Ceramic, Porcelain and other tiles compared to Laminate Flooring
The most popular tiles are generally ceramic tiles made of a combination of materials, in fact porcelain tiles are in fact ceramic tiles. The main ingredient in most tiles is clay, other ingredients are added to strengthen the tile as well as provide particular design elements. The main difference between ceramic and porcelain ceramic is that porcelain is made at higher temperatures with fine porcelain clay. Of course there are other types of tiles such as marble, limestone, quartz, lavastone and others. For more information about Stone Flooring & Laminates follow the link to read more. In this article we will mainly compare Ceramic, Porcelain and Laminate whilst grouping other types of floor tiles into one category.
The raw materials in ceramic tiles vs laminate flooring
Ceramic Tiles: Ceramic tiles are made from clay and contain a mixture of materials that range from recycled glass to common rock minerals like feldspar. The glaze is predominantly made of glass materials. Clay is made up of phylosillicates and the composition will depend on where the clay is mined or in some cases artificially made.
Laminates: Laminate floors are generally made of a high density fiber board core which is made of refined wood fiber and melamine resin. Laminate flooring also uses melamine layers to create a resistant layer as well as printed sheet between the HDF and the top protective layer.
Durability of ceramic tiles vs laminate flooring
As far as ceramic tiles go they are one of the most common flooring options, they are extremely resilient especially high quality tiles with great compositions and good manufacturing processes. Properly glazed tiles are able to fully withstand water damage. Ceramic tiles are generally rated from zero to five with five being the hardest rating. Proper installation can make a big difference in terms of durability especially when it comes to impact damage. The main negative observed with ceramics in terms of durability is actually not in durability itself but rather in replacement tiles; most tiles are produced in runs and this often results in a lack of availability of replacement tiles that perfectly match the original installation.
Laminates have improved drastically and many companies offer warranties on their laminate floors. Laminate flooring is extremely durable when compared to hard wood flooring, vinyl flooring and of course carpet flooring however it is generally accepted that ceramic tiling is more durable. Whilst there is highly water resistant laminate flooring, it is clear that ceramic tiling is more moisture resistant especially if exposed to moisture over a long period of time. Unlike ceramics however laminate flooring is easier to replace and is less likely to suffer impact damage that cannot be easily repaired.
Ease, speed and cost of installation
Ceramic & Porcelain Tile: Installation by an experienced professional is generally recommended for optimal results. Improper installation can cause multiple issues including loose and cracked tiles, jutting edges and porous grout that can result in water damage beneath the tiles. Cost is generally higher then laminates as skilled labour is required and the process itself is more labour intensive then laminate floor installation. Speed, tile installation is generally more time consuming especially in rooms where there are multiple corners that need to be cut, depending on the type of tile used special equipment may be required and cutting harder tiles is generally more time consuming.
Laminate Flooring: Installation is generally promoted as extremely easy especially with solutions like Uniclic by Quick Step which allows for faster, easier installation that results in a cohesive installation even when installed by someone that has minimal DIY experience. Cost of installation will vary depending on the brand of laminates however it is generally lower then ceramic tiling. As far as speed of installation, laminate flooring is one of the fastest options when it comes to flooring installation. An added benefit in terms of speed is that laminate flooring can generally be walked on immediately after installation.
Aesthetics Ceramic and porcelain tiles vs laminate flooring.
From an aesthetic perspective laminates offer a much wider design choice, this is mainly due to the photo layer of laminates. If uniformity is important to you laminates will definitely win out as they are near perfect matches throughout the entire installation. On the other end of the spectrum each tile is unique and even in batches from the same production run there will be slight variances that do provide a particularly appealing aesthetic. In terms of colours and other factors both laminates and ceramic tiles offer a wide variety of options. It is generally more a matter of what is available on the market at the time as opposed to the variety achievable via production processes.
Ceramic tiles do generally require slight spacing (grout) in between each tile and this can be considered by some a negative when compared to laminate flooring that is generally installed as one finished cohesive unit.
One important note is that certain finishes and colourings do significantly increase the cost per meter with ceramic and porcelain tiles whereas this is not generally the case with laminate flooring or at the very least the range in pricing is more relative to quality, warranties, moisture resistance and thickness as opposed to design variances.
Conclusions, ceramic tiles vs laminate flooring
For moisture resistance and overall durability especially in bathrooms it is clear that ceramic tiles are probably the best bet. From a cost and ease of installation as well aesthetic we feel that laminates will generally win over. From a general durability perspective both ceramic and laminates are at the top of the durability spectrum and whilst ceramic tiles are slightly more durable they are generally harder to replace and repair. Ceramic tiles cannot provide wood like aesthetics and if this is a particular look you are going for then you will generally find that laminates are probably your best option balancing durability, moisture resistance and cost when compared to softer woods. Speed of installation can also play a major role for property developers and first time home buyers looking to move into their properties quickly.
If you are interested in learning more about high quality laminates we recommend reading this article: Laminate flooring in Malta and if you already have a good idea and are looking for a quote for laminate flooring click the link below. For tiling options you can use our search bar to find tile providers and learn more about what is available to you.