Home » Blog » Cement vs Porcelain: Which is Better for Your Commercial Tile Projects?

Cement vs Porcelain: Which is Better for Your Commercial Tile Projects?

Vintage Color Mix Set
Our VINTAGE collection, shown here in the Color Mix Set, has the aesthetic characteristics of cement tile but with all the benefits of easy-to-maintain, durable porcelain.

If you love interior design, your Instagram feed is likely filled with images of beautiful spaces, many of which show tile in use. And because Instagram is a land without borders, you probably see design and tile influences from around the globe that showcase tile surfaces rich in color, pattern, and unique style.

The Instagram influence is just one factor that’s sparking ever-increasing interest in pattern tiles, colorful tiles, and—specifically—surfacing options often referred to as cement tiles, encaustic tiles, and even concrete tiles. The visuals of these types of tile are often quite stunning and provide great eye candy for your Instagram scrolling. However, there’s so much more to the story if you’re looking for the right products for your demanding commercial installations.

We at GIO strongly recommend that interior designers, architects, and specifiers for commercial projects opt for porcelain tile products that offer not only the aesthetic preferred but also the performance required. Here are the top reasons why we advise to specify porcelain tile instead of cement tile for your contract installations.

Porcelain tile does not require sealing. Did you know that cement tiles must be sealed? Not only do they need to be sealed at the point of installation, but they also require resealing periodically throughout the life of the installation. Because of the porosity of cement tiles’ body, this level of maintenance is a must regardless of whether the installation is in a commercial or residential setting. Conversely, porcelain tiles’ extremely dense, impervious body does not require sealing, and this makes its durability and ease of maintenance all but impossible for cement tile to rival.

Porcelain tile is simple to clean and maintain. Cement tile is prone to etching by harsh detergents or acids. Even if sealed at the time of installation and then resealed periodically over time, the etching effects that appear on the cement tiles will remain. Also, because cement tile is porous, it can stain when exposed to liquids such as wine, soda, vinegar, as well as water. On the other hand, porcelain tile won’t stain and wipes clean with water—no harsh chemicals required. For demanding commercial spaces, this ease of cleaning and long-term maintenance are essential.

Porcelain tile’s appearance withstands high traffic and redundant or heavy use. Cement tiles are loved for their beauty, but the looks will likely be compromised through regular use, even use that is not deemed ‘extreme.’ Foot traffic—either redundant over time or heavy traffic, heel scrapes, even pets’ claws/nails have all been known to affect the look of cement tiles. Of course, some people like the style of worn tiles or tiles with accumulating imperfections. However, porcelain tile is the right choice for specifiers who seek looks that will last regardless of high traffic, redundant foot traffic patterns, or other factors. The way porcelain tile is manufactured ensures it will maintain its original appearance, presuming it’s installed properly to manufacturers’ installation guidelines.

Porcelain tile is well suited for a wide range of installation scenarios. Commercial specifiers are likely to find that cement tiles are not ideal for a host of applications for which they need to use tile. Because of possible staining due to porosity, cement tile is not ideal for wet areas such as bathrooms. Likewise, many designers opt to avoid it for high traffic areas such as kitchens and entryways. Additionally, it’s not recommended for exterior applications in climates that are prone to experience freeze-thaw conditions (makes sense that it’s so popular in countries/locations known for tropical and very warm weather!). Porcelain tile products have few limitations when it comes to offering the performance and technical specs needed for just about any given installation. There are even many options suitable for exterior use in freeze-thaw conditions.

GIO tile alternative to cement tileToday—thanks to advanced porcelain tile design and manufacturing capabilities, we have beautiful pattern tile and color options that are great fits for commercial design projects. Designers, architects, and commercial specifiers can get the looks they want without compromising the performance required. Explore our website for the latest porcelain tile options for your next installation needs!

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