As I have mentioned, we are building a home in LA. We are almost to the finish line and we are very happy with the outcome. One product I have never used is porcelain. I decided to use it for both my countertops and tiles. I read up on porcelain and love the results! Porcelain tile has been crafted across the globe for thousands of years. Today, updates in design and manufacturing technologies have changed porcelain tile dramatically, making it more durable, easy-to-clean, and versatile than it has ever been. Porcelain is made from very fine clay that is fired at high temperatures to remove more moisture from the tile resulting in a hard and dense tile. The density of porcelain tile makes it ideal for high traffic areas in homes and most commercial properties.
While granite and quartz come to mind as the most durable products, take a look at porcelain. It is known for its durability and strength. It is hard to fabricate so the contactors jumping on board to fabricate porcelain is slow. Make sure you select a good contractor that has worked with porcelain before. However, the options are impressive and if you are so inclined, you can produce any color, design, pigment or look that you can imagine. When porcelain slabs are manufactured for use in countertops, they’re coated with a pigmented glaze. This is to give them an aesthetic appeal similar to that of natural stone or even marble.
Here we will discuss porcelain’s pros and cons to give you a clearer idea about its design options, maintenance, durability, and cost.
After enduring such high fabrication temperatures, it makes sense that one advantage is its heat resistance. You should have no problem handling hot pots and pans even when you place them directly on a porcelain countertop.
As mentioned earlier, porcelain is stronger than the hardiest granite – almost 30% stronger in fact. Porcelain’s tough structure also makes it scratch resistant. You can even slice and dice food right on it without worrying about your knives damaging the surface. However, you may want to stay away from cleaving meat.
Porcelain is virtually impervious to water. According to the Tile Council of North America
, its absorption rate is less than 0.5%. So, don’t stress too much about wiping spills off the counter the moment they occur.
Besides being easy to keep clean, porcelain is also non-porous and stain resistant. That’s music to a countertop owner’s ears because it means no sealing is required. Quality porcelain used to make countertops is scratchproof, along with being heatproof and highly durable.
One major advantage porcelain has over quartz is that direct and prolonged exposure to sunlight won’t discolor it. What a relief when you can design your kitchen countertop layout free from worrying about where the windows are located.
Depending on the manufacturer, you may have numerous color choices thanks to the help of natural pigments. As porcelain is an engineered stone, patterns and colors can be added during the fabrication process. You can get a porcelain countertop with a solid color or, if you want, one whose surface mimics marble. That way you get the look of marble at many times its durability.
You can make your porcelain countertop look like the material of your choice, including marble, wood grain, concrete finishes or rusted steel, and it will still appear quite natural.
You may wonder whether a material as durable as porcelain must also be extremely thick, but that’s not the case.
In reality, porcelain is a very lightweight material with several installation options. What’s more, you can get extra-large porcelain slabs manufactured so fewer seams are required. This makes the material a good choice when you want to create a single slab cover look for the entire kitchen island.
Finally, one of porcelain’s biggest plusses is its greenness. It’s a 100% natural product made of raw and clay-based materials, so it’s nice to know you’ll be able to recycle it one day.
Porcelain countertops have few cons. One is that it will crack under blunt force. It’s strong but not that strong. As long as you don’t take a hammer or a meat cleaver to it, it’ll be fine.
Porcelain also has limited but unique countertop edge profile options compared with other materials. The usual edges, such as round, beveled, straight, cover or waterfall, are available. You can also get the edges mitered to create a consistent pattern, the most common choice being a square edge. Since porcelain countertops are thinner than others, a mitered edge is a good choice to give the illusion of a thicker slab.
Price is a major consideration. The countertop fabrication process is always a lot trickier when you’re working with high-density materials. Even finding the right fabricator for the full-sized slabs is difficult since the material is so thin. However, porcelain is cheaper than granite, marble and quartz. And the good news is that once installed, your maintenance cost is very low.
As you can see, a high-quality porcelain countertop is a versatile and durable product that gives you high performance and isn’t difficult to install. Probably the biggest benefit of all is that you can buy it in large slabs, 126” X 60” which eliminates seems on walls and islands. Since it’s stylish, resistant to daily wear and tear, and comes in various colors and patterns, it can be the perfect addition to your decor. Though it has some disadvantages, in the long run, the pros outweigh the cons. And with proper planning and care, they can be the most fashionable and practical decision you can make when it comes to your kitchen.