Porcelain tile is one of the most versatile, reliable, durable, and cost-effective flooring materials available. It can be used in both wet and dry environments as well as in a wide range of temperatures. As a result, porcelain tile can be installed in a variety of locations and environments as well as provide an excellent return on investment (ROI) for years to come.
From a durability standpoint, porcelain tile is hard to beat. Porcelain requires minimal upkeep and can be quickly and easily maintained with common cleaning products. The fact that it is both harder and less porous than ceramic tiles (as well as most wood and stone products) means that it is a solid choice for wet locations as well as high-traffic areas that may require frequent cleaning.
Aesthetically, porcelain’s seemingly endless variety of looks, colors, patterns, and sizes make it possible to create a wide range of looks – even those that mimic higher-end finishes – at an affordable price. Property owners can recreate the appearance of marble, fine stone, and even wood with certain porcelain tile products while still reaping the benefits of porcelain’s top-notch durability.
Interior Applications for Porcelain Tile
The combination of strength, water resistance, and varied aesthetic options mean that porcelain tile flooring is suitable for nearly any room in a home or business.
Some of the most popular use-cases include:
- Bathrooms – Both full- and half-baths are prime locations for porcelain tile. Since moisture is not an issue, the steam, splashes, and drips common in bathrooms will not harm a properly installed porcelain floor. What’s more, common bathroom cleaners that are used to clean tubs and sinks (which are commonly made of or coated with porcelain), can also be used to clean and maintain porcelain floor tiles.
This is not the case with many other bathroom flooring choices. Lingering moisture and/or the use of the wrong cleaning products can cause damage to certain types of wood, stone, and ceramic floors. This means that other types of flooring will require repair or replacement much sooner than a porcelain floor would ever require.
Similarly, porcelain tile is an ideal material for showers. Ideally, shower pans, shower bases, and shower walls, all must be waterproof, temperature tolerant, and easy to clean. Porcelain tile is an affordable yet upscale-looking option that meets all of these needs.
- Kitchens – Much like bathrooms, kitchens tend to get wet more often than most other rooms in a home or business. Beyond just water, food spills and cooking splatters frequently find their way onto kitchen floors and surfaces. Porcelain tile’s moisture resistance combined with its “wipe-ability” make cleaning up kitchen messes and maintaining a sanitary environment significantly easier than more porous stone, wood, or laminate flooring options. What’s more, porcelain’s heat and cold resistance minimizes the chances of floor damage caused by cooking mishaps.
- Living rooms – Porcelain is useful in more than just wet rooms. People are increasingly looking to porcelain tile as a flooring choice in living spaces due to the fact that it can withstand high-traffic abuse from pets, children, and furniture.
What’s more, the fact that porcelain tile can mimic the look of virtually any other material means that it can fit with any design choices. Some prefer the cool-to-the-touch feel of porcelain, while others choose to add floor rugs and carpet runners for additional traction and warmth. The versatility that porcelain tile flooring provides is undeniable.
- Garages – The strength and tolerance of both moisture and temperature make porcelain tile a solid choice for garage flooring. While garages are technically indoor spaces, many lack the same insulation and HVAC control as other interior spaces. Porcelain tile can stand up to the temperature and moisture level variations that are common in many garages. Furthermore, the durability and ease of maintenance make porcelain especially intriguing as a surface that can stand up to the abuse of parked vehicles, storage applications, and DIY projects.
- Basements – Flooring in a basement can be a challenge given how prone they can be to fluctuations in both moisture and temperature. Porcelain tile handles both of these challenges exceptionally well and can help add both style and function to basements – whether they are finished living spaces or simply dedicated to storage and utility functions.
- Laundry rooms – Washers and dryers are heavy, vigorous appliances that generate moisture, heat, and vibrations. Similarly, laundry rooms often include additional utilities like water heaters and slop sinks that can also add to the moisture in the space. Porcelain tile is a great flooring option (and even wall-covering option) in laundry rooms due to its imperviousness to moisture and the temperature fluctuations caused by washer and dryer use.
- Entryways and mudrooms – Porcelain tile is an excellent transition flooring for high-traffic entrances to a home or business. It resists damage caused by moisture and dirt tracked in from outside and also requires minimal upkeep to maintain its clean and attractive look. As such, porcelain tile is a great option for creating an impressive and classy first impression while also offering the functionality required in the space.
Exterior Applications for Porcelain Tile
Most tile and designer stone products are limited to indoor use only. Their fragility, porousness, and weakness to extreme heat and/or cold make them poor choices for outdoor applications. Porcelain tile does not have these flaws, and thus can be quite an attractive option for designing outdoor spaces.
- Outdoor patios and decks – While many patio spaces are usually created with some combination of pressure-treated wood products and concrete, porcelain tile can create a unique, high-quality finish that requires less maintenance and a potentially longer lifespan.
What’s more, the variety of porcelain tile finishes make it possible to preserve classic looks like stained wood or concrete or create something totally unique. As a result, you get the best of both worlds: versatile design and weatherproof functionality.
- Pool decks and hot tub foundations – Just as porcelain tile is an excellent choice for wet indoor areas like bathrooms and kitchens, it is also perfectly suited for wet outdoor areas like pool decks and hot tub areas. The smooth texture and cool-to-the-touch feel of porcelain tile flooring feels great on bare feet. Additionally, many porcelain products offer anti-slip finishes that can promote safety in areas in close proximity to open water.
Whether indoors or outdoors, there are few flooring projects that are not suitable for porcelain tile. The affordable blend of strength, durability, and versatility is tough to match.
Have an idea for a porcelain project that isn’t listed here? Contact our flooring experts to discuss your options and begin making your dreams a reality.