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Ceramic tile flooring is a popular in choice moisture prone areas, especially kitchens and bathrooms. The hard stone surface seems like a natural choice for areas where spills and moisture are common. But are ceramic tiles really waterproof? We’ll discuss that here.

Ceramic Tile Absorption Rate

Ceramic tile flooring in a luxurious bathroom

Ceramic tiles do have an absorption rate. It’s low, so tiles are still suitable for kitchens and bathrooms. But it also means that spills should be cleaned quickly. If not, tiles could (over a great deal of time) expand and crack. Since tiles are fitted perfectly, this can damage the grout and other tiles. Ceramic tiles are porous, meaning they have very small “holes” (pores) along the surface. These pores can absorb small amounts of liquid. So, it’s more accurate to say that ceramic tiles are water resistant. As long as spills aren’t left to sit around regularly, the tiles should be just fine.

Porcelain Tiles: The Exception

Porcelain tile flooring in a kitchen

Porcelain tile flooring is an enhanced take on ceramic. It features a different manufacturing process that significantly increases the density of each tile. Porcelain tiles are still technically considered ceramic, but they are more impervious than their traditional counterparts for a few reasons.

First, porcelain tiles are smooth rather than porous. They won’t absorb liquids like ceramic tiles, even in very small amounts. So, porcelain tiles have a significantly lower absorption rate. They are considered both waterproof and frost resistant. In fact, some porcelain tiles are even suitable for outdoor use. Ceramic tiles are not recommended for outdoor use, especially during colder season. If moisture seeps into the pores and melts, it creates a similar process that causes potholes in roads.

Is Your Grout Waterproof?

Texture of procelain tile flooring

While porcelain tile may be considered waterproof, not all grout is. If the grout allows moisture to seep through, it can (over time) promote mold growth and damage the subfloor. It can also damage the grout itself, sometimes leading to costly repairs.

Learn More

As you can see, there are many considerations when purchasing new floors. If you’re ready to make an informed choice for your home, visit Chelan’s leading flooring experts at Lake Interiors!