Porcelain is a type of ceramic tile which is more wear resistant, chemical resistant, and moisture resistant than common ceramic. The superior performance of porcelain tile results from its composition and its firing temperatures. The bisque is composed of fine clay (including kaolin, feldspar, and quartz) which are melded together at higher temperatures in the kiln than typical ceramic tile. The bisque ingredients and high temperatures create a vitreous quality which rightly classifies porcelain as a form of fine stoneware closer to china and moving into the realm of glass. The glass-like quality causes porcelain to have low porosity and low permeability.
Coloration: Porcelain is divided into three classifications based upon their coloration:
Price: Porcelain has become very affordable due to increased production, but still costs more than common ceramic, which requires less heat and time in the kiln. In most cases, porcelain will be priced lower than natural stone.
Applications: We especially love porcelain for commercial flooring because of porcelain's better wear resistance and for exterior applications because of porcelain's freeze-thaw stability. Porcelain is ideal for laboratories due to porcelain's chemical resistance. The abrasion resistance of porcelain is very beneficial to us Floridians who are locked in an endless battle against sand, which can ruin the surface of flooring.
Aesthetics: The cosmetics of most porcelain reflect one of three appearances: faux-stone, faux-wood, or abstract. That is, porcelain is manufactured to look like natural stone (e.g., slate or travertine), to look like hardwood flooring, or to simply looks like a man-made tile. Today's high-quality porcelains can possess a texture and coloration which is so real that even a discerning eye can be deceived.