Porcelain countertops make a stunning addition to any household, though most homeowners choose only to install porcelain fixtures in their bathrooms. However, many Canadians are now beginning to see that porcelain makes for a beautiful kitchen countertop. Porcelain countertops are more than just a trend — they’ve had a long history in European homes, and their demand continues to increase throughout North America.
Why install porcelain instead of more popular choices like granite or laminate? Like any material, porcelain has both advantages and disadvantages, but we believe the pros outweigh the cons, tenfold.
What is Porcelain?
Porcelain is a type of ceramic made from “china clay.” China clay is a heating material rich in kaolinite, a heavy mineral, as well as silica and feldspar. China clay also contains mineral oxides, which provide colour. These materials are bound together and heated in a kiln, where they face temperatures of up to 1400℃. This forging process is what gives porcelain its strength and beautiful translucent finish.
During the forging process, kaolinite-heavy china clay is formed into slabs and coated with a glaze for added strength. In this glaze, the manufacturer might add pigments to make the porcelain slabs appear more like natural stone. Porcelain countertops can be veined to look like marble, or patterned to resemble granite or slate. Alternatively, they can showcase an intricate design or one consistent colour throughout.
Why Use Porcelain Countertops?
Whether you choose to install them in your kitchen or bathroom, porcelain countertops offer many benefits. Here are a few reasons why homeowners love their porcelain countertops:
Colour and Pattern Variety
Countertops must be as stylish as they are durable, and porcelain countertops make a great design choice. Porcelain slabs and tiles can be created in an unlimited number of colours and patterns. Marble-style porcelain, for example, is extremely popular among homeowners. You’ll be sure to find a choice that works seamlessly with the rest of your design theme. Additionally, homeowners need not worry about discoloration, as porcelain is significantly more resilient than other counter materials.
Choose Your Finish
We often connect porcelain to the glossy finish for which it is known. Though this might be the right finish for you, porcelain countertops come in several different finish options, including a muted matte look.
Unlike slabs made of natural stone, porcelain countertops offer a more extensive array of sizes. You can purchase porcelain slabs up to 10’ x 5’, meaning you can cover an entire kitchen island with just one piece. Being able to order larger counter slabs means you’ll get to experience a quicker installation with fewer grout seams, which break up the run of your countertop.
Porcelain is incredibly durable. This hard material is thought to be even stronger than granite. It is beloved by homeowners and builders for its resistance against scratches, chips, cracks, and general wear and tear.
Though there are several thicknesses available, porcelain countertops are typically made to be lightweight, making for a much easier installation process. Installers usually completely replace old countertops with porcelain ones — but in some cases, installers can install thin porcelain slabs over existing countertops to reduce the cost and labour of tearing out the old counter.
While natural stone countertops must be sealed, porcelain already comes with its own protective barrier, thanks to its fired glaze. This glaze makes porcelain countertops waterproof, heat resistant, and much easier to clean. Most cleanup cases only require a damp cloth, but homeowners can rest assured knowing that bleach or heavy ammonia chemicals won’t tarnish or discolour this surface.
Considering Porcelain Countertops for Your Home
Of course, pricing will play a significant role in your decision to install porcelain countertops in your home. They are considerably more expensive than more economical materials like ceramic or laminate. However, if you can afford more high-end materials like granite or marble, porcelain is a choice worth considering.
If you love the idea of marble countertops but are concerned about their easy staining and brittleness, porcelain is a low-maintenance alternative that will provide the same look without any of the downsides.
If you’re in love with the idea of installing porcelain countertops in your home, please contact GenCorp Homes Inc. today for a no obligation quote. We’ll lead you to the very best options and provide a flawless professional install.