Indeed, granite and quartz countertops are dominating the market today, but people are becoming more practical and slowly switching for something economical while still providing good aesthetics and functionality.
The popularity of porcelain in countertops and other remodeling came from Europe and is now gradually flourishing in the United States. In general, the market is admiring the functionality and aesthetics of this material offered at an economical price.
Consequently, if you are planning on remodeling your kitchen or home, porcelain slabs can be a rewarding option. Moreover, several manufacturers have already made design variations similar to other prominent minerals.
Here, we are going to uncover the beauty and functionality of porcelain slabs and how it can be a great material for your kitchen countertops.
Porcelain For Kitchen Countertops
When you are looking for a material for your kitchen countertop, the first thing you need to consider is its functionality and second is its aesthetics.
Why? Unlike bathroom countertops and vanity tops, kitchen countertops are more exposed to harsher conditions, which means you need to have a material which has enough strength and hardness to resist chips, scratches, stains, and heat.
In terms of composition, porcelain is mostly made up of kaolinite, also known as “china clay”. Aside from that, it is also made from other minerals such as feldspar, metal oxides, and silica. All these components are mixed and homogenized under extreme heat which produces the porcelain material.
Consequently, the material composition and process of creating porcelain contributes to its sufficient strength, hardness, and resistance to heat. Moreover, considering this is man-made, the variety in design and color can be applied in the last process of its production.
Overall, these things make porcelain slabs a great and rewarding material for your kitchen and bathroom countertops.
Porcelain VS Dekton Countertops
There is a very similar mineral slab that is being confused with the porcelain slabs, that is, Dekton. Dekton is also known as the “ultra-compact surface” with similar components making up porcelain slabs and is a great competitor with Neolith.
The main difference between Neolith and Dekton with Porcelain slabs lies in its components. Porcelain slabs do not contain a few of the raw ingredients in making glass and quartz slabs, while Dekton and Neolith have it.
Consequently, this makes the two brands much stronger and harder than porcelain slabs.
Pros: Countertops from Porcelain Slabs
We have already started discussing some of the important traits of porcelain slabs and how it caught the attention of the market. However, before coming to a conclusion that porcelain slabs are good material for kitchen countertops, let us first uncover some of its highlighted features loved by its existing customers.
High Stain Resistance
Comparing quartz and granite, the former has a better anti-stain ability because of its resin binders which helps enhance its non-porous features. However, the two materials are quite costly and if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, porcelain is an ideal one.
The non-porous feature of porcelain is comparable to that of quartz. Why? It is because of the several minerals comprising it and the extreme heating process in producing porcelain. Consequently, the extreme heat helps melt those minerals and cover several pores of porcelain.
Excellent Heat Resistance
Similar to granite, producing this material involves extreme temperature which makes this material prone to heat. Whenever you will place a hot pan on top of a porcelain countertop, there will be no worries of dark burnt spots.
Excellent Scratch Resistance
The level of scratch resistance of porcelain is comparable to that of quartz and granite. However, it has a slight weakness with ceramic knives as it can effectively make scratch marks on the surface of porcelain countertops.
Whenever you will be using knives on your porcelain counters, make sure you will use a wooden or hard plastic chopping board to prevent direct contact between the knife and the countertop.
Durability and Hardness
Kitchen countertops must have enough durability to resist wear and tear. Likewise, hardness is also an important factor to consider so that your countertop is not prone to easy cracks, chips and cuts.
For porcelain countertops, it has amazing innate durability and hardness which is close to natural stone. However, to ensure a longer life and preserved beauty, proper care and maintenance must be observed for this material.
Excellent Ultraviolet Rays Resistance
If you have observed, some minerals when exposed to extreme sunlight tend to have a reaction which eventually leads to the fading of its color and design. A good example of this mineral which reacts with sunlight is marble.
Fortunately, this material exhibits excellent resistance against ultraviolet rays, preventing any discoloration on its surface.
Variation in Colors and Designs
Considering this material is man-made, the variation in color pigmentation and designs can be done in the second to the last part of its production process. This provides an array of options for the different preferences of customers in the market. Today, porcelains have design variations similar to marble and other minerals.
Discoloration through time is present to all minerals, including porcelain. However, a few manufacturing plants have slowly created innovations to slow down this process.
Sealing Maintenance is Not Compulsory
Unlike granite which needs an annual or every six months re-sealing, porcelain does not necessarily require one unless for certain extreme conditions. The excellent non-porous feature of porcelain is highly attributed to the extreme heat glazing process it undergoes. The minerals are melted and covers the majority of the porcelain’s pores.
Uses Green Material
Porcelain slabs are made from natural clay which undergoes the extreme heating process. In addition, you do not need to obtain new raw materials in producing new slabs as you can recycle old and broken pieces in producing new ones by undergoing the same production process.
Size and Thickness of Porcelain Slabs
The common thickness of porcelain slabs is around ff inch (6-mm) to ffl inch (12-mm). Likewise, the largest possible slab size you can buy is around 10 feet x 5 feet.
Aside from kitchen countertops, if you plan to use a material for floor and wall remodeling, buying a large size of granite or quartz can become quite costly. Not to mention, the installation cost of these high-value materials is also expensive.
In order to ease this burden, the best option to have is buying a large size of porcelain slabs. Below are some of the benefits you will have from buying large porcelain slabs.
- Buying a large porcelain slab will save you from numerous grouts and joints which are harder to clean later on.
- There will be lesser noticeable seams.
- You have more cost savings compared to buying more expensive materials.
Easier Installation Process
The common practice when doing kitchen remodeling, particularly on countertops, is ripping off the original material which is costly, time-consuming, and requires much effort.
Fortunately, porcelain slabs have lighter density and thickness which contributes to its versatile installation process. With this material, you do not need to remove the original material of your countertop; you can install porcelain slabs directly on top overlapping the existing material.
All you need to do is cut-out the necessary dimension of the porcelain slab and use an epoxy adhesive in sticking the slab into the countertop surface.
Easier Cleaning Process
Porcelain countertops require low or easy cleaning process. You can use a wet and clean cloth to wipe its surface and some neutral soap solution or cleaner. Just make sure you do not use an abrasive cloth for wiping.
Porcelain Countertop Price
Aside from functionality and aesthetics, the next reason why people are gradually shifting from this material is due to its economical price. The average price of porcelain slabs including installation is between $55 to $120 per square foot.
Meanwhile, the average price of granite and quartz countertops including installation is around $45 to $200 per square foot and $75 to $150 per square foot, respectively.
Consequently, the price of porcelain slab countertops falls between granite and quartz countertops. We believe this is already a good tradeoff for anyone who is looking for quality and economical price.
Edge Styles: Porcelain Countertop
Most colors and patterns in porcelain slabs are present only on the first few layers from the surface. Considering this, the edge style applicable to this material is limited. If you apply edge styles which require deeper tapering, then the colors and designs of the porcelain slab will no longer be there.
In line with this, the best edge style for porcelain slabs is mitered and square edge. These edge styles will only remove a few layers of the porcelain’s surface so there will still be enough pattern and design left for aesthetics.
Installation: Porcelain Countertop
Porcelain slabs have a lesser thickness and lighter density compared to other minerals. This innate characteristic is an essential factor contributing to its unique and versatile installation process.
Using porcelain slabs, you do not need to rip off the existing material of your kitchen countertop. You can just readily install it on top or overlap it with the existing countertop material.
You just need to measure the dimension needed for cut-out and use an epoxy adhesive to glue the slab onto the countertop surface. This versatile installation process considerably removes huge amounts of labor, cost, and time for the customer.
Moveover, there are fewer seams and grouts for this installation process.
How to Clean Porcelain Countertops
The key to a longer life of your countertop is proper cleaning and maintenance. Even if the material displays extreme strength and hardness, still you need to observe proper caution and care to maintain its beautiful features.
Cleaning the surface of a porcelain countertop is straightforward and quick. Here are some of the important cleaning tips you need to observe for porcelain countertops:
You can use neutral liquid soaps or detergents to sanitize its surface. This process will further enhance the sanitary function of porcelain countertops.
1. Make sure to use non-abrasive wipers or cloth in order to avoid scratch marks and reduction of luster.
2. After wiping it first with soap solution, make sure to rinse it off with water and wipe dry with a clean microfiber cloth.
3. For spills, you can just use hot water for cleaning and then wiping it off with a clean cloth.
4. Even though porcelain slabs have enough resistance against acidic liquids, still avoid spilling it off the surface to avoid decreasing its luster.