including ceramic tile samples.
All samples ship free, and would arrive within 1-2 business days straight to your door.

Obtaining free samples would allow you to really hold down the materials and examine their quality and other attributes (e.g., durability, scratch-resistance, dimensions, color matching, feeling of the texture, etc.) straight from the comfort of your own home. To choose and receive your free samples, simply scroll down to the bottom of the following comparison chart and click on the button in the relevant column.

In addition, you can click here to get a free installation cost estimate for your project.

Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain vs. Vinyl vs. Marble

Comparison Chart: Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile vs. Luxury Vinyl Tile vs. Marble Tile:

  Ceramic Tile Porcelain Tile Luxury Vinyl Flooring
(Planks & Tiles)
Marble Tile
What is it made of Mixture of clay and natural minerals, which goes through a kiln-firing process. Similar to ceramic, however, Porcelain is produced with a finer grain clay, and is fired at much higher temperatures. Porcelain and ceramic tiles that imitate the look of wood or stone, are also digitally rendered with advanced HD print technology. Vinyl, dyes, felt and fiberglass, topped with a photographic image (of the stone type or wood it imitates) and finished with a protective layer. A metamorphic rock that was conceived after it was exposed to high pressures and temperatures, yielding a smooth and refined texture.
Durability According to product specific PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) Rating (between 1-5; higher PEI = more durable). E.g, Class 3 and above suits both residential flooring and walls. The PEI rating is assigned according to the results of numerous tests performed on the relevant tile. Porcelain belongs to the ceramic category, and its durability is indexed by the PEI rating as well. Porcelain is more durable than ceramic since it is much denser due to the different process of its manufacturing. Luxury vinyl tiles are very durable, more than hardwood and laminate flooring, though not as durable as ceramic and porcelain. The wear layer thickness of the vinyl tile would point out how durable it should be. Good durability, though not as ceramic or porcelain.
Cost (material prices) $1.00 - $3.00 /sq ft $1.00 - $20.00 /sq ft $1.00 - $5.00 /sq ft; Easy click and lock installation reduces labor costs significantly. $2.50 - $15.00 /sq ft
Total Cost (with Installaion) Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate
Environment friendly Considered very eco-friendly: Ceramic is made from natural materials; Kiln fired at extremely high temperatures which reduces finished product VOC emissions to zero; Has one of the longest life cycles of any flooring products in the market today. Similar eco-friendliness as ceramic tiles. A synthetic material, Vinyl is quite difficult to recycle. It may however be recycled to new vinyl. Compared to other flooring materials, it is asserted that vinyl manufacturering and transportation are less energy-consumptive. In the sense that it is not a renewable resource, can be considered not very eco-friendly, yet, Marble's sustainability can save the need to frequently replace it and contribute to a better environmental impact.
Areas commonly used Ceramic tiles are used both for floor surfaces and for wall cladding, in any area of the home, especially in bathrooms. ceramic tiles with higher PEI can would suit for commercial settings as well. Similar to ceramic; However, while some ceramic tiles are suitable for outdoor use, the vast majority of porcelain tiles are perfect for exterior settings, thanks to their better durability. Extremely versatile, can be used in virtually every room, including basements, bathrooms and kitchens (any level of the home), as luxury Vinyl is highly resistant to water. Vinyl tiles and planks with a thicker wear layer can be used in commercial settings as well. Bathrooms, hallways, foyers, modern kitchens, wall cladding. Commonly used in hot and humid areas, as it provides a cool walking surface.
Ease of DIY Installation A professional installer is recommended; However, ceramic is easier to install than porcelain as it is less dense, and less special tools are needed. A professional installer is recommended. Easy floating installation is suitable for DIY projects as well, as there's no need to adhere the vinyl tiles with mortar. Replacing damaged tiles would be easier as there's no grout involved. Vinyl tiles are also easier to cut down (may require only a utility knife or a table saw). A professional installer with marble experience is recommended.
Scratch and dent resistance Very good resistance compared to other flooring types, though not as good as porcelain. Great resistance to scratches. However, any tile can eventually chip if a heavy object is dropped on it. Very resistant to scratches and denting. Can scratch or chip easier than ceramic, yet it is less vulnerable compared to wood or regular vinyl floors.
Thickness 6mm – 10mm 9.5mm (= 3/8″, Industry standard) 2mm – 10mm; to be chosen according to the situation and desired wear layer; 3mm and above would generally suite floating floor installations; thicker tiles may be recommended if installed directly over concrete to allow for more cushion. 10mm – 13mm
Dimensions Typically 6″x6″ - 24″x24″ Typically 6″x6″ - 24″x24″; Stone and wood grain ceramic porcelain tiles are offered in additional dimensions, such as wood plank dimensions of 6″*24″. Planks: Length: usually ranges 37″-47″; Width: 6″-8″.
Tiles: Usually 12″x24″, 18″x18″.
Typically 4″x4″ - 24″x24″
Fading due to UV exposure No. No. No. Not remarkably.
Warmth and Feel Ceramic feels quiet hard and cold underfoot, compared to hardwood or vinyl (radiant heating can be installed, or an area rug can be used). Similar to ceramic tile. Vinyl feels warmer and softer underfoot compared to ceramic tile. Vinyl with an attached underpad would be even more cushioned. Similar to ceramic, feels quiet cool underfoot.
Ease of Cleaning Easily cleaned with a damp mop. Unglazed ceramic tile is more slip-resistant, while glazed ceramic tile is easier to clean. Similar to ceramic tiles. Cleaned with a damp mop or a swiffer; special cleaners (such as neutral-pH agents) might be required for deeper cleaning. A damp mop should be used; Spills should be cleaned immediately, natural poultices may be used to remove difficult stains.
Colors and pattern variety Ceramic tiles arrive in various textures and colors (from solid colors as white, black and gray, to lively green, red and blue). Porcelain tiles arrive in a wide texture selection, such as real natural stone and hardwood appearance. Offered at matte and polished finish types. Full body porcelain are colored all the way through; Glazed porcelain tiles are colored only on their surface (with a white body). Offered at different natural stone patterns and in different wood grain patterns. Natural unique variation of colors and patterns. Polished marble is more opaque; Honed marble would be better slip-resistant.
Installation surface restrictions Ceramic tile should generally be installed right over level concrete. In case of a top plywood layer, laying a cement board first may be recommended. Generally, it is not advisable to install porcelain over subfloors such as vinyl. Similar to ceramic. Can be installed above existing subfloors such as linoleum, tile, vinyl, wood floors and plywood. Always check the specific manufacturer recommendations. Similar to ceramic, existing flooring should be removed first, and existing subfloors should be repaired or replaced. Membrane underlayment or cement boards may be required to use according to the specific situation.
Care and Maintenance No sealing or waxing is needed; Virtually requires no maintenance compared to natural stone or wood floors. Similar to ceramic tiles. Very low-maintenance, easy to clean, no refinishing is required. Easy to replace an individual tile if it got damaged. Can last for a lifetime wonderfully if maintained properly; Sealing would be required periodically, more often if the area is in frequent contact with water.
Climatic Suitability Suits all climates indoors, typically does not suit outdoors use especially in cold climates; Look the frost resistance and water absorption rates of the specific product. Thanks to its high density, Porcelain tile flooring suits all climates, generally for exterior use as well. Suitable in any climate (Indoors). Suits all climates for indoors use; Marble has a high water absorption rate (compared to other stones) and therefore does not suite outdoors use in extreme cold climate.
Can it be installed over radiant heat Generally yes. Yes. Generally yes, check specific product information. Yes.
Pattern repetition All tiles look the same. In the case of Porcelain or ceramic stone grain tile (or a wood grain tile), pattern may repeat about every 8 tiles. Repeats usually about every 8 tiles (thus, you should lay the tiles out in advance before installing them). No repetition, as each marble is a natural stone, so each tile is unique and impressive.
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