Tiled flooring is one of the most popular floor finishes for home renovations and new builds, they are also ideal for underfloor heating. There are a variety of floor tiles available, one of the main questions we get asked is which tile and floor finish works better with underfloor heating, porcelain or ceramic?
Porcelain and ceramic tiles are quite similar, both are composed of baked clay, strengthened by heat and then glazed for a hard-wearing floor finish. However, there are some slight differences…
Type of clays:
Ceramic tiles use darker clay whereas porcelain is made with whiter clay. The clay that is used in porcelain production is more refined compared to how it is used in ceramic tiles, and it is mixed with other minerals like quartz, feldspar and sand for a stronger form. Porcelain tiles are baked at a higher temperature than ceramic tiles.
There are also a couple of differences in how the finished designs of porcelain and ceramic tiles are applied. With both tiles, you can choose any design and colour however the design on a porcelain tile can seep through the entire tile, whereas on a ceramic tile it is just applied to the surface.
To identify as true porcelain, the tiles must be certified by industry groups. The Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) will evaluate the porcelain tiles based on the water absorption rates.
Both porcelain and ceramic tiles are ideal floor finishes for either electric or water underfloor heating. Floor tiles, no matter what material, are great conductors of heat and will quickly disperse warmth from the floor heater into the room. Tiles also provide a durable, hard-wearing surface which are easy to maintain.
Underfloor heating will take out the natural cold of the tiles, causing a cosier, comfortable room. Porcelain and ceramic tiles have a high level of thermal conductivity, so they heat up faster and retain heat for longer.