Porcelain Countertops – Pros & Cons (All You Need to Know)
- April 08, 2020
Until the human-made substitutes of the natural stones entered the market, the use of natural stone considered a luxury. Out of those natural stone substitutes, porcelain remains at the top of the selections.
We have already discussed the porcelain tiles in detail in the previous posts. For instance, – “Types of Porcelain Tiles – All You Need to Know” and the benefits of porcelain in a post – “10 Benefits of Porcelain Pavers for Your Home” as well as elsewhere in our blogs.
So, my narrations today may remain up to the pros & cons of the use of porcelain in the construction of countertops, more precisely, kitchen countertops.
Pros of Porcelain:
High Flexural Strength of Porcelain
You can compare porcelain tiles with natural stone tiles on different parameters. For example, braking load, braking strength, and modulus rupture, you may find the average flexural strength of porcelain-40.0 MPa, which is akin to most of the natural stone types.
Porcelain is Stain Resistant
Porcelain has excellent resistance to ferrous oxide initiated natural stains. Moreover, porcelain is less porous compared to natural stone varieties. So, the chances of gaining deep staining are less.
Heat Resistant Porcelain
Porcelain making process requires high temperature, more than 1K degree Celsius temperature. It means it has the built-up capability to bear heat like placing hot Pot on porcelain kitchen countertops. You can use leftover pieces of porcelain tiles as trivets in your kitchen.
Frost Resistant Porcelain
Porcelain also is excellent at freeze-thaw cycles commonly occurs in the colder areas. Porcelain proved “Superb” in the ASTM C1026 Resistant test and passed it at -18 to +15 for 15 Freeze & Thaw cycles!
Porcelain Seems Good at Scratch/Abrasion Resistance
Porcelain is available in different six types of gradation for abrasion resistance. It begins from 100 RPM (Rotation per Minute) to greater than 12K RPM. It means you can dice and slice food with an open knife without any fear of damage at all with a right grade choice for your kitchen countertop.
Water Resistant Porcelain
Porcelain is an extremely dense material with the least porosity. It means it has a low water absorption rate. It can keep you free from the stress of quick cleaning if any spill occurs on the countertop. Just wipe it off and go. No poultice needed to remove deep stains from the porcelain surfaces.
Porcelain Is Lightweight Yet Sturdy Material in Dimension Stone Industry
118” x 59” size tiles with 6mm thickness are available in the market, which only weight just 2.81 pounds for a square foot. It means it is a lightweight option compared to natural stones with the same hardness and durability. It said that high-quality porcelain is 30% stronger than the granite stone.
Moreover, porcelain is a human-made material. So, you can place a custom order and get extra size, custom shape, and thickness to meet your bespoke dimension stone requirements in porcelain installations.
Porcelain Comes in Different Surface Finishes
During the manufacturing process, we can create different surface textures on the porcelain slabs/tiles to meet various needs of different spaces in outdoor and indoor applications. You can get a glossy surface with a shiny appearance for countertops in the kitchen. Similarly, you can get anti-skid surfaces in your bath like wet places.
Porcelain a Cheaper Yet Wise Option
When you are going to comparative shopping for your dimension stone needs, porcelain remains a cheaper yet wise option. It is better than natural stone and other alternatives we have in contemporary time. However, installation cost remains the same for natural stones and porcelain tiles for the countertops. However, lightweight gives porcelain an added advantage in labor cost and time management.
Porcelain Available in Huge Range of Colors & Patterns for Countertops
If we carefully look at the porcelain making process, four main stages are:
- “Forming or molding” to get the desired shape.
- “Glazing” to get smooth and glossy surfaces.
- “Pigmentation” to get a variety of colors and patterns.
- “Firing” to convert raw material into a permanent and finished shape.
We can get desired colors and patterns by adding cobalt, copper, iron, and other pigments in the paste and its different regions of mold.
It means if you think of imitation of the Carrara marble in your porcelain countertops or granite-like appearance, you may not get disappointment at all. Similarly, you can obtain shiny glossy to a dull appearance in your countertop slabs to match your design theme in the kitchen and elsewhere.
You Can Install Porcelain Over Existing Countertops
The sheer size of porcelain tiles, low weight, and minimal requirements for fixing tiles on existing countertops allow reinstallation easy and affordable. You can decorate and match the theme of the interior design. You have the freedom to select colors and patterns out of a vast porcelain inventory available at World of Stones USA.
Porcelain an Environmentally Green Material
We know porcelain chiefly consists of Clay as a foundation material. The Clay is a natural substance and eco-friendly even after heated in Kiln and pressed to shape porcelain tiles. The Clay degrades or mixes up quickly within the environment without leaving any hazardous effect.
Moreover, recycled porcelain aggregates are useful in the construction and landscaping industry. We can lay aggregates on roadsides or as a base material in various projects in the landscaping industry. The colorful aggregates of porcelain tiles can use as decorative elements in indoor and outdoor decorations.
Porcelain an Easy to Maintain Option
Porcelain requires minimal maintenance because it is a highly dense and less porous material. So, it alleviates frequent sealing or coating like surface treatments. It hardly absorbs liquid like water or oil usually found in spills on the kitchen or dining table like countertops. So, it is tough to get deep and permanent stains. Simple wiping off with the wet (by water) cloth proves enough. You know how to clean porcelain countertops thoroughly.
Being sturdy material breakages and cracks are less likely to occur on porcelain countertops. Replacement is easy and quick as well as availability for replacements are adequate in the market if you are going with known brands.
Porcelain a Better Choice Against Natural Stones
Despite the lightweight framework, compact size porcelain countertop slabs/tiles are sturdy, dense, less porous, and highly resistant material. If you are found of contemporary designs and wish to follow trends frequently, porcelain is excellent for short-term projects as a cheaper option for costing.
Moreover, porcelain is heat resistant to use on kitchen countertop projects. It gets almost no stain and scratches where chances of spills and cuttings with knives are high in the kitchen like areas.
Porcelain a Better Choice Against Ceramic Tiles
Against ceramic tiles, the porcelain tiles have crystallin, homogenous, vitrified, and mix material with high durability. Such plus points have won the countertop market for the porcelain pavers material.
Cons of Porcelain:
Porcelain Countertop Edges Have Limited Options
At present, porcelain slabs for countertops are available with only two options for edges: square and metered. Different edge options are only possible for the bulk order for the large projects. However, the market is showing signs to offer more edge options, but it is within limited manufacturers.
Porcelain Gets Damages with Blunt Force
In a scientific experiment, it has revealed that porcelain material is highly prone to get damaged by blunt forces like falling of metal tools or objects during typical usages. However, natural stones have excellent resistance against such blunt forces and hardly get cracks or breaks with it.
Porcelain a Fragile Material During Installation
Very often, hammers or other tools fall on the surface of uninstalled or installed porcelain tiles. It results in complete breakage or crashes of the countertop slabs.
Such incidents revealed that porcelain is a fragile material and can get damaged even during the installation process and demand utmost care. If you have poor stonemason, the damages may exceed a threshold and result in severe losses.
Porcelain Has Moderate Life Span
Due to the fragility and moderate life span, porcelain never lasts for centuries like natural stones. It is suitable for one or two decades and needs replacements with contemporary materials or natural stones. Cracks, breakages, scratches like damages are frequent and end up with a short life span.
Porcelain Doesn’t Add Any Value in Property As Natural Stones Do
We have seen that porcelain is a fragile material with a moderate self-life compared to natural stones. The real estate industry doesn’t consider porcelain value-adding stuff if used in the construction because it has low reselling value in terms of durability and aesthetics.
Who Will Your Porcelain Tile Supplier?
World of Stones USA has a considerable inventory of porcelain along with natural stones. You will have room for ample choices for your bespoke designs and themes. Enough color variations and patterns are available. You can place a custom order for your custom needs only or through our distributors in your vicinity.