You have your new garage, and it’s time to dress up the floor. The biggest debate when designing your garage floor may be “porcelain or wood?” There’s a lot of good logic behind why porcelain tile is chosen over wooden tile, and here’s the main reason.
Porcelain tile is a great choice for a garage floor, primarily because it’s permanent. It goes through a heavy-duty pressurizing process, which sets the standards for it to be strong and reliable over time. These key features will also increase the value of your garage and home.
Porcelain tile has the ability to be finished in many different styles, while still providing structure and functionality. Let’s take a better look at some other merits that porcelain has to offer, and I’ll provide you with helpful tips along the way.
Benefits Of Porcelain Tiles
When most people think of porcelain, mainly toilets and shiny white material comes to mind. But there are so many perks to having porcelain tile as your garage floor, it’ll make your tires spin. Check out this list of benefits of a porcelain-tiled garage floor, and you’ll see what I mean.
Designs and Aesthetics: Porcelain tiles create a certain sense of class when it is clean and manicured, which is easy to do. You can install tile that looks like stone, marble, wood, travertine and an array of other materials.
A special point to make is that the color of the design will not fade. That’s because porcelain tile designs are completed as a “through-body tile”. This process places the color throughout the entire thickness of each tile, ensuring that car activity and time won’t wear it out.
Easy Maintenance: Porcelain is made from non-porous material, and because of its high density, it absorbs little-to-no moisture. This feature keeps the tile clean of mold or pest that could be attracted to it.
It’s sleek shine only requires a mild detergent and water for a quick clean up, and has a solid resistance to stains. If you live in a place that has a wet season, or is prone to snow, porcelain tile makes for a strategic choice. The density will keep the water from damaging your floor.
It’s Heavy-Duty: The thick density of porcelain tile can withstand the weight of a full-sized SUV, which is approximately 2,000 pounds! It’s highly resistant to scratches and chips due to its resilience to abrasion. It’s also not averse to chemicals, and sunlight won’t fade it.
It’s Affordable: At a fraction of the cost, your garage will be protected and stylish. The cost to purchase and install porcelain tile in your garage averaged less against other flooring competitors:
- Average Cost of Ceramic or Porcelain Tile: $0.49 – $15 per square foot
- Average Cost of Labor for Tile Installation: Minimum $4 per square foot
- Average Cost of Prep Work: Additional $1 – $5 per square foot
Most garage floors are at an average size of 12”x 12’, and can go as large as 24”x24”. So with porcelain tile, you can save a pretty penny, without the sacrifice of having a sturdy foundation and great design.
How Can I Tell The Difference Between Ceramic And Porcelain Tile?
The differences between ceramic and porcelain are in the durability and aesthetics of the tile. Ceramic is a general classification for a mix of semi-crystalline and inorganic material; while porcelain is a type of ceramic created by the fusion of multiple clays.
Ceramic tiles tend to be more porous if not glazed correctly. This means that it can absorb more water, which could be damaging to the underside of your floor. On the other hand, porcelain tile is sealed tight due the different clays, even before it’s glazed.
Another major difference between the two is because of its single or dual-mixture, ceramic is lighter than porcelain. Porcelain is a solid mixture of different construction material, so when you hold it, it has a much heavier weight than ceramic.
And of course, the easiest way to tell the difference between ceramic and porcelain tile is the price! Because ceramic is much easier to make and cut, it’s cheaper than its counterpart. While porcelain contains reliable mixtures, and will be more expensive than ceramic.
Which Is More Expensive: Ceramic Or Porcelain Tile?
Porcelain is more expensive than ceramic for two reasons: ease of cutting and materials.
Ease Of Cutting
Regular ceramic is made of one clay material, and fire kilned at a low temperature. This is what makes it softer and more porous than porcelain; thus easier to cut and cheaper to create and distribute.
Porcelain is placed through a process where it is mixed with natural or refined clays. After the mix is set, it is then kiln fired, and shaped and designed into just about whatever design you can think of.
This is where the cutting becomes a hassle. Because of the clay mixture, plus being adorned by fire, the durability skyrockets, making it harder to cut than regular ceramic.
Keep in mind that porcelain is made of natural and organic material; unlike ceramic, which is a mix of natural and inorganic rocks. This organic material cost a pretty penny to purchase, which increases the price point of each tile.
Minerals are what make porcelain a top contender for top prices. These mixtures enhance the quality of the tile which makes it resistant in so many ways. These minerals are not cheap!
The primary components of porcelain are clays, feldspar or flint, and silica. These are all organic minerals found in the earth that are harvested, and formed into tiles for us, for a fair and affordable price.
Is Porcelain Tile Slippery?
Glazed tiles are composed mainly of porcelain with a gloss coating applied to its surface. Its glossy look gives the appearance that you can easily slip on it; but this isn’t the case. With proper precaution, porcelain tile is not a cause for a slip-and-fall.
There is little-to-no difference between a shiny porcelain and polished ceramic when it comes to how slippery they can be. Porcelain tile can be slipped on if there is a liquid on it, or if someone is excessively – or purposely- sliding on the floor.
The point of the glaze is to add a radiant look and clean finish to your floor. Proper installation is the key to keeping the shine, while still being able to hold a grip to the floor to prevent unplanned falls.
Does Porcelain Tile Chip Easily?
By now, we know that porcelain is a very dense material, which means it has a very low absorption rate. Because of its porous-resistant feature, porcelain tile does not chip easily.
It’s important to note that over decades, water build-up is possible. The reserved water could freeze one year, causing the floor to chip. If this occurs and you have the through-body tile, then the chip will be hardly noticeable.
Also, when it’s indoors, the extra density makes porcelain less likely to chip. There is less moisture inside of a house compared to outside. With less moisture, there is little chance that your floor will chip or crack.
Although durable, porcelain can chip, but it’s not easy. In the event of a chipped tile, you can use a porcelain repair kit to easily fix it. There are several to choose from, and they come with instructions to make your floor good as new.
Will Porcelain Tile Crack In Cold?
The winter can be a brutal time for exterior porcelain, like your garage floor. Porcelain, overall, is constructed to withstand the cold weather. But how effective is it, and for how long will it work? It depends on which porcelain tile type you choose.
In the cold, the ground expands with frost and it pushes upward. As it warms up, the ground begins to thaw, then contracts, moving downward. Outside porcelain tile installations need to be able to handle the fluctuating movement without cracking.
Choosing the correct exterior tile is a serious component of an effective tile assembly. Construction factors such as tile, mortar, grout, and the substrate all play a major role. Proper installation is the answer to a porcelain garage floor withstanding the effects of low temperatures.
Do Porcelain Tiles Fade?
Thankfully, porcelain does an amazing job at retaining its color during warm and cold months. This trait makes it an awesome decision for your garage, considering it will be exposed to both elements. A through-body tile is a great choice for retaining color.
Since the design is identical in color and texture throughout the entire thickness of the tile, it is extremely difficult for it to lose its color. The through-body method is a significant process that aide in keeping the tile vibrant and full of luster.
Certain glazes and polishes have been known to add a protective layer over the porcelain to prevent this very queton from being asked. The protective coating over the top of the tile makes the tile stain resistant. This is one of the secrets to color-retention.
Although it’s legal to polish your own floor, there are certain factors to consider before starting. Always wear personal protective gear during glazing to defend yourself against chemicals. Be sure to follow the instructions specifically to obtain a fine finish.
Does Porcelain Tile Scratch Easily?
No, not easily. Porcelain tile durability is rated very high. In addition to being solid, porcelain tiles are also hard, dense, and highly resistant to most heavy impact stresses. This makes it perfect for heavy car traffic, or frequent walking, without fear of a scratch.
The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) created a standard for all porcelain tile durability. According to this institute, you want your porcelain tile to be a five on the PEI rating scale for it to be strong enough to actually hold its own against stronger materials and objects.
In my opinion, there are three groups that can be useful for protecting the integrity of porcelain tile flooring in your garage. Groups three, four, and five seem to be the best fit. So when deciding on which porcelain tile to choose, use these group ratings as a guide.
But what happens if you do get a scratch on your new tile? How can you fix it without spending an arm and a leg? Grab a do-it-yourself guide on how to remove scratches from tile floors, along with a tile repair kit. It will save you both money and effort to complete the job yourself.
Does Porcelain Tile Increase Home Value?
Why yes, porcelain can increase the value of your home! Here’s why:
- Attractive design & finish: First off, the shine of porcelain tile is irresistible. The luster that it brings to any floor will automatically increase value. The right design can make the house feel professional, sleek, or simply cozy for you and your family to enjoy.
- It’s durability is built to last: With a 25 years – to – lifetime warranty on most porcelain tile flooring, it’s a real challenge to damage it. The process that it goes through creates it to be a trustworthy foundation.
- Easy maintenance! Trust me, in a home, you want clean-up to be a breeze. With the slick appearance and glaze of the tile, this won’t be a problem. It’s stain resistant, liquid-resistant, and nature-resistant. Definitely a great attribute to disclose to potential buyers.
- Pure quality: The thought of placing a durable floor into your garage shows that you care about the quality of your entire. The sophisticated tile that you chose to lay proves that you take pride in your home. This is a great selling point for buyers to make the decision of choosing your protected home.
Does Porcelain Tile Need To Acclimate?
Luckily, porcelain requires little-to-no time to acclimate. Acclimation plainly means “to become adjusted to immediate surroundings.” No acclimations means that the process of the tile insulation will be quicker, and way cheaper.
Unlike hardwood and laminate floors, porcelain tile is adjusted – or acclimated – during the mixture and kiln fire process. Because of this dynamic strategy, the tiles can be laid down immediately upon delivery.
Is Porcelain Floor Tile Toxic?
Porcelain tiles themselves are non-toxic. Nowadays, it’s even considered more green than most other flooring. However, there are certain materials, like petroleum distillate, that is found within porcelain tile that can be harmful if inhaled or ingested.
For example, grout is what holds the tiles together. Cement-based grout can be porous, and allow outside dirt into the tile. The dirt can cause mildew, mold or stains within it.
But there are solutions! Grout sealer is used on the underside of the tile to prevent moisture from being absorbed into it. There is also an epoxy grout and urethane grout. Both are eco-friendly, and resistant to mildew, mold, moisture, and stains.
How Long Do Porcelain Tile Floors Last?
Porcelain tiles are one of the longest-lasting wall and floor covering materials. With the right installation, a properly constructed glazed porcelain tile with a PEI 4 or 5 can have a lifetime warranty!
It may cost a bit more, but it will be in your best interest to go for the tile rated at 4 or 5. Any tile at a lesser rating is considered “low quality”, and usually last only around 20 to 25 years. It seems long, but compared to a “lifetime”, it’s pretty short.
Can You Put Porcelain Tile On Concrete?
Yes, you can put porcelain tile on concrete, but it isn’t the best choice. Concrete can become damaged due to expansion of the ground. Because of this issue, it is not recommended to lay this type of tile directly on the concrete itself.
It’s always a safe bet to install the tile at or above grade level on a cement board underlayment (CBU) or directly on plywood. The CBU or plywood is recommended because it will expand with the ground and concrete, keeping your porcelain tile safe and uncracked.
Also, try using an uncoupling membrane, in addition to CBUs and plywood. The uncoupling agent acts as a buffer layer between the tile and subfloor. This agent will constantly shift with the ground, as well as protect the underside of your tile floor.
Does Thickness Of Porcelain Tile Matter?
Of course it matters, that’s part of the reason as to why it’s such a popular choice!
The thickness of porcelain tile is created based on the materials that are used for it. This kiln-fired mixture of natural mineral is what makes the tile so thick and strong.
The average thickness of a porcelain tile is ranges between 1/4- and 3/4-inch thick. The thickness is due to the porcelain clay that is used. The thicker the tile is, the less of a chance it has of cracking.
The thickness of the tile is also important to know if you want your tiles to fit perfectly within your designated space. Be sure to take accurate measurement of your garage floor before purchasing your tile.
Do Porcelain Tiles Need To Be Sealed?
Porcelain tile does not have to be sealed. Sealants are used to coat porous material. Since porcelain tends to be non-porous, there isn’t a need for a sealant.
However, if you choose a thin-layered tile, it will have a higher chance of cracking, so a sealant may be necessary. There are two types of sealants that can be used for porcelain tile: surface and penetrating.
Surface sealant covers the top , or surface, of the tile. The liquid creates a stain-resistant and non-porous protection layer. This layer prevents the tile from being scratched easily, as well as keeps water and moisture from affecting the top of the tile.
As the name suggests, this sealant is coated on the top of the tile, and it seeps in – or penetrates it, only reaching just beneath the surface. This adds an additional protective layer inside of the tile! The best part is, it won’t ruin its beautiful design!
How Do You Keep Porcelain Tile Shiny?
If your initially-polished luster is starting to fade, there are several ways to restore shine to porcelain tiles. You can simply mop it, add a gloss, or a glaze.
When mopping it, simply ¼ cup of your favorite tile cleaner to every full cup of water. Lather it up, drain it, then mop the floor as usual! Using this common cleaning technique will restore you tile’s original shine.
When adding a gloss or glaze, follow the instructions to determine how much to add. Once the mixture is complete, you can simply mop the floor. For more pesky stains, or for a brighter shine, scrubbing the floor by hand, or using a buffer, is a top choice.
Is Porcelain Tile Waterproof?
Yes, porcelain tile is waterproof. It has the capacity to absorb very little water, if any at all. Certain glosses and glazes are used as a sealant to add more protection from moisture and mold.
Check this out! The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has a rating system to judge the absorption rate of tiles. The rating scale is as follows:
- Non-vitreous (Low density) – Tile with water absorption of more than 7.0 percent
- Semi-vitreous (Medium density) – Tile with water absorption of more than 3.0 percent, but not more than 7.0 percent
- Vitreous (High Density) – Tile with water absorption of more than 0.5 percent, but not more than 3.0 percent
- Impervious (Extremely dense) – Tile with water absorption of 0.5 percent or less. This is where porcelain tile is generally categorized
As you could have guessed, porcelain tile is rated as “impervious” to water absorption. At this rating, your porcelain tile will keep out most-to-all moisture, therefore, keeping it waterproof.
Can You Freeze Porcelain Tiles?
The frost resistance of porcelain tile is dependent on the tile’s porosity and water absorption levels. Most porcelain tiles tend to be pretty resistant to the absorption of water, and therefore has a much less probability of freezing.
However, yes, porcelain tile can freeze, if the proper tile is not chosen. Take a look at the standards for tile frost performance:
- EN 202 Passed: Tile is chilled to -5 degrees C (23 F) and then rapidly heated to 5 degrees C (41 F). Tile must survive 50 freeze/thaw cycles.
- ISO 10545-12 Passed: Identical test to EN 202 with tile subjected to 100 freeze/thaw cycles.
- ASTM C1026 Resistant: Tile is chilled to -18 degrees C (-0.4 F) and then rapidly heated to between 10 to 16 degrees C (50-60 F). Tile must survive 15 cycles of freeze/thaw.
These hefty words simply mean that the tile that you choose needs to be stamped with either the “passed” or “resistant” label. These are the only tiles that will withstand freezing temperatures, and keep your garage feeling warm.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare