Are porcelain marble tiles as good as the real thing?

Porcelain tiles have a whole host of benefits, but now this sturdy material is being used to replicate marble, which has interior designers, homeowners, and businesses alike asking:

Are porcelain marble tiles as good as the real thing?

A quick guide to porcelain vs marble

The thing is, when you’re talking about two equally high-quality materials, it’s difficult to compare. But we’re going to try our best with this quick guide to choosing between the two.

Carrara Blanco Polished 12x24

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Carrara Blanco Natural 12x24

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In what way are porcelain and marble the same?

The main reason people choose porcelain and marble, beyond their aesthetic qualities, is because both materials are incredibly hard-wearing.

Porcelain and marble are both very difficult to scratch, scuff, or damage, which means when you choose one of these materials, you’re choosing longevity. Porcelain and marble floors, even in high-traffic areas, will stay looking exceptional for years to come, which is why both are especially popular choices in commercial reception areas that see hundreds or thousands of people every day.

You also don’t need to maintain porcelain or marble, aside from wiping them with a damp cloth every now and then. Unlike natural stone, neither of these tiles need to be sealed or treated with a special cleaning solution, which means you can continue to enjoy them without lifting a finger.

How are they different?

Even though porcelain and marble share some qualities, they differ in more ways than one.

Spiaggia Matte 24x24

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Grafito Matte 24x24

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Firstly, and probably the most obvious point is that marble tiles are made of the real thing: a stone that has formed over millions of years, whereas porcelain tiles simply have a lookalike glaze on their surface. If you cut into a marble tile, you’ll see the layers and veins, but if you cut into a porcelain tile, all you’ll see is a white intersection, just like if you were to cut into a piece of wood veneer.

Marble is also much heavier than porcelain, depending on the thickness of the stone of course.

Like a faux material, the reason many people choose either is the price. Real marble has an air of sophistication and prestige about it, while porcelain is a lower-end copycat.

Why do people choose porcelain over marble?

Besides price, porcelain has a variety of practical qualities too.

Porcelain is much lighter than marble, which can be a pro for walls. Some walls will not hold real heavy marble, in which case porcelain is an equally striking alternative. You should always check with your builder to find out how much weight your walls can take before ordering your tiles.

Considering underfloor heating? Then, again, you’ll probably want porcelain instead of marble. Porcelain is very effective at conducting heat – it heats up quickly. Marble takes a bit longer… You could end up waiting up to an hour for your underfloor heating to start working.

The answer…

Porcelain marble tiles are as good as real marble tiles under the right circumstances. Of course, we’d always suggest you opt for the real thing if you can, but in some cases, it’s not possible, such as if you want an effective underfloor heating system or if you have walls that won’t hold real marble tiles.

The choice between porcelain and marble is a personal and practical one.

Get inspired with our porcelain marble tiles

We sell a range of real marble tiles, but we also have a selection of porcelain marble tiles. Here are our designer’s top picks:

My Space Porcelain Collection

The textured surface of these tiles makes them ideal for shower and wet rooms. You can use these tiles on the walls and floor to create a contemporary bathroom with practical appeal.

Carrara Blanco Porcelain Tiles

These classic polished marble-effect tiles work beautifully in kitchen and living areas. Lay these tiles from your entranceway through to your dining room for a stylish, impactful finish.

Ready to choose between real marble tiles and porcelain marble tiles? Browse our full range and order samples of your favorite designs.