Vitrified tiles vs ceramic tiles – The real difference between ceramic and vitrified tile is still out of reach to a consumer. For an average consumer Ceramic tiles, vitrified tiles/ porcelain tiles, etc are simply tiles used for flooring or cladding works because all are installed in the same way, got almost identical looks, got similar merits and demerits as a flooring material. On enquiring, you may get a lot of merit claims which confuses more than clarifying.
What exactly is the difference between these tiles or is it simply a marketing technique for selling out the more costly option?

Must read : Ceramic tiles – A remarkable flooring choice.

Must read : Vitrified tiles – Types, Advantages and uses

Vitrified tiles vs Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles and vitrified tile both are excellent flooring materials. They are the preferred flooring choice based on the area of application, hardness required, purpose of application etc. Both these tiles have excellent qualities to be considered as an excellent flooring material.

Ceramic tile cladding
Ceramic tile cladding

Vitrified tiles vs Ceramic tiles -Manufacturing process

Ceramic tileVitrified tile
Manufactured using natural clay Mixed with water, extruded/pressed and fired in kilns at a temperature of around 1000-1200 degree Celsius.Manufactured by mixing clay
with quartz, silica and feldspar,
pressed in hydraulic press and
fired in kilns at a temperature
of 1400-1700 degree Celsius
The designs and textures are digitally printed on the surface.Designs are digitally printed in
case of Digital Glazed vitrified tiles.
(1-2 mm)
Ingredients with colour design mix
used in Double charge vitrified tiles.
(3-4 mm)
Total tile body is made of colour
design mix for Full body vitrified tiles.
(9-10 mm)
The surface is glazed for protection and glossiness.On heating Quartz, silica, feldspar
melts and fuse together to form a vitreous layer or glass like layer. This process is called vitrification process and tiles are called vitrified tiles. The vitreous layer is hard and glossy.
Glazing is around 1 mm thick and forms the protective and impervious layer over the ceramic tileThe vitrification process generates a vitreous or glass like layer which becomes a part of the tile body.
Vitrified tiles vs Ceramic tiles
Vitrified tiles vs Ceramic tiles

Vitrified tiles vs Ceramic tiles

Durability
The glazing layer imparts the required durability for ceramic tiles.Vitrified tiles gains the durability
from the Vitrification process
making it more dense, harder
and durable than ceramic tiles.
Strength
Breaking strength =700 N-1000 N
Water absorption = 3% – 6%
Modulus of rupture = 22 N/mm2
Scratch hardness = Min 4
Ceramic tiles got less breaking strength, less modulus of rupture and less abrasion resistance.
Breaking strength = > 1100 N
Water absorption = < 0.5%
Modulus of rupture = > 30 N/mm2
Scratch hardness = 5-8 in Moh scale
All value pertaining to strength,
breakage, abrasion resistance etc are high in Vitrified tiles.
Water absorption
Main factor that differentiate vitrified and ceramic tile is water absorption.
Water absorption of Ceramic tiles is 4-6%. Ceramic tiles are porous and absorbs water.
Not preferred for external and wet applications because they may absorb water and cracks.
Water absorption of vitrified tiles
is less than 0.5% . Vitrified tiles are dense and impervious and water absorption is marginal.
Hence vitrified tiles can be used
in external and wet applications.
Looks, colour choice and size
Ceramic tiles have a wide range of colour choices and got a very natural and fair looks.
Ceramic tiles are available in medium sizes and this increase the number of joints.
The grout joints are vulnerable to moisture and stain and has to be replaced frequently.
Vitrified tiles are available in a
lot of varieties and sizes. They
are available in wood, marble and
granite finishes and gives a natural stone look when laid in big tiles.
Vitrified tiles are even available in a size of 2000 x 1000 mm and reduces the number of joints and looks seamless and elegant.
Vitrified tile joints are less visible
and do not need any re grouting.
Texture
Ceramic tile got a Rough texture and has to be glazed to look smoothVery smooth texture and glossy
finish
Abrasion resistance
The protective glazing is only
1 mm thick and the abrasion resistant qualities of ceramic tiles are less compared to vitrified tiles.
When used in high traffic areas the colour and texture may fade and scratches developed are visible.
Vitrified tiles are high abrasion resistant due to the vitreous glass
like layer on the surface. The layer
is hard and is capable of
withstanding high traffic. Vitrified
tiles are available in a lot of varieties suitable to be used for any type of traffic. The colour and texture does not fade easily in Vitrified tiles . They are scratch resistant and any scratches developed are not visible in case of vitrified tiles.
Slip resistance
Ceramic tiles can be made slip resistant by providing abrasive grits during glazing process. This makes the tiles less slippery and can be used for toilet floors. Ceramic tiles are available in anti-skid variety also.Vitrified tiles does not absorb water and are very slippery when wet. They are not preferred for toilet floors. Vitrified tiles posses anti skid properties than ceramic tiles.
Stain resistant
Ceramic tiles because of its glaze layer is stain resistant and can be cleaned and maintained very easily using mild detergents and mops. But they are less stain resistant due to the high water absorption properties and high
porosity compared with
Vitrified tiles.
Vitrified tiles are stain resistant, because they are dense, and non porous. They are very easy to maintain and is preferred for hospital floors, commercial areas, residential complexes etc. where there are heavy traffic and chances of stains getting to the floor.
Sunlight and frost resistant
Ceramic tile fades on exposed to sunlight and cracks on exposed to frost due to its porous nature.Vitrified tiles have any effect of sunlight and frost because of its high density and non porous surface.
Sizes
Ceramic tiles are available in maximum size of 2 ft x 2ft and this increase the no of joints which in coarse of time absorbs stains and become dark and needs re grouting to maintain the qualitiesVitrified tiles are available in a lot of sizes. Even 2 mtr x 1 mtr size tiles are also available with most of the manufactures. This give the surface a natural stone and decrease the number of joints.
Cost
Ceramic tile are cheaper compared to vitrified tiles.Vitrified tiles are costlier compared to ceramic tiles due to their superior qualities.
Ease of fixing
Ceramic tiles are easy to fix and repair comparing to vitrified tiles due to the presence of grout lines. Even a single tile can be replaced.Vitrified tiles needs professional tools and skilled labour for fixing the tiles and removing and re-fixing a tile is very difficult.
Maintenance
Ceramic tiles due to the higher no of joints are difficult to maintain when compared with vitrified tiles. The surface has a tendency to absorb stains.Highly impervious and glossy surface. Very easy to maintain. Vitrified tiles have less joints and do not absorb stains.
Wastage
Due to low breaking strength ceramic tiles generates more wastage. (Around 5%-8%)Vitrified tiles have high breaking strength and generated less wastage (around 3%)
Anti skid properties
Very low in ceramic tilesVery high in vitrified tiles
Anti bacterial properties
Ceramic tiles got less antibacterial properties comparing to vitrified tiles.
Ceramic tiles does not attract dust, pollen, mites etc and hence is anti allergic.
Got excellent anti bacterial proprieties.
Vitrified tiles also does not attract any dust, pollen , mites etc which can cause asthmatic allergies.

VIDEO : Difference between Vitrified tiles and Ceramic tiles

Conclusion

Vitrified tiles are a much superior material compared to ceramic tiles in Strength, abrasion resistant, stain resistant, scratch resistant. They are costlier than ceramic tiles.

Ceramic tiles are best for residential uses, bathroom floors, kitchen and bath room cladding etc due to there anti skid properties. They are cheap and affordable and is everlasting if maintained properly. They are vulnerable to water, stains, sunlight, frost etc due to its porous nature and very thin glazing over the surface.

Vitrified tiles are preferred in high traffic areas, commercial buildings, malls, shopping centres, Industrial buildings, airports, metros etc and residential uses.

The area of application is the main factor that decides a tiles choice….