Can Porcelain Be Used for Countertops?
That question is becoming more popular with fabricators, designers, and homeowners. The question is an interesting one since many tend to think of porcelain as a material used for other applications. However, as we’ll see in this article, the characteristics of porcelain make it useful for many purposes. But can porcelain be used for countertops?
What Is Porcelain?
before we get into discussing whether porcelain is an option for a countertop material, let’s briefly explore what porcelain is.
Porcelain is a material that results from putting clay materials through a process called “sintering”. This process involves extreme heat that transforms the raw minerals used in the process into a material that we know as porcelain. Porcelain has some very specific characteristics that make it a very versatile material. What are some characteristics of porcelain?
People often talk about porcelain as if it where a glass material. Perhaps this is because is has translucent properties like those of glass. Porcelain also is very hard like glass. In addition to hardness and translucence, porcelain is available in a variety of colors.
However, porcelain is more durable than glass and is a very different material in the sense that it is becoming more prominent is its architectural and design applications. Let’s look at some uses for this intriguing material.
Uses for Porcelain
Porcelain is continuing to adapt to the trends in architecture. This material realizes more and more uses in various applications. For example, wall cladding is often times made from this resilient material. Building facades and flooring for both interior and exterior areas are other uses for porcelain. But how about using porcelain for countertops? Is this a practical use for porcelain?
Porcelain for Countertops & Worktops
It is easy to understand why you might not think of porcelain as a countertop surface material at first. After all, for years, even decades, this material has been used for other applications. The fact that those uses have been featured so prominently in home furnishings makes it easy to think of porcelain as a material used for dinnerware, sinks, tubs, toilets etc. Yet, porcelain is rapidly becoming the choice for practical surfaces; even countertops.
Advances in technology and an evolving market are growing porcelain into a very desirable choice for kitchen countertops and worktops in residential, commercial, and even industrial projects. More companies like Crossville are offering large format tiles and even slabs that are closer to the thicknesses of natural stone counterparts such as granite, quartz, and marble. This means that it is easier for designers to incorporate this material into the design process. But, what are the benefits to using porcelain as a countertop surface?
Benefits of Porcelain Surfaces
The advantages of selecting porcelain for a countertop surface are very appealing to designers and architects alike. One benefit to choosing porcelain for countertops is that it is extremely resistant to heat. In fact, porcelain is the result of very high temperatures acting on raw materials. As a result, the material is highly heat resistant. This is an advantage that porcelain has over other materials that are frequently used for countertop and worktop surfaces like quartz or solid surfaces. But that is not the only benefit to selecting porcelain.
Another benefit to using porcelain as a countertop material is that it is easy to care for. Porcelain needs no sealant to protect it from penetrating liquids. Liquids stay on the surface of the counter and are not absorbed by the material. This is because porcelain is non-porous. Thus, porcelain is stain resistant.
Finally, a controlled process produces porcelain. So manufacturers are able to create slabs that resemble the elegant, natural beauty of other materials. One example of this is natural marble. Porcelain that looks like marble just sounds like a desirable product. Why? Because for all its beauty, marble brings with it care and maintenance requirements that make it challenging for some. And although they would love to have marble countertops, some pass on using it because of the care requirements associated with marble.
What about the installation process? Are there specific requirements for installing porcelain? Let’s look into that question next.
Installing Porcelain Counters
For the most part, installing porcelain surfaces is a lot like installing other countertop surfaces. Fabricators with specifically designed equipment cut the slab, shape the surface based on a template, and install sink and faucet fixtures. The tools are one difference. For example, fabricating porcelain countertops calls for a bridge saw blade designed to cut porcelain. And other tooling is important as well. For cutting faucets and fixture holes, you might need to look for a core bit for porcelain. There are also some best practices that fabricators follow when working and installing porcelain countertops. SO, if you are a do-it-yourselfer, be sure to take the time to read up on the best practices for working with porcelain countertops.
Caring for Porcelain Countertops
The benefits of choosing porcelain as a countertop surface exist long after making the selection. The care and maintenance of porcelain is one such benefit.
As we mentioned earlier, porcelain is very stain resistant. However, it is easy to remove dried on substances because porcelain is receptive to a number of cleaners. Just take a bit of time to educate yourself on how to clean porcelain and follow the instructions of the cleaner manufacturer’s label.
All in all porcelain is a versatile, resilient, and beautiful material that is becoming more popular for a number of applications; including porcelain countertops. The porcelain countertop market continues to evolve. Hence, you will no doubt see a great deal of new and interesting colors, patterns, and sizes of this extraordinary material.