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Cement Tile vs Porcelain Tile: A Complete Comparison

We get that choosing the perfect tile for your home or office can be daunting, especially with so many options available. Among the popular choices are porcelain and cement tiles, both offering durability, versatility, and aesthetic appeal. To make an informed decision that fits your needs and preferences, it’s essential to understand the difference between cement tile vs porcelain tile. 

In this article, we’ll delve into their characteristics, differences, and unique qualities, leaving the final choice in your hands.

So, let’s begin!

turquoise concrete bathroom tile

Cement Tile: Durable and Stylish

Tile provides not only decor but functionality for residential and construction projects. According to a research study published in Global Newswire, the demand for the global Ceramic and porcelain Tile Market size and share was valued at approximately USD 258.3 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach a value of around USD 332.6 billion by 2032. China is the leading tile exporter, with an estimated 8.47 square meters in 2023. A majority of handmade cement tile is produced in Mexico.

Let’s start with the basics.

Cement tiles, also known as encaustic tiles, are made by combining a concrete tile base with pigmented cement piped into decorative patterns as the top layer. The colorful pattern at the surface is approximately 3mm thick.

They can be sealed or left with a natural matte finish. (Pro tip: We recommend applying sealer to cement tiles for protection because the concrete surface is slightly porous.)

These tiles are handmade and have a beautiful, natural, durable, long-lasting finish. In fact, as they age, they develop a charming patina, adding character and an old-world, classic touch.

Encaustic cement tiles offer a wide range of customization options, allowing for individuality through various patterns, geometric shapes, and bold or subtle colors. Explore cement tiles for a one-of-a-kind design!

Additionally, since they’re handmade tiles, subtle variations in color and pattern will add the authenticity of craftsmanship to any installation.

When differentiating between cement and porcelain tile, cement tiles are cost-effective while still providing a high-quality, handmade tile aesthetic. Their versatility allows them to complement a variety of interior styles, from classic to contemporary, eclectic, and modern, making them a popular choice for many design projects. If you are considering incorporating decorative tiles into your project, like a dining room, and are comparing cement with porcelain tiles with a similar look, explore how to use Cement floor tiles in our style guide.

brown terracotta tile austin tx

Porcelain Tile: Durability and Affordability

Porcelain tile, on the other hand, is crafted by firing it at extremely high temperatures in a kiln, resulting in a dense and largely non-porous material. This process makes porcelain stronger than cement tile, enabling it to endure significant temperature fluctuations. Typically, porcelain tiles have a glazed finish, which serves as a protective barrier against water damage and can withstand up to 2000 pounds of presure.

Similar to ceramic tile, porcelain tile can be designed to imitate the look of natural materials like marble and wood. While porcelain tiles tend to be pricier than cement tiles in some instances, they offer a consistent, monochromatic look that some may prefer over handmade authenticity.

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The Pros and Cons of Cement Tile Vs Porcelain

Both cement and porcelain tiles have their own advantages and disadvantages. We often recommend hiring interior designers, architects, and specifiers for commercial projects during your tile selection process.

Let’s begin by examining the pros and cons of cement tiles.

Cement tiles have been known to maintain their beauty for over a century in many European installations.Cement tiles tend to be thicker than most tiles (averaging 1/2 3/4 inches), which should be considered during installation planning.
They can be used on both floors and walls, offering flexibility in design.Cement tiles must be sealed upon installation and periodically throughout their lifespan due to their porous nature.
Cement tiles have a high thermal mass, meaning they retain temperatures well, helping to regulate indoor temperatures.A wide range of design choices are available, including various colors and patterns.
There is a wide range of design choices available, including various colors and patterns.Tile installers must follow a precise process to install and seal these tiles for the best protection.

Now, let’s explore some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with porcelain tiles.

Porcelain tiles do not require sealing, making installation and maintenance hassle-free.Porcelain tiles have fewer options in terms of patterns compared to encaustic cement tiles.
They are simple to clean and maintain.They are often more expensive than cement tiles 
They are suitable for various installation scenarios.Cutting them can be challenging and may require specialized equipment.
solid color cement tile

Color Palette

Cement Tile Pattern In Bathroom - modern rustic decor tile

Designs & Patterns

When deciding between cement tile vs porcelain tile for your flooring or wall installations, it’s essential to consider your priorities regarding durability, versatility, and design preferences. Understanding the distinctions between these two options allows you to make an informed decision based on your specific needs. 

You’ve found the source if you’re shopping for handmade, encaustic-style cement tiles! We’re one of the leading producers of these customizable tiles – manufactured in Mexico and distributed from our headquarters in the US.

Take your time to assess which features are most important to you, ensuring that you choose the tile type that best suits your project requirements. Want to know more? Contact us today!

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