If you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen or moving into a new home, then porcelain is worth investigating. You most likely already have porcelain someplace in your home, but porcelain countertops are recently trending. They may not be the preferred choice in most kitchens right now, but their popularity is growing.
Porcelain countertops have been used in Europe for a long time, but this style of benchtop has only lately acquired popularity worldwide. The trend is expected to continue because this benchtop material has various advantages but also a few disadvantages to consider.
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What is porcelain made of?
Porcelain is essentially created out of clay, but not just any clay. Porcelain clay, also known as China clay, includes a high amount of a mineral called kaolinite, as well as silica, feldspar, and other mineral oxides, all of which contribute to the strength and durability of porcelain.
This combination is fired at exceptionally high temperatures in a kiln. As a result, the material is extremely dense and practically immune to stains, heat, UV radiation, scratches, chipping, and cracks.
Pigmented glazes are applied to the porcelain slab to create various colors and patterns during the production process.
You have the option of having glazed or unglazed porcelain. After applying a matte or high-gloss glaze (with or without a design), the piece is fired a second time to ensure that the glaze completely adheres. The glaze reduces porosity and chances of discoloration, boosts durability, and gives the surface a lustrous sheen.
But, glazed porcelain just has a surface pattern and does not go all the way through the slab or tile. If the surface is damaged, the internal color may be different and will show. The hue of unglazed porcelain carries through the entire thickness of the body.
Options for coloring, style, and installation
Porcelain benchtops are available in a variety of colors, depending on the manufacturer. They are all made from natural pigments. There’s also a large range of appealing designs to choose from. Those looking for marble-like countertops are in luck, as porcelain comes in a variety of colors and patterns that closely resemble marble.
Here at Avant Stone, we have more than 20 pieces to choose from. You can go for marble, elemental, stone, or color finishes, which all appear very natural.
Remember that because the pattern and color are placed to the top surface of the porcelain by glazing, these patterns or color designs will not necessarily go all the way through the material if chipped.
During the production process, smooth or textured finishes are easily created. The most prevalent finishes are high-gloss polished and matte/honed.
When compared to other benchtop materials, porcelain countertop edges are a little different. Standard edges, such as round, beveled, straight, and more can be created, but there are higher chances they might not appeal to you. Porcelain edge styles are more limited than natural stone or quartz since the patterns are just skin-deep. The pattern can be removed by cutting a fancy edge with rounded corners, bevels, and grooves. Porcelain benchtop edges can be mitered in a variety of ways to keep a uniform pattern over the edge. A majority of people like square edges.
Another benefit to a porcelain benchtop is that it can be installed directly over existing counters. This can drastically minimize the time and cost of removing the older material. Having your old kitchen countertops pulled out is an additional cost of installing new kitchen countertops. However, because porcelain countertops are so thin, it’s easier and more efficient to install them directly on top.
But it may be tough to locate a fabricator. Due to the thinness of porcelain, full-sized slabs can be difficult to work with and cut, and finding a countertop fabricator prepared to install porcelain slab countertops can be difficult.
How to care for your Porcelain Benchtop?
These are some ways you can take care of your stone benchtop:
Using a good benchtop cleaner will clean away all the oils and dirt, leaving a brilliance that water and soap won’t match. To clean up spills and messes, use only hot water. Soap and water work well for quick clean-ups, yet frequent use of soap will result in soap scum accumulation. Porcelain is sanitary and non-porous. As long as you clean up properly, nothing can penetrate the surface or cause damage. Cleaning regularly is the best barrier against bacteria and other contaminants.
Because the non-porous surface will not absorb the harmful chemicals, harsher solutions can be used to clear difficult surface stains on these countertops. Hazardous substances, on the other hand, should not be used and should be avoided. In most circumstances, scrubbing using the countertop cleanser mentioned above would be enough.
Chip repair kits are available to fill the void in porcelain chips, however, the fixes may still be visible. Because the color penetrates the slab, the color inside the chip will match the color on the surface, but any pattern will not. A crack in solid-color porcelain or on a portion of the countertop without a pattern can be filled and nearly completely hidden, but a crack in the middle of a design will almost surely be apparent. It’s difficult to repair cracks and scuffs.
A crack could be glued, but it will always be visible. A scratch is the same way because the surface finish cannot be healed. Chips, cracks, and scratches, on the other hand, are uncommon.
Although porcelain countertops are quite durable, you should keep in mind that they are not indestructible. Although manufacturers and dealers will tell you that you can cut and slice your vegetables directly on porcelain, this is not a smart idea. Ceramic knives have the potential to scratch porcelain’s surface. As a result, cutting and slicing on a cutting board is a wise choice.
Porcelain does not usually need to be coated because its glazing protects it against liquid penetration. Specific brands of porcelain, as well as unglazed porcelain, will benefit from sealing before use. For certain polished porcelain brands, however, sealing once during installation is a good idea. So, sealing isn’t always necessary, but it’s something to keep in mind when buying porcelain.