**** Tile questions ceramic .vs. porcelain ****

I'm installing a fireplace if you have been following some of my other posts.
I had a question about ceramic tile and porcelain tile. I was going to do marble around the fireplace but the guy at the stove place suggested using tile with a colored grout. It was a nice look. Also, he said if you do it right you can easily swap out the tile if you change the color of the room you can change the tile with little expense compared to marble. We've looked at them and sure enough they sell tile that looks a lot like a natural stone product.
My question is what is the major difference between ceramic and porcelain tile? Is one easier to cut over the other? I was going to get a diamond blade and put it on my chop saw, would this work? Or will a little table top 89.99 wet tile saw do better? Or can this tile be scored and broken like tile? I noticed that the ceramic tile is like 3/16 thick and the porcelain is more like a inch thick. My wife likes one of the porcelain patterns so I think I'm going to be cutting that thick stuff. Let me know which way to go. Thanks.
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Hi,
I just finished a tile floor. Porcelain is much stronger than ceramic and we just didn't want to have cracks. The extra cost isn't that high.
Cutting is slower but with an $88 Home Depot saw plus a good blade I did about 250 sqft in a very non-square room, plus a couple counters with round sinks in them. It does pay to buy a good blade and I found the MK-Diamond MK-225 "Hot Dog" blade to be great. After these two projects I could not detect a bit of wear on the blade.
Score and snap? I've done that on ceramic but with porcelain that can lead to very worn wrists. Also, porcelain splinters flying about are dangerous. That is why I sprung for the saw, which by the way is one heck of a deal for the money. I was very impressed with its sturdiness.
Always wear fully enclosed "goggle style" safety glasses when cutting this stuff.
Regards, Joerg
http://www.analogconsultants.com
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On 7 Oct 2004 18:01:47 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@virtua.org (TheCouchCruncher) wrote:

Porcelain can be scored and snapped for straight cuts. It's harder on the scoring wheel and doesn't always snap as cleanly, but it's easily doable. Wear good eye protection.
Forget about the diamond blade in the chop saw. You don't want that dust billowing out and the dry cut blade will wear quickly. Spring for the $90 wet saw. Cuts a little slower perhaps, but no dust and a nice clean cut. If you are just doing the fireplace, you could rent a pro wet saw which will cut it like butter, but you will pay half or more of the $90 cost of the import wet saw for a weekend rental.
Make sure the thinset you buy is labled for porcelain tile; the cheap stuff usually isn't. A friend of mine had to redo the better part of a kitchen when the porcelain tiles started popping out of the thinset because it wasn't labled for porcelain and didn't stick to it well enough. It has to do with the proportion and type of latex additive.
Good luck with your fireplace.
Paul
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(TheCouchCruncher)

About the $80 wetsaws, they aren't very good. It's easy to get a straight cut, but the cut edge is rough and chipping is almost unavoidable. I even installed a $35 replacement blade, but that didn't make for a better cut. I did a 600 sf ceramic tile project with one and decided the saw is underpowered. I'd recommend renting a good one for a weekend job. Even if you buy the $80 wetsaw, you will need to replace the blade since the blade they come with is very cheap. Note, too, the rip guides, and other accessories are flimsy. If I had a do-over I'd have purchased something like the MK 377.
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(TheCouchCruncher)

they've been using marble around fireplaces for hundreds of years. it's actually easier to do than tile, since it's so soft. it does stain though, so you have to be careful with the smoke and glasses of red wine on the hearth.
whoever told you that you can easily replace tiles to change the color shouldn't be listened to.
thinset is thinset. add your own admix, it comes in large jugs. there is no porcelain or ceramic thinsets. porcelain IS ceramic, it's just fired in a hotter kiln than lowfired ceramics to make it. the thickness of the tile doesn't have anything to do with ceramic as opposed to porcelain; it's just the style and/or type of tiles that gives a difference. some ceramic tiles are very thin (mostly wall tiles).
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I thought marble was hard, harder than man made tile. Maybe I'm thinking of granet but I thought marble was hard and breaks easy when cutting. Thanks for you ideas.
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thanks guys
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