Porcelain is a type of ceramic material that is made from a mixture of kaolin (a type of white clay), feldspar, and quartz. These materials are finely ground and then shaped into the desired form, before being fired at high temperatures (typically around 1300-1400°C) to create a hard, dense, and non-porous material.
What has emerged from the tile scene – especially from factories in Spain, Italy and Tennessee – are oversized porcelain slabs that look like granite, marble, wood, linen or just about any other natural material you could want – with none of their maintenance issues or usage restrictions.
Like competitive quartz and solid surface (e.g., ) materials, porcelain slab tops are nonporous, so they’re a safe and healthy option for food preparation. Unlike those two materials, however, porcelain can be installed outside and is both heat- and frost-tolerant for homes across the country.
Porcelain is an extremely hard surface that isn’t prone to the etching, staining and other damage that daily household life can inflict on natural marble, but it can be manufactured with comparable beauty, thanks to ink jet production technologies. Unlike marble (or granite), however, each porcelain slab is uniform, so you don’t have to take time off from work to visit a stone yard to choose your remodeling project’s slabs. If you’re opting for a marble look – which is one of the most popular porcelain styles in use for both kitchens and bathrooms right now – you’ll be able to continue a vein across a wide wall or cabinet bank with book matched slabs for a traditional upscale look.
“One of the best things about porcelain is that it can be used everywhere,” says designer Kelly. “It is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms with its stain, heat and water resistance. It is also perfect for outdoor applications and eliminates the worry of sun damage, as it is completely UV resistant.