Porcelain countertops have been popular in Europe for years, but it wasn’t until recently that they began gaining popularity among Americans seeking a unique, stylish surface.
Porcelain countertops are beautiful and extremely durable option for your kitchen. Laminam offers of multitude of colors and patterns to satisfy most any customer’s requirements. The marble looking porcelain slabs are very realistic, because they were created by ink-jet imprints of real marble slabs.
WHAT ARE PORCELAIN COUNTERTOPS
Porcelain countertops use porcelain slabs – Laminam. They are from non-porous ceramic clay that contains various minerals, such as kaolinite and silica. As with all porcelain products, the material is baked in temperatures ranging from about 2200-2650 Fahrenheit. These extremely high temperatures produce a durable countertop material that is resistant to scratching, cracking, UV light, heat, stains and etching. Porcelain slabs are manufactured in 6mm, 12mm and 200 mm thickness and variety of sizes. Usual countertop material is 10ft x 6ft.
Porcelain slab material is extremely durable. They are resistant to scratching and cracking. You may cut directly on your porcelain slab.
Porosity & Acid Sensitivity
Porcelain slabs are non-porous, and do not acid etch. They do not absorb liquids and will not stain from oil, pigmented liquids and household acids such as lemon, wine, vinegar etc. In fact, Laminam recommends mixing dough and salads directly on your to, after good cleaning. They are good alternative for customers who like marble colors but do not want to face the challenge of maintaining marble countertops. Laminam offers a variety of attractive and realistic marble patterns and colors, which coupled with extreme durability and minimal maintenance, make for the perfect marble alternative for your kitchen. They are the ideal countertop for the enthusiastic cook, where aesthetics is coupled with incredible durability. Also, porcelain countertops are very hygienic, no pores to harbor bacteria and easy cleaning.
Heat & UV Light Resistance.
Porcelain slab material was made under extremely high temperatures – about 2200-2650 Fahrenheit. They are completely heat resistant – you may comfortably set hot pans and pots directly on your countertop surface, it will not be damaged by heat. It is a great advantage over quartz countertops which can take heat only up to 300 Fahrenheit. Granite is heat resistant but setting hot pans directly on the surface is not recommended. While the heat will not damage the granite, it may damage the resin, used to finish the surface of the granite
UV light resistance is a unique feature of porcelain slabs and great advantage over quartz. Porcelain slabs do not change color under UV light, their color remains consistent over time. Quartz on the other hand will change color if placed directly in UV light – expect the more vibrant colors to pale over time.
Freeze/ Thaw Cycle Resistance
Porcelain is highly resistant to the rigors of the freeze thaw cycle. Unlike some natural stone, such as marble, limestone, travertine and quartz, porcelain slabs can be used for exterior applications in freezing climates.
PORCELAIN COUNTERTOPS AS A KITCHEN DESIGN OPTION
Porcelain slabs are manufactured in a variety of colors and pattens. They offer beautiful and realistic marble colors, since the pattern is achieved by ink-jet imprint of a real marble slab photo over the surface of the porcelain slab. The colors and patterns on porcelain countertops are achieved by adding pigments (known as “glaze”) to the surface. These pigments can make the surface resemble everything from marble to wood and even steel. However, unlike quartz and natural stone the colors and patterns of porcelain countertops are only surface-deep, so you will not see the vein when you coss-cut the slab. Porcelain slabs are usually much thinner than other countertop material – 12mm. For the most part the lack of veining in the 12 mm cross section of the slab is not prominent enough to matter. In case that is important, or if a thicker
You don’t have as many finish options for porcelain countertops as you do with natural stone. There are still options, though, two of the most popular being high-gloss glaze and matte. Regardless of which finish is chosen, it gets baked on during the manufacturing process.
With porcelain countertops, you only have two edge options: square or mitered. Because the material is so thin, manufacturers will often create a mitered edge to give it a thicker look. Other countertop materials, like natural stone and quartz give you a much greater range of choice as far as edges go.
Porcelain Countertops Cost
As far as comparisons to other materials go, porcelain countertops cost within a reasonable range. Surfaces like natural stone and quartz can cost even more while offering less regarding ease and use of durability.
Porcelain Countertop Care & Maintenance
Porcelain countertops require minimal care, just wash with soap and water and enjoy for years to come
PORCELAIN COUNTERTOPS PROS &CONS
So far, we’ve explored porcelain countertops from a few different angles. Now, let’s neatly lay out the pros and cons.
- the porcelain used to create countertops is very durable and essentially scratch-proof as well as heat-proof
- similarly, porcelain countertops are very stain-resistant; unlike porous materials such as granite or quartzite, liquids and even chemicals will not penetrate porcelain easily
- porcelain countertops are resistant to UV light, making them popular for outdoor kitchens
- you don’t have to continually seal porcelain countertops as you do with other materials like quartzite; they are very low maintenance
- They are affordable.
- the patterns on porcelain countertops are only surface-deep; they do not extend through the full body of the slab, meaning that they tend to lack depth
- porcelain countertops tend to be very thin and do and offer limited edge options, which sometimes necessitates as mitered edges to make them appear more substantial
PORCELAIN VS QUARTZ
We’ve loosely compared porcelain countertops to the quartz variety a few times now. Now, let’s delve into some more pointed analysis of why quartz is the better material for modern kitchens.
Appearance & Style
- Because of the ink-jet technology used porcelain has realistic looking marble colors, while quartz look somewhat fake
- The pattern in porcelain is only is only surface deep and can achieve depth only with miter edge. The vein in quartz is dimensional and allow for variety of edges
- While both quartz and porcelain offer a durable, low maintenance option for your kitchen, there are a few differences between them.
- Both surfaces are hard and durable, however porcelain is harder, you can cut with a knife on a porcelain surface.
- Both surfaces are non-porous and acid resistant. Also, very hygienic, because of the low porosity.
- Both surfaces are relatively heat resistant, however quartz is heat resistant only up to 300 Fahrenheit – so hot pots and pans will damage it. Porcelain, on the other hand was formed by baking at temperature higher than 2200 Fahrenheit, it is completely heat resistant and you can comfortably place hot pans on the surface.
- Freeze/Thaw effect. While quartz cannot withstand the freeze/ thaw cycle and is not recommended for outdoors kitchens, porcelain is durable in exterior application in any climate.
- UV light resistance – quartz counters will change color after time if placed in direct light (by the window?). Porcelain is completely UV light resistant.
- Quartz is on an average more expensive than porcelain, however sometimes that difference can be almost evened by the higher fabrication costs for porcelain. Both materials add to your home value
Both materials offer a beautiful and very durable countertop option for the average kitchen. However, porcelain seems to be superior in abrasion resistance, heat resistance, freeze/thaw resistance and UV light resistance.
Please note that the information on this page is a general summary of industry-accepted standards and tips regarding natural stone considerations, applications and care. We have compiled this information to help you in your stone selection and care. MGSI is not involved in geological testing and has no formal proof of the information presented in the article and relies on industry wide information and standards. MGSI will not be responsible for any direct or indirect claims and damages, resulting from the improper application and/or interpretation of this information. Please note that natural stone varies substantially. Ask your stone specialist what works best for your project