Brick Vs. Ceramic Tile Flooring

Ceramic Versus Brick
Getty Images / Bud Freund / wepix

Brick is a rustic hard tile flooring surface solution that has a lot of character and personality. Ceramic tiles are a more precise option and they're manufactured to have distinct, particular features. They are both excellent choices in a variety of environments. However, they each have overt, pronounced qualities that can completely transform the feel of the surrounding space, making them suited to different situations.


  • Brick: A strong, hard surface flooring option, brick pavers are generally able to handle heavy impact damage and high traffic conditions. However, this mostly clay based product can chip and crack if enough force is applied. They can also suffer from weathering if not properly protected, with the pieces flecking and deteriorating due to the elements and or normal use over time.
  • Ceramic: These materials are manufactured to be extremely hard, durable, and resistant. The specific strength of a particular tile is determined by the amount of heat applied when the clay components are fired. A melted glass glaze is also often applied, which can act as a protective coat over the piece, making it proof against scratching issues.

Ease Of Maintenance

  • Brick: These materials are durable, however, they are also naturally porous, which means that they are susceptible to liquid penetration and dimensional staining agents. In order to prevent this, brick needs to be sealed after installation, and then periodically throughout the course of its life, with the frequency depending on the level of use. However, if these precautions are taken, basic maintenance then becomes a simple process of sweeping or vacuuming.
  • Ceramic: Ceramic tiles are specifically manufactured to be dense and durable. However, they are also porous in their natural state. This can be offset with regular sealing, which will clog the pores and create a clear protective layer over its face. You can also purchase glazed ceramic tiles, which receive a coat of melted glass glaze when they are produced. That layer is completely impervious to water and stains, making maintenance extremely easy.

Style and Design

  • Brick: These materials are generally reddish in color, though they can be tinted to take on a variety of other hue highlights. They also tend to be somewhat textured, with rustic characteristics that give them a warm, comforting feel that is welcoming, and unassuming. These are most often employed in environments which you are trying to instill with a sense of personality and warmth.
  • Ceramic: These tiles are manufactured to have very sharp angles and exact lines. The natural color of the surface will be determined by the type of clay employed. However, when they are treated with a melted glass glaze, the surface of these pieces can be printed to look like almost anything, including vibrant colors, multi-colors, motif images and faux-natural looks.

Pricing Factors

  • Brick: Pavers are some of the most inexpensive flooring options available, and you can locate materials that cost as little $0.50 - $1.00 per square foot. In some cases, you will also find more expensive emblem pattern pieces or specialty handmade cuts that will raise the price to as high as $5.00 per square foot. However, the durability of these products means that the initial investment can pay off over the long-term lifespan of the installation.
  • Ceramic: The average cost of ceramic flooring is $5.00 - $10.00 per square foot, with specialty materials ranging as high as $20 per piece. These materials can be somewhat difficult to install, however, so you have to factor in the cost of either materials and equipment to do the job or the price of a professional contractor who can handle the work. 

Ceramic Tile Information

Water Resistance

  • Brick: The naturally porous characteristics of brick make them susceptible to water damage, staining, and the growth of mold. The sealant can protect them to some extent, but during flooding situations that protective coat can fail, causing the installation to become irrevocably damaged. 
  • Ceramic: While it is dense and durable, in its untreated state ceramic can suffer from water damage and staining issues. The sealant will help to prevent some of these problems, but that can fade and wear down over time and is not a perfect solution. On the other hand, glazed ceramic surfaces are impervious to liquids, and moisture will not be able to penetrate past the melted glass layer. However, the grout lines in between individual pieces can still be vulnerable. 

Exterior Use

  • Brick: These materials are often used in exterior locations, as the rustic look of the pavers matches well with the natural beauty of a garden, yard, or patio. They will wear down and fade over time due to weather, however that effect can actually be attractive, giving the individual pieces a sense of character that is prized in many locations. 
  • Ceramic: Glazed ceramic is generally only used in interior spaces, as the elements can cause the surface layer to wear away, leaving the tile exposed in an unsightly way. Natural, untreated tiles are better for outdoor locations as they will wear and weather over time, taking on the look of aged stone, with a rustic appeal that will match the surrounding environment.