Porcelain Tile Thickness: What You Need to Know

After looking through all of the available flooring options that are out there, it is easy to see why porcelain is a popular choice. After a person has chosen porcelain, it is then an important step to understand the different tile thicknesses. So, what should you know about porcelain tile thickness?

Here’s what you need to know about the thickness of porcelain tiles:

  • Thin porcelain tiles are 3 to 6 mm thick. They are used in low-weight areas
  • Standard tiles are 6.35 mm to 9.525 mm and can be used for almost any project
  • Thick tiles can be up to 20 mm thick and are best used outdoors

While this is only a brief summary of porcelain tile thicknesses, there is still plenty to know so that you can get the best porcelain tile for your project. Continue reading to understand more about porcelain tiles and their different uses. 

Porcelain Tile Thickness: What You Need to Know

Porcelain tiles are easily one of the most popular types of tile that are used today. They basically never go out of style because of all of the different patterns and styles there are to choose from, and they are fairly low-maintenance.

But, when it comes to choosing the right porcelain tile for you, the thickness of the tiles is a main factor to consider. This characteristic will help you to better understand which type of environment the tiles will do the best in, or if it will even fit in the spot you have designated for it. 

So, here are the different thicknesses of porcelain tiles you can choose from:

  • Thin
  • Standard
  • Thick

There is not a set number that describes the thickness of porcelain tiles. Instead, the thickness is characterized by a range of millimeters. For the next few sections of this article, we will go over the different thicknesses and their purposes. 

Thin Porcelain Tile

The first type of porcelain tile that we will dig into is thin porcelain tile, which is sometimes also known TPT. Thin porcelain tile is actually a fairly new concept that has been steadily gaining traction. So, what exactly is it?

Thin porcelain tile can range anywhere from 3 millimeters to 6 millimeters. The reason why this is such a new and innovative idea is because porcelain tiles that are less that 7.5 millimeters thick were once not ideal for flooring.

A few engineers that wanted to make some improvements on the already existing porcelain tiles, they were able to successfully form thin porcelain tiles that can be used for floors and walls. The biggest advantage to using thin porcelain tiles is that they are much lighter than the other types of porcelain tiles. 

Here are some reasons why being lighter is an advantage:

  • Less material is used to make these types of tiles, which makes them an eco-friendlier option.
  • It costs less to ship thin porcelain tiles.
  • They can be produced in larger pieces, which can make installation much easier. They can be produced in up to 5’ x 10’ formats.
  • There is a wider variety of places you can install this type of porcelain, such as yachts, mobile homes, and RVs. 

Another thing that has been noted about thin tile porcelain is that it is slightly bendable; therefore, it can be used in places where tiles would normally not be an option. You can even lay this type of tile over existing materials.

There is one big disadvantage that comes with choosing thin porcelain tile: it breaks much easier. This means that you will have to consider the amount of traffic that will be going over the tiles and really know what you are doing when installing it. 

Standard Porcelain Tile

The next type of porcelain tile that we will discuss is standard porcelain tile. This is the type of porcelain tile that people are normally looking for when they have a home project in mind.

Standard porcelain tile ranges from 6.35 millimeters to 9.525 millimeters thick, which is ¼ inch to 3/8 inch. This is the ideal thickness for most projects because it is not so thin that you have to be super cautious with it or so thick that it can cause problems. 

The standard porcelain tiles are perfect for flooring in areas where there is generally a good amount of traffic and can be installed indoors or outdoors. 

If you are looking for a durable type of porcelain tile that can be used in your house or out on the patio, the standard size will likely be your best option. 

Thick Porcelain Tile

The last thickness of porcelain tiles to cover is thick porcelain tiles. This thickness is commonly used on patios and as pavers in yards.

Thick porcelain tiles are usually 19.05 millimeters and up to 20 millimeters. The thickness of this porcelain tile makes it nearly indestructible to the natural elements and even to humans. You will not have to worry about cracking it when you drop something onto it.

These are also very easy to install, if you are installing them outside, because there is no grout required. All you have to do pack sand or small plants in between the spaces. 

The thick porcelain tiles are not ideal for indoors for a couple of different reasons. For one, they are very heavy. This would mean that unless your home is on a concrete foundation—a lot of old homes are not—then it cannot be installed.

Another reason why it is not ideal for inside the home is because it could be difficult to transition between a regular flooring and this really thick tile. So, you would likely have a slight step up when you are entering the room with the thick porcelain tile.

It is best to keep these tiles outside—but if you know what you are doing, then they will be a great choice indoors with a little planning and preparation.

Is Thicker Porcelain Tile Better? 

When it comes to deciding which thickness of porcelain tile is better, there is not really a straight answer. Of course, the thicker the tile, the harder it is to break, but the really thick tiles also cannot be installed in all places.

If you are looking for flooring options, then yes, standard porcelain tile is definitely better than thinner tiles. People will walk on it, drop things onto it, and scuff it with their shoes. Thin porcelain tiles would not able to handle this sort of activity very much.

With that being said, you do not want to get the thickest tile you can find as it could cause some problems like the ones listed above. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, porcelain tiles are a very popular and smart choice for any project or job that you have going. With that being said, making sure you choose the right type is important, which is why knowing the differences between the thickness is essential.

Remember this cheat sheet for the different thicknesses:

  • Thin- (3 to 6 mm)- Used in areas that cannot handle lots of weight or on top of existing materials
  • Standard- (6.35 to 9.525 mm)- Can be used and is mostly suitable for any project
  • Thick- (up to 20 mm)- Mostly used for outdoors, like pavers

While none of the thicknesses are particularly better than the other, one option will typically be better suited for certain situations, whereas the others probably would not work. Be sure that you get the right thickness before picking out the perfect tile patterns!

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