Porcelain tiles are very similar to marble tiles, but they are completely different materials. If we compare the two price wise, porcelain is a less expensive material than marble, but that’s only true when you don’t consider the choice of marble and the installation costs. Marble is a luxury material, but it also is heavier and of higher quality than porcelain.
Both marble and porcelain are hard materials, but porcelain is rated on a PEI scale. Those tiles with a PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) hardness rating of 4 or 5 are good for home and business traffic. A PEI rating of 3 is good for residential and only light commercial traffic. Anything below is suitable only for residential foot traffic, with a PEI rating of 1 being for light footwear like slippers or socks. A PEI rating of 0 means the porcelain tile is only suitable for floors, since it’s not that durable. Depending on what tile you choose, the durability will be determined by the PEI rating. Marble, on the other hand is suitable for all types of foot traffic, no matter what type of marble you choose. It is rated on the Mohs hardness scale and comes in at between 3 and 5. It is unlikely to wear down under normal wear, which makes it perfect for a hallway that gets lots of foot traffic.
Porcelain is a very hard material that is often glazed. The fact that is a dense material with a glaze makes it water resistant, stain resistant, and less likely to fade than marble. Marble, on the other hand, is more porous and can soak up stains or even become etched with acidic liquids. That’s why marble has to be sealed regularly against such accidents, particularly if you put it in the kitchen. In terms of maintenance, though, again it depends on the porcelain tile you choose. If you pick a highly textured porcelain tile, like this one, it can become chipped or be difficult to clean.