Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tiles for Shower Walls and Floor

You can never replicate the color depth, visual and overall feelings of tiles with just wallpaper, paint, or mosaic. So, whenever someone wants to refresh their walls or floor with a classic look, ceramic or porcelain comes top of mind.

If you’re thinking of renovation and confused between ceramic vs. porcelain tiles for shower walls and floor in your house, then you’ve come to the right place. After going through this article, you’ll easily be able to decide which type works best for your bathroom.

Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tiles: What’s Best for Shower?

Many consumers make the mistake of thinking these two types of tiles are the same. While both fall under the same family, each has some unique characteristics. So, based on different situations, one might be more advantageous than the other.

If you want to know how to tell the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles, you got to look out for some of the major considerations. Once you understand them, picking the right item for your project will become like a piece of cake.


When you’re on a budget, the cost of renovation becomes more important than anything else. That is why we’ll discuss the porcelain vs. ceramic tile cost first.

Generally, bathroom ceramic tiles are cheaper. Sometimes, the cost is up to 60 percent less. The reason is that porcelain is made from a very specific type of clay heated at a very high temperature, much higher than what is needed for ceramic.

That’s why ceramic tiles are best for a low-budget shower installation. The price is much affordable, even when you need it in a large quantity. You can buy them for as little as $.50 per square foot. Whereas, the porcelain tiles price of the same area would be like a minimum of $3.


The finishing of both of the tile types also has some differences. Porcelain tiles are made from high-quality sand and higher heat. So it’s a fine product with a durable glazed finish. They’ll give your shower an outstanding finish.

Ceramic, on the other hand, also has an attractive appearance with customizable colors and patterns.


Due to the special production method, a porcelain tile is much stronger, tougher, and harder. Besides, they’re also known to withstand heavy traffic over long periods of time. So, porcelain tiles are best for specific shower areas that are stepped over more than other areas.

On the other hand, ceramic also has many benefits up its sleeve. You can very easily look for unglazed tiles, which do bring out an aesthetic look. Besides, these are also water-resistant to a great degree.

More importantly, you can have numerous design options when it comes to ceramic tiles. Due to its tougher production method, not many different designs of porcelain are available on the market.


Porcelain tiles can boast about their high density and hardiness. But it also can be counted as one of their disadvantages. Because of their high density, they are much heavier than ceramic counterparts.

Their heavyweight sometimes makes the installation process difficult. This is one of the disadvantages of porcelain tiles. So before installation, consider whether your current shower floor can handle the weight of many porcelain tiles.

Similarly, ceramic tiles are quite heavy as well. That is why they aren’t a good fit for some upper-story installations. In case you want to do it anyway, perform a professional check to ensure it won’t put too much stress on the floors below you.

Installation Process

The installation process is almost the same for both types of tiles. You just adhere it to an underlayment of cement board and fill the joints with grout.

However, there’s a slight difference in the installation process, though. Especially DIYers would find that ceramic tile installation is much easier. Also, it cuts very neatly with less effort. So you can match the pattern and decorate the shower interior beautifully.

On the flip side, due to its density and hardness, you’d require tools like a wet saw with a diamond blade and professional skills to create the same effect on porcelain. Besides, one needs much experience to create a professional finish with this type.


When it comes to durability, porcelain tiles are definitely recommended for a shower. Since it is denser, it is more suitable for places with high footfall and heavy use. Even if you chip a tile, its color continues all the way through with no visible damages.

However, since ceramic is less dense, it is much less brittle and therefore easier to work with. But if you chip it, you’ll notice a different color underneath the glaze.

Water Absorption

One of the major differences between these tiles is the rate of water absorption. Due to the solid construction, porcelain is said to absorb less than 0.5% of water. Since they are less porous and consequently have a low absorption rate. So it is almost impervious to water damage.

On the other hand, ceramic tile absorbs much more water. That’s why you must not let water spill onto the tiles for an extended period. Otherwise, it has a chance to seep down to the underlayment below the tile.

Now, if you ask which tiles are best for shower flooring? Definitely, the answer is porcelain. It’ll be very much suitable for around the shower surroundings as well.


Porcelain tiles are easy and simple to maintain due to their highly durable properties. You can clean them with just a mopping cloth and some soapy water. If you can clean the grout regularly, porcelain shower tiles will remain in good shape for a very long time.

Another great thing about them is that they have uniform color all the way through. So, even if a piece is cracked, it’ll continue to look decent as long it is clean.

One of the disadvantages of ceramic tiles is that they are not as easy to maintain. Besides, the grout between them is also difficult to clean. To keep them looking fresh, you have to scrub them regularly. Since they absorb more moisture, thorough cleaning at least once a month is also necessary.


While choosing your shower tile, it is important to consider their looks as well as what fits your style. Besides, their usability needs to be taken into account as well.

Therefore, whenever there is any confusion regarding ceramic vs. porcelain tiles, measure their individual benefits against your usage. This will help you make a better decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much heat can porcelain withstand?

Answer: Porcelain is made by heating specific sand at extremely high temperatures; this makes them highly indestructible and even an ideal choice for use around fireplaces.

As a relatively durable material, it can withstand very high heat. And it can range from 1200°F to 2000°F. Yet, one should keep in mind that, being highly heat resistant; it is not, however, heatproof.

2. Is ceramic tile heat resistant?

Answer: Yes, they are highly heat resistant and are a great choice to be used for kitchen countertops. However, their heat resistance is not up to the level of porcelain.

3. Is ceramic tile good for shower walls?

Answer: If you’re looking for durability, then porcelain tile is a better choice. Porcelain tiles are highly suitable for heavy traffic areas and places with more moisture. However, shower walls don’t get stamped on, do they? So, you can pick ceramic tile for that without much problem. Just make sure to use the glazed version.

Note – This compact information is in-depth internet research based. We try to help you sort out the difficulties by putting it up all together. We certainly acknowledge the validity and authenticity of the information. Subject matter experts are highly welcome for their valuable suggestions..

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *