While those two materials are impressive in durability though, people often forget about the quiet strength of porcelain countertops. Many may be surprised to hear that porcelain is actually stronger than granite and matches the hardness of quartz, if not more.
What are “porcelain countertops” anyway?
They’re a part of the engineered stone family. Porcelain is made from kaolinite clay baked in extreme heat (1200 – 1400 °C) to harden it into a dense and highly durable material. Impurities such as silica, mineral oxides, and feldspars do exist in the clay. But rather than detract from porcelain’s quality, these impurities only add to porcelain’s strength and colour.
After enduring such high fabrication temperatures, it makes sense that the first pro is heat resistance. A porcelain countertop has no problem at all with handling hot pots and pans directly on its surface.
As mentioned earlier, porcelain is even stronger than the hardiest of granite. What’s more, it surpasses the strength of granite by 30% and does so at a much lower weight. Porcelain’s tough structure also makes it scratch-resistant. You can slice and dice food right on the countertop without worrying about your knives damaging the surface. Maybe stay away from cleaving meat directly on the counter though.
It’s also impervious to water. According to the Tile Council of North America, porcelain’s water absorption has to be less than 0.5% to pass the strict ASTM C373 materials test. So, you don’t have to stress too much about wiping spills on the counter the moment they occur.
Besides being very low-maintenance in keeping clean, it’s also non-porous and stain-resistant. That’s music to a countertop owner’s ears because it means no sealing work is ever required.
A major advantage that porcelain has over quartz is that it won’t get discoloured by direct and prolonged sunlight. What a relief that is when you can design your kitchen countertop layout free from worries about where the windows are.
As porcelain is an engineered stone, patterns and colours can be added during the fabrication process for the final product. You can get a porcelain countertop with a solid colour. Or if you want, you can get one with a marble-mimicking surface. Then you can achieve the look of marble at many times its durability.
Finally, to top it all off, one of the big plusses of porcelain is its greenness. It’s nice to know you can recycle the material one day far off in the future when it’s time for it to go.
How is it possible for there to even be any cons for porcelain countertops? There really isn’t a whole lot. If we really had to dig though, one of the cons would be that it will crack under blunt force. It’s strong, but not that strong. As long as you don’t take a hammer or a meat cleaver to it though, it’ll be fine.
There are also limited countertop edge profile options for porcelain – you pretty much only get a choice of square or mitered edge. Since porcelain countertops are thinner than other materials, a mitered edge is a good choice to give the illusion of a thicker slab.
Price is a consideration as well. The countertop fabrication process is always a lot trickier working with high-density materials. However, porcelain is comparatively cheaper than granite, marble, and quartz. So if your budget can handle those materials at the top range, porcelain is definitely affordable.
What’s neat about porcelain countertops is their light weight allows them to be installed in one slab right on top of your existing counter. That’s a huge cost-saving factor there because you don’t have to demolish the old counter at all. Are you won over yet? Give us a call for a piece of this versatile countertop material!