Porcelain countertops — they have become a mainstay in the world of countertop options. Their versatility, ease, and ability to mimic many types of materials such as stone, marble, metals, fabric, or even wood have made them a go-to option for professional contractors and home remodelers.
Part of the engineered stone group, porcelain is a durable material made from kaolinite clay baked in high heat, which then gets hardened and becomes the very tough material you see and feel. While similar to quartz countertops, porcelain countertops also have some pretty unique qualities, including being scratch-proof and stain resistant!
Why all the Fuss over Porcelain?
Well, for one thing it is very low-maintenance and easy to clean. It’s also impenetrable to water and very resilient, which makes it the perfect material to use both indoors and outdoors. No sealant is required, and it is very easy to integrate into sinks and cooktops.
Porcelain is a great option for those who love to cook and make a mess in the kitchen, since it is pretty resistant to cracking and chipping. In fact, it’s so durable that it’s actually much stronger than granite!
Because porcelain is man-made, you can also find the patterns and colors you’re looking for. If something happens during installation, you should be able to match it for a consistent look. It is also a very sustainable material — it can be recycled.
A Few Tips on Using Porcelain
While porcelain might be a very durable material, it is important to handle it in a certain way. Because porcelain isn’t as thick as granite or marble, it is very delicate. It is almost like handling a giant piece of tile. Corner edges can get very fragile during fabrication. Hire a contractor who is used to working with all types of materials; if they’re not used to working with porcelain they may not realize that entire pieces can crack during fabrication and installation. This material requires precision during cutting to avoid cracks.
The resale value on porcelain slab is not quite as high as granite and quartz, but with the versatility it offers and its increasing popularity in the home, it is becoming a strong contender in the luxury countertops industry.
Here are a couple of luxury porcelain brands to consider:
MSI Stone: Based in Orange, California, the company was founded in 1975 and imports over 46,000 containers a year, managing an inventory of over 125 million square feet.
Florim Stone: This Italian company has been specializing in the production of porcelain stoneware ceramic surfaces for over 50 years for a wide variety of architecture, building, and interior design needs.
Wilsonart: Founded by Ralph Wilson Sr, a pioneer in the laminate industry, Wilsonart operates over a dozen brands and manufactures in 16 locations worldwide, including North America, the UK, France, Germany, China, Thailand, and Australia. Their engineered surfaces can be found in retail, hospitality, healthcare, and other institutional spaces.
SapienStone: Crafted from ceramic clays and mineral colorings, SapienStone is the first brand of technical porcelain designed specifically for kitchen use, both in the home and commercially. They are a division of the Iris Ceramic Group, based in Italy. They pride themselves on their resistance to chemicals, stains and scratching.
Porcelanosa: In business over 40 years, they are based in Castellon, Spain. They have been operating in the United States for 30 years and have been a trend-setter in manufacturing porcelain tiles, standing out for their creative design, quality, and technology.
Antolini: Starting from a small workshop in Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella, Italy in 1920, the company has grown in leaps and bounds, leading the charge in natural stone processing.
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