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Porcelain or Ceramic Tiles for Your Heated Floors?

Key Notes

  • Porcelain tiles are more efficient at conducting and retaining heat due to their lower thermal resistance.
  • Porcelain tiles are more water-resistant than ceramic tiles, making them the preferred choice for heated bathroom floors.
  • Ceramic tiles are generally less expensive than porcelain tiles.

Read on as we explore the nuances of heated ceramic and porcelain tiles for your home.

Best Tiles For Underfloor Heating?

Put simply, porcelain tiles are a better choice for heated floors than ceramic tiles. 

Both porcelain and ceramic tiles have a high level of thermal conductivity, allowing them to heat up faster and retain heat for longer. 

However, porcelain tiles are known to be more efficient at conducting and retaining heat due to their lower thermal resistance, providing more even and comfortable heating across the floor surface. 

Additionally, porcelain tiles have superior water resistance and durability, making them a more suitable choice for outdoor and wet room applications (pretty handy in a kitchen too). 

Therefore, when considering heated floors, porcelain tiles are the preferred option due to their efficiency in conducting and retaining heat as well as their superior water resistance.

Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles: What You Need to Know

porcelain vs ceramic tiles

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are very similar — so much so that many people don’t realise there’s a difference between the two. 

It is essential to be aware of these differences when investing in a radiant floor heating solution. This will allow you to choose the best tiles for your heated floors. 

As you consider porcelain and ceramic tiles for your floors, remember that both tiles are created with baked clay. However, ceramic tiles are made with darker clays, while porcelain tiles are created using white and strengthened with other materials, such as quartz or sand. 

Ceramic tiles sometimes offer more versatility because their design is adhered to the surface, while any finish applied to a porcelain tile will seep through the materials. 

Some facts to keep in mind about porcelain and ceramic tiles include:

Tile Type Absorption (Lower is Better) Durability (Higher is Better) Cost (Lower is Better) Usage Ease of Cutting (Higher is Better)
Porcelain Tiles 2/10 (Low absorption rate) 9/10 (High durability) 9/10 (More expensive) 8/10 (Indoor & outdoor use) 4/10 (Relatively difficult to cut)
Ceramic Tiles 6/10 (Higher absorption rate) 7/10 (Good durability) 6/10 (More affordable) 6/10 (Primarily indoor use) 8/10 (Easier to cut)

Remember that tiles are only considered true porcelain if certified by an outside agency.

The agency will consider the absorption levels of the tile when determining if it upholds the standards of accurate porcelain material.

Porcelain vs Ceramic Tiles - Price Comparison

Tile Type Price Range per Square Foot (Uninstalled) Average Cost to Install Heated Floor per Square Foot
Ceramic $0.50 - $40.00 $2.00 - $20.00
Porcelain $2.00 - $63.00+ $2.75 - $27.50

Should You Choose Electric Underfloor Heating for Your Tile Floors?

Most people considering heated tile floors will find a water-based underfloor heating system or an electric underfloor heating solution.

The best option for your tiles is an electric radiant floor system, such as the STEP HEAT floor mats offered by Green Wave Distribution.

An electric underfloor heating system is the best option for your ceramic or porcelain tiles because:

  • It is the safest way to distribute heat to the tiles. A low-voltage system that relies on innovative technology will heat the floors quickly without any risk of overheating. In addition, electric underfloor heating systems are safe and effective in wet rooms where tiles are commonly laid.
  • It is the most efficient and affordable way to heat floors. Electric systems cost less to operate than their water-based counterparts and are more efficient, giving you the results you need in a shorter time.
  • It is a durable solution that requires little to no maintenance in the future. When you invest in an underfloor heating solution like the STEP HEAT system, you can feel confident knowing you will get the desired results without the maintenance issues and costly repairs associated with other heating solutions.

It’s worth noting that underfloor heating can be used as both a primary and supplemental heat source.

This makes it one of the most versatile heating solutions on the market, allowing you to design the space as you see fit, choose the flooring materials you prefer and make the room as comfortable as possible.

Choosing Tile Materials for a Wet Room

People often consider heated tiles for a room with significant moisture, such as a bathroom. If you are considering heated bathroom tiles, you might wonder which type of tile is safe for use, along with an electric underfloor heating solution in this room.

Here are key points to consider when choosing tile materials for your bathroom.

  • Both porcelain and ceramic tiles are made from natural materials and are porous, which means they can absorb water.
  • Porcelain tiles are more water-resistant than ceramic tiles, and they tend to be more durable in wet rooms with an underfloor heating system in place.
  • When installing heated bathroom floors, it is recommended to use porcelain tiles for their durability and water resistance.
  • Although porcelain tiles may cost more to purchase and install, it is worth the investment as they can protect the radiant floor system beneath them.
  • Applying silicone sealant to the tiles and other waterproofing features installed on the underfloor system can provide further protection.
  • Your contractor can provide detailed information about the best solutions for your bathroom’s electric underfloor heating system.

You will want to consider heated tiles in a room with high heat loss. A bathroom, sunroom or garage may be ideal for an electric underfloor heating solution.

What is the Best Underfloor Heating System for Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles?

When selecting a radiant floor heating system for your home — regardless of the flooring material you choose — it’s essential to partner with an industry expert. At Green Wave Distribution, we are considered the leaders in the radiant flooring industry.

Our innovative STEP® HEAT system relies on low-voltage electricity, making it one of the safest underfloor heating systems on the market.

This system is safe, durable and efficient, using automated carbon polymer heating technology.

It will allow you to quickly heat your ceramic or porcelain tile floors and evenly distribute heat throughout the room, making your space more comfortable and enjoyable for anyone using it. 

Contact Green Wave Distribution today for more information about heating ceramic tiles and choosing the best underfloor heating system.