Is it tile or is it vinyl? At a first glance of DuraCeramic tile flooring, it can be difficult to tell. When looking at a faux-tile floor, this is a good problem to have.
DuraCeramic offers a wide variety of patterns and grout color choices to satisfy even the most color-coordinated designer. Plus, it’s warm and soft underfoot and all wrapped up in an easy-to-install format that won’t break the bank.
You must still wonder, how well does this stuff hold up? We will get into that in a minute, so don’t go throwing away all your ceramic tile samples just yet.
- Durability & Construction
- Ceramic Tile or DuraCeramic?
- Ease of Installation
- The Verdict
DuraCeramic is a high-performance floor product that lives somewhere between a ceramic tile and vinyl composition tile. It comes in a wide variety of stone, tile, and concrete patterns in multiple sizes. The different sizes offer much more versatility in layout than it’s click together or loose-lay counterparts.
DuraCeramic Origins is a collection of 16″ x 16″ tiles. This collection was one of the first HPF type groutable tiles on the market. You will find a selection of natural stone and ceramic tile looks designed with a classic appeal.
The Dimensions collection offers a 12”x 24” rectangular, linear design than can be arranged in an ashlar, brick, straight-lay or herringbone layout. Patterns include wood look tile, brushed concrete, linen, and stone. This collection also features unique textures embossed to complement the patterns.
DuraCeramic can be installed with or without grout. The coordinating acrylic grout is stain-, moisture-, and mildew-resistant.
Having trouble picking out your colors and layout? Maybe you’ve thought about hiring an interior designer to help? Check out the National Council for Interior Design Qualification for resources and how to find a qualified designer.
Durability and Construction
DuraCeramic is made of limestone and polymer composites with HD visuals printed on top and protected by a durable urethane wear layer.
It is designed to be scratch-, stain-, fade-, and water-resistant. The water-resistant properties are where this product differs the most from ceramic tile.
DuraCeramic can be installed on the floor of a bathroom but should not be used in areas with excessive moisture such as a shower–not even on the shower walls.
Should you choose to install this product in a wet area, you may want to consider doing so with grout. The grout creates a barrier at the joints making it very difficult for water to penetrate. If you choose to install it without grout, it is better suited for an area with minimal or no moisture.
Congoleum offers a limited lifetime warranty on all their DuraCeramic products. The warranty covers things like delamination and product failure. It doesn’t cover things like wear, damage, discoloration, or failure due to improper installation.
Ceramic Tile or DuraCeramic?
DuraCeramic is a type of flooring called HPF or High-Performance Flooring. DuraCeramic is a stronger engineered floor when compared to many other resilient flooring options.
It’s tough and flexible and can withstand above average expansion and contraction. Some conditions like these would otherwise leave you with cracked or ledged ceramic tile.
DuraCeramic is also warm underfoot and more forgiving than ceramic tile. It’s not bulletproof, but you are less likely to damage it if you drop something heavy on it.
DuraCeramic Installation is faster and easier than ceramic tile to less subfloor prep and special site conditions that you would otherwise need.
It’s important to note that DuraCeramic is not a replacement for ceramic tile. It can’t go in excessively wet areas, for example.
Even though DuraCeramic is very durable, a quality ceramic tile installation will far outlast it.
It’s easy to learn more about flooring specifications and how companies have rated products to perform at ASTM.org.
Ease of Installation
DuraCeramic is a very versatile product with many applications. This is also true of its installation process. There are two different ways to install DuraCeramic.
The most common installation is a direct-glue method. This method is where you glue the product directly to the subfloor using the pressure-sensitive adhesive the manufacturer recommends.
If you plan to put this floor in a wet area, you should use the direct-glue method. The adhesive keeps moisture from collecting under the floor which could cause mold or rot.
Subfloor preparation is of upmost importance with this method. Your subfloor should be flat, dry, and free of debris.
Acceptable subfloors include cement, gypcrete, and OSB/Plywood. You should not direct glue to particle board, but don’t worry, there’s an alternative so you don’t have to go ripping out all your subfloor.
The second method is a floating installation. This method uses a special underlayment called Underflor, this also known as an uncoupling membrane. Instead of gluing the tile directly to the subfloor, you glue it to the underlayment which then “floats” between the tile and the subfloor.
Choose this method if you have a particle board subfloor or think you may want to replace your floor sooner than later. It is much easier to remove the tile when you have not glued it to the subfloor.
If you want to go for the true-to-tile look, you can opt to install the DuraCeramic floor with grout. Keep in mind that you can’t go using any grout from the hardware store. There are a couple reasons for this.
The first is that a regular urethane or cement-based grout will damage the finish of the tile when you apply it. Second, using anything but the products the manufacturers recommend will void your warranty if you do have a problem with your flooring later.
DuraCeramic is a premium product with a price tag to match. Expect to pay retail $3-$5 per square foot. Additional sundries include adhesive and grout that adds approximately $45-$75 per bucket to your tile flooring cost depending on size. For a floating installation, the Underflor underlayment runs around $80 for a 100 square foot roll.
Limited DuraCeramic colors are available from some big box retailers such as Lowe’s, but you can also find extended color options from online retailers as well as your local mom and pop flooring dealer and showroom.
Don’t forget the trims and transitions. In this case, one trim does it all. The DuraCeramic multi-trim functions as a reducer or t-mold.
Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a seasoned professional, the labor cost won’t break the bank. Although, you should expect to pay more for the glue-down and floating installation as these require more time and preparation than a typical click-together vinyl floor.
DuraCeramic tile flooring has a lot of great things going for it. It’s soft and warm underfoot, water-resistant, and easy to install. Of course, it’s tile – so it’s easy to clean. Also, many styles are readily available at local retailers and even more options are easily found online.
However, at a price point that’s comparable with a mid-grade ceramic tile, it makes for a tough sell. It also isn’t necessarily a replacement for ceramic tile as it can’t go in excessively wet areas. This would leave you with your flooring not matching your shower walls.
Overall, DuraCeramic would only be a good choice for you if you either just really don’t want ceramic tile or have the subfloor that supports it—or you still want warm feet without springing for the radiant heat system.