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Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile: The Pros and Cons of Each


When selecting tiles for a floor, wall, countertop, or any other surface, you have several materials to choose from. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are among the most popular for many homeowners, and there are good reasons for that. Both are sturdy, versatile, and easy to clean.
That said, there are some key differences between the two. So which is better for you?

Here are the pros and cons of ceramic and porcelain tiles.

What Is the Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile?

At a glance, it can be tough to tell ceramic and porcelain apart. Both are made from clay that’s been hardened in a kiln.

The key difference is that porcelain is made from refined clay that is then kiln-fired for longer at a higher temperature. This makes it harder, denser, and less porous than ceramic.

That doesn’t mean porcelain is better than ceramic, though. Each has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s take a closer look.

The Pros and Cons of Porcelain Tile


Porcelain Tile Pros

  • Durability: Porcelain’s greater density makes it more durable than ceramic tile and less vulnerable to wear-and-tear. This makes it especially popular as a flooring option in high-traffic areas in homes and commercial settings.

  • Water Resistance: Compared to ceramic, porcelain tile is almost completely waterproof, making it perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor applications. In fact, according to Tile Council of North America standards, a tile must have a water absorption rate of 0.5% or less to qualify as porcelain.

  • Cold Resistance: Porcelain doesn’t expand or contract with changes in the temperature as much as ceramic, making it less likely to crack—especially outside.

  • Camouflage: Recent innovations have made it easier to design porcelain tiles that mimic other materials, such as natural stone or hardwood. This can be a great way to give your home the aesthetics of another material while retaining the convenience of tile.

Porcelain Tile Cons

  1. Cutting: Porcelain is dense, hard, and strong. That increases its durability, but also makes it more brittle. Cutting porcelain tiles can be tricky, especially for an inexperienced DIYer. If your tile installation project is going to require cutting, you might need to bring a professional on board to avoid accidentally destroying your porcelain tiles.

  2. Cost: Manufacturing porcelain tile costs more than manufacturing ceramic, and that makes the final product more expensive. Depending on your budget, porcelain tile may not always be practical.

Ceramic Tile Pros

  • Cost: Ceramic tile is generally a more affordable option than porcelain.

  • Cutting: Because ceramic tile is softer than porcelain, it’s much easier to cut and shape, making it better suited to most DIY projects.

  • Variety: Both porcelain and ceramic tiles can come in a wide range of beautiful styles. But if you’re looking for an especially intricate or unique design, you might have better luck with ceramic.

  • Weight: Ceramic is slightly lighter than porcelain, which can be an advantage when installing tiles on an upstairs floor or other surface with poor support.

Ceramic Tile Cons

  • Water Absorption: Due to its porous nature, ceramic isn’t nearly as waterproof as porcelain. This can make it less useful in wet areas—especially outside. Ceramic tile should never be used for exterior applications.

  • Cold Weather Vulnerability: Ceramic tiles will expand and contract more as a result of temperature changes, making them more prone to cracking in cold weather.

  • Durability: Ceramic tile isn’t quite as tough as porcelain, reducing its durability over time.

Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile: Which Is Better for You?


Is porcelain or ceramic tile better for you? Well, that depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Porcelain is often your best bet for areas with moisture, such as:

  • Bathrooms

  • Showers

  • Kitchen countertops and backsplashes

  • Damp basements

And if you’re planning to install tiles outside—say for a patio, porch, or gazebo—porcelain is really your only choice between the two. That’s especially true if you live in a region with colder weather, where ceramic tiles would be more likely to crack.

Likewise, porcelain flooring is often more reliable in high-traffic areas, including entryways, kitchens, and hallways.

On the other hand, ceramic tile might be more convenient for a DIY project, and you may have an easier time finding intricate and ornate designs. Plus, ceramic is typically going to be more affordable for a smaller budget.

Need Some Help Making the Right Call?

If you’d like some expert advice on the best tile options for you, we’re ready to lend a hand. 

At Downright Tile and Renovations, we’ve helped countless homeowners in the greater Kansas City area with their remodeling projects, and we’d love to do the same for you. From design to installation to repair, we’re your one-stop shop for all things tile.

Just contact us, and we’ll make sure you get the perfect solutions for your unique needs and preferences.

Click here to schedule a free, in-home consultation.

client Reviews

out of 26 reviews

Ann Butler

Cody was very professional, he was very good at advising us what would work well together. He showed up when he said he would , and never left a mess. We were under a time crunch , and Cody came through. The bathroom turned out beautiful. We are very happy with the end result.
We really appreciate all the hard work Cody and Trenton put into this job.

Stillwell, KS.

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Charlton Latta

Great service, a true professional. Shower looks amazing. DownRight Tile is the best, please give them a shot you won't be disappointed!

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David Von Drehle

Downright Tile did two bathroom remodels for us and we were very happy with both. One of them required extensive demolition and substantial changes to the plumbing. Cody was careful, clean, and great with communication. His tile work is absolutely first rate.

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James Pate

Downright Tile are true craftsmen. They take genuine pride in their work and make sure the customer is happy throughout the entire process. Some specifics from my experience:
-exceptional client communication
-upfront/honest pricing
-very prompt
-kept work area clean and free of debris
-extraordinary finished product!!!
I couldn’t be happier with my experience. Would hire again without question.

Weatherby Lake, MO.

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Mardi Mahaffy

Not only did DownRight Tile do an excellent job, but Cody and his team went above and beyond to complete the job within a tight time frame.

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Nicole Galemore

Our experience with DownRight Tile was exceptional. We hired DownRight to install glass subway tile for our kitchen backsplash and coffee nook. They were extremely helpful throughout the entire process. From the get-go, they answered my millions of questions quickly and thoroughly. They were on-time throughout the project. I would say our project was a bit more complicated due to using glass tile and having a 70+ year old home with warped walls that weren't square. They exceeded our expectations and now we are using them for our bath remodel!

Shawnee, KS.

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Patricia Landwehr

My husband and I contracted with Downright Tile and Renovations to tile our basement laundry room and bath. Our house is 100 years old and the basement floor is not flat in places. They were able to level it out before installing the tile. The walls are not perfectly square, so we had lots of discussion about the best way to lay the tile to minimize the issue. They were very professional, arrived when they said they would, cleaned up the area daily and did a great job installing the tile. My husband is an engineer and very picky and was very pleased with the work. We highly recommend them. They are true craftsmen.

Brookside, MO

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Donald White

Downright Tile and Renovations repaired a faulty installation of a tiled shower floor. The previous contractor did not know what he was doing and the floor leaked badly. Downright Tile was great to work with on the project and now the shower works great. They were responsive, on time and within reason on cost. They finished the job ahead of schedule.

Independence, MO

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Dan Welter

Downright Tile and Renovations were wonderful. They are true craftsmen. Easy to work with and the results are just what I wanted. I think their pricing is too low, but don't let them know till I call them again. Thanks.

Overland Park, KS

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Shanna Smith

We are so happy we found Downright Tile. They were able to give us a custom look using the products we preferred, including modern design elements like a linear drain. They were friendly, respectful, and communicative, and do everything they can to pass cost savings on to you. Their attention to detail is fantastic. We recommend them to everyone we can, and we plan to have them back for a project in the future!

Overland Park, KS

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Jon Sestak

I cannot speak highly enough about my tile experience with Downright Tile and Renovations. First of all I want to say that the attention to detail is fantastic. Our job took a little longer, but the overall product looked amazing once finished. Typically, I would expect a job to be rushed in our circumstances, but the attention to detail did not diminish as the project went longer than expected. Would give these guys six stars if possible.

Overland Park, KS

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Kiven Moise

Downright Tile and Renovations are very professional. They did an excellent job tiling my shower walls. If your up against the fence about a tile job give them a try you won't be disappointed.

Independence, MO

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Alexzis Thomson

Thank you, Downright Tile and Renovations, for the awesome tile work! You helped convert our nightmare shower into a working shower! We initially hired a family friend to tile our master shower and shower floor. Long story short, the shower floor was not set properly and did not drain the water. :( I found Downright Tile and saw they had a knack for tile (especially showers), and knew they were the right company for the job. They knew exactly what to fix and how to fix it PROPERLY. They came in and did the job fast and effective! I can't wait to use the shower and not have to use a squeegee every time I get out. Thank you again!!! I highly recommend!

Blue Springs, MO

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Brian Joy Wilhide

We hired Downright Tile to install new tile in our fireplace. Our old tile was pretty dull... we replaced it with Jinshan Coffee tile. They advised us as to the condition of the new tiles (some chipped, some cracked, etc.) and we were able to request a new batch before we start our bathroom tiling project. They were able to select some very nice tiles for the fireplace and it is quite beautiful now. As soon as we have our ducks in a row with the new tile, we will be happy to bring Downright Tile back to replace our bathroom tile.

Lenexa, KS

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Angie's List Customer Review

We hired Downright Tile and Renovations to re-tile two fireplaces and our master bath floor. We picked our floor tile and when it arrived, found a lot of surprises. It was the last tile of it's kind from the quarry and there was a lot of variety. Downright Tile came up with a unique design which made great use of the variety and the final product is truly beautiful. They also re-tiled our family room fireplace with the same tiles. They suggested stacked stone tiles for our bedroom fireplace. Both fireplaces were transformed from boring to beautiful. Downright Tile took on our project where others might not have. It required a lot of extra cutting of tiles. They enjoyed the challenge and we are very happy with the outcome. We would confidently hire them again for any future tile work.

Kansas City, MO

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Daniel J Lopez

I am very happy with my experience with Downright Tile and Renovations. They had great communication, explained everything well, were punctual, and kept the job site clean. The finished product is exactly what we were hoping for and the price was good. I would definitely recommend them for any tile jobs you have in the future.

Overland Park, KS

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Will Woodford

Downright Tile and Renovations were extremely helpful and fast. They solved problems created by other contractors so that I didn’t end up having to deal with it. Downright Tile are perfectionists from step 1, and will not leave you without an excellent result.

Shawnee, KS

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Imene McCoy

Prompt, professional and clean! I had the best experience- Downright Tile and Renovations were fast, efficient and made the whole process super easy!! I highly recommend them!

Kansas City, MO

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Madison Grace

Very nice work & very friendly guys

Kansas City, MO

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Angie's List Customer Review

Downright Tile and Renovations were excellent to work with. They clearly understand their craft. They were professional, clean, and conscientious. I'll hire them again when I need more tile work done and refer them to others.

Kansas City, MO

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Beverly Bellinger

The project went beautifully. There were several areas around the tub and where the tub meets the floor that needed to be re-caulked; Downright Tile noted wherever new caulk was necessary within the shower/tub area and took care of it all. The amazing difference is in the floor. White tile with white grout can become discolored and hard to clean after a decade. Now it looks as good as when first installed, plus they offered care tips to maintain it. They also very graciously looked at a couple of loose kitchen backsplash tiles and provided advice on those. They're meticulous, professional and probably something of perfectionists—color matching was of critical importance to them. Our minor restoration project was clearly unworthy of their talents. Their charge was exactly as estimated ($300 plus materials). Imagine what a wonderful job they'd do on a start-from-scratch tile installation! If I had another tile project, Downright Tile is the only supplier I'd call.

Kansas City, MO

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Angie's List Customer Review

We were very satisfied with Downright Tile and Renovations' services. They were very responsive via text and were able to schedule us quickly. We had a very positive experience working with Downright Tile and love our new tile. We highly recommend them and would use them again if we eventually need tile work again.

Kansas City, MO

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David Duffield

As a very competent DIYer, it has always been difficult for me to relinquish control and hire someone else to do work on my home. My past experiences with hiring contractors has always left me disappointed in the quality of workmanship and/or the professionalism of the contractor. I can honestly say that, for the first time, Downright Tile and Renovations have exceeded my expectations. The crew were professional, timely, and the level of craftmanship was exceptional. Downright Tile took the time to plan the layout of the tile so there were professional results. I couldn't be happier and will definitely use them again on other projects. Thanks Downright Tile for all of your efforts!

Overland Park, KS

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Dan Lopez

Our house sold opening weekend. I’m sure the bathroom was a key contributor. We’re in a brand new house now so we’re set but I will definitely pass along your info to anybody who is looking. You did great work.

Overland Park, KS

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James Densmore

We recently remodeled our basement bathroom. We had multiple bids and they were all about the same. We chose to go with Downright Tile and Renovations as they warrantied their work more than the competitors. We picked out the tile and materials and then Downright Tile installed. They were on time and finished the project as expected. They explained various things when asked. We would use Downright Tile for a future project.

Mission Hills, KS

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Anna Challacombe

We hired Downright Tile to re-tile our guest bathroom and they did a phenomenal job. We've never hired anyone with more integrity or attention to detail. They always showed up when they said they would, communicated expectations, did a really exceptional job on the tile itself, and went above and beyond to make sure we were happy with the finished project and that it met their exacting standards. I would highly recommend Downright Tile to anyone looking to have tile work done.

Merriam, KS

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