Porcelain Tile Flooring Pros and Cons

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Porcelain tile is most commonly used on walls. As you can see above, it looks really great!

However, most people don’t realize it’s great for flooring too. Particularly in bathrooms, it can be a great choice.

It is made from several types of clay, feldspar, talc, and sand mixed and fired in a furnace at higher temperatures than standard ceramic tile flooring. Generally, the tile comes in the same thicknesses as ceramic tile, but they are a little bit heavier.

But what are some of the pros and cons of porcelain tile flooring? Are porcelain tiles floors worth it?

Porcelain tile flooring is known for its durability, beauty, and strength and is generally considered an improved flooring product compared to standard ceramic tile. They are also available in different styles and shapes compared to ceramic tiles, the reason many homeowners and business owners decide to go with the flooring product. Porcelain tile flooring cons include being expensive, heavier, and difficult to install.

Even though porcelain tile flooring has some cons that I’ve mentioned above, it offers many benefits that other flooring options don’t. Read this article to explore some of the benefits and downsides of porcelain tiles in detail.

Are Porcelain Tiles Floors Worth It?

The main reason for choosing porcelain tile over ceramic is the durability of the former. Porcelain tiles are denser compared to ceramic tiles, thus less subject to wear and tear. Their durability makes them a popular option for use in commercial environments. Porcelain tiles can be a good choice if you are looking for performance and use the advantages of ceramic tiles. While DIY installation is quite challenging, time-consuming, and labor-intensive, the result is beautiful flooring that can last for many decades.

Advantages of Porcelain Tiles

1. They are durable

Porcelain tiles are denser, harder, and less porous compared to other flooring tiles. For instance, the thickness of standard porcelain tiles ranges between 6.35 mm and 19.05 mm. In contrast, standard ceramic tiles’ thickness ranges between 6.35 mm and 9.5 mm. Thicker tiles are less likely to crack or break compared to thinner tiles. You may want to install thicker porcelain tiles in high-traffic areas because their durability is important in preventing wear and tear.

2. Easy to clean and maintain

Porcelain tile flooring is less porous so it doesn’t harbor bacteria and stubborn stains easily. You can easily clean polished porcelain tiles and smooth glazed surface tiles with water and soap. Textured and unglazed porcelain tiles can be cleaned easily using a dry mop and a vacuum cleaner.

3. Water-resistant

Another advantage of porcelain tile is that they are resistant to water thus ideal for waterproofing. The tiles are virtually impenetrable and will not allow fluids and liquids to penetrate, making them easier to clean and maintain. Being water-resistant means that you don’t have to worry about mold accumulation on the underlayment.

4. Aesthetically appealing

Another thing that makes porcelain tiles popular among many homeowners is the material look. The tiles come in a range of extremely beautiful appearances thus very effective in designing homes. Installing them on the floors can transform your space into a thrilling environment you are truly proud of.

5. High traffic use

Porcelain tiles are ideal for use in high traffic areas as they are water-resistant, strong, easy to clean, and durable. They can not only hold up to any use or abuse subjected to it every day but also withstand wear and tear for more than a decade.

6. Available in a wide range of styles

Porcelain tiles are available in a wide range of styles and appearances to suit different needs and presences. The tiles can be made to look like limestone, hardwoods, slate, granite, marble, or just any look of your preferred flooring material.

Disadvantages of Porcelain Tile Flooring

1. Difficult to install

One of the disadvantages of porcelain tiles is that they are difficult to install. They are difficult to work with, extremely exacting, and labor-intensive. For an efficient and flawless finish, I recommend you call upon a professional contractor to install your porcelain floor. If you are looking for a DIY installation project, peel-and-stick vinyl tiles might be a better option.

2. They are heavier

Most porcelain tiles meant for commercial use range from 5 to 7 pounds per square foot. The estimated weight of stone tiles is around 6 pounds per square foot while that of ceramic tiles is around 4 pounds per square foot. As you can see, porcelain tiles are a little bit heavier compared to other floor tiles.

The weight of porcelain tiles might be a good thing when it comes to durability but not a good thing during installation. It’s a lot of work lifting heavier tiles, especially when carrying them to the second and upper floors.

3. More expensive

Porcelain tiles are not only expensive to purchase but also costly when it comes to installation. For indoor tiles, the cost ranges anywhere from $3 to $12 per square foot. For outdoor porcelain tiles, especially the ones installed in commercial areas, the cost may go as high as $35 per square foot.

The cost of installation varies depending on different factors such as the location of installation and the contractor you hire to do the installation. For instance, kitchen countertop or backsplash porcelain tile installation costs more cost a little bit more compared to flooring tile.

4. Difficult to repair

Porcelain tiles might be easier to maintain but they are difficult to repair. In some cases, you can fix small cracks and chips using a porcelain repair kit. However, for larger repair, you need to call upon a professional flooring contractor to repair it. Otherwise, cracked porcelain tiles should be replaced immediately to prevent water from damaging a mortar bed.

Can You Use Porcelain Tile Outdoors?

Porcelain tiles are an excellent choice for outdoor use. The tiles are extremely resistant to ultraviolet rays fading. Porcelain tiles are also stain and weather-resistant thanks to their less than 0.5% water absorption rate. Another reason that makes porcelain tiles good for outdoor use is durability. They are stronger and more durable compared to other flooring materials.

Glazed Porcelain Tile Problems

1. Dirty grout

This is one of the leading problems of grazed porcelain tiles. Since the grout is porous, it is likely to be stained by blood, oil, food, ink, and other spills. The dirt gets trapped within the grout lines, reducing the visual appearance of the porcelain flooring as a result. Never use any type of acid-based cleanser, wax cleaners, oil-based detergents, or product containing ammonia to clean a stained grout.

2. Falling and slipping concerns

Falling and slipping are major concerns of glazed porcelain tile floors, especially in wet conditions. The slip resistance varies considerably depending on the type of glaze applied and the amount of moisture on the floor. You can apply non-slip or anti-slip treatments to make your tiles slip-resistant.

3. Grinding marks and scratches

There are two forms of scratches and marks that might appear on glazed porcelain tiles. They include true scratches with metal particles and metal marks that look like real scratches. These scratches or marks appear when a metal object is dragged across the tile, the metal object falls on the floor or when water containing metal particles is poured on the surface.

4. Optical hazing

Another problem with glazed porcelain tiles is optical hazing, a type of discoloration. This discoloration is noticeable when light is shone on the glazed porcelain tiles from a certain angle. One of the common causes of optical hazing is improperly manufactured tiles.

5. Excessive lippage

Lippage on glazed porcelain tiles is the difference in height between two adjacent edges of porcelain tiles. The degree of tile warpage and poor installation are some of the common causes of tile lippage.

6. Shade or color variation

Shade or color variation is also another problem of glazed porcelain tiles. Usually, glazed porcelain tiles have greater shade variation because they are manufactured from natural raw materials. Different batches or boxes of the porcelain tiles can potentially have slight variations.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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