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Ceramic, Stone, or Porcelain? Tiling in Style
Kitchen and bathroom tiles need to be easy to clean, durable, and waterproof—and ceramic, porcelain, and stone can all fit the bill. Let Groupon’s guide help you decide from among them.
Ceramic: The least expensive of these three materials, ceramic maintains an attitude of reliable, unflashy modesty. Ceramic tiles are made from clay fired at high temperatures, which forms a ready surface for bold, uniform color. Ceramic is easy to seal and wipe clean, but because the finish is baked onto the tile’s top layer like frosting on a first-time-baker's cake, chips show up readily on colored ceramic tiles. They might not be as durable as stone or porcelain, but their light weight makes them quicker to install and easier to use on walls.
Stone: Stone is a natural material and a finite one, quarried from the earth; as you might expect, it’s the most expensive of the three. Its irregularity is the source of its beauty (consider the artfully branching veins of marble, or the dappled glitter of granite) and its difficulty. Installation is time-consuming, careful work—marble, for instance, can warp and buckle if not properly prepared. Stone is more absorbent than man-made materials and potentially more vulnerable to stains, but its natural variations in color and texture may mean that those stains don’t detract from the look. It’s also extremely resistant to scratches, foot traffic, and stress-related breaks, and this durability means that it can be polished and refinished in place years after it’s been installed.
Porcelain: Porcelain is a cousin to ceramic that usually acts like it would rather hang out with stone. It’s made from finely textured, mineral-rich clay that’s fired longer and at higher temperatures than ceramic, making it denser and stronger. It’s also more adaptable, able to take on colors and textures that realistically mimic stone or even hardwood, for those who like the look of oak but have pet beavers. Porcelain tiles can work well outdoors or around a swimming pool, too, since they’ll stand up to the elements but present a rugged enough texture to prevent slips and spills.