What Is Porcelain?
Known for its strength and durability, porcelain is a fine-grained material made mainly from China clay, also known as Kaolin. It is generally manufactured by mixing other materials, such as quartz and feldspar, under a temperature of more than 1400 degrees Celsius. It is a translucent material with nearly waterproof properties rendering it suitable for several applications.
Porcelain has been used for centuries in the production of a wide range of items, including fine China dinnerware, decorative figurines, kitchen countertops, bathroom fixtures like sinks and toilets, and even electrical insulators. Its white or off-white colour, smooth texture, and ability to take on unique shapes make it a popular choice for both functional and decorative objects.
Is Porcelain a Suitable Countertop Material?
Porcelain is a strong and durable material with high scratch and temperature resistance. It is a non-porous material and does not let water seep through or absorb. Moreover, it is known for its elegant and posh looks, augmenting the aesthetics of the space. All these properties make it a highly suitable choice for kitchen or bathroom worktops.
If you are renovating your house or constructing a new house, and you are stuck on the decision for countertops, we have described the pros and cons of porcelain countertops.
Advantages of Porcelain Countertops
Probably the biggest advantage of porcelain is that it is a highly resistant and durable material overall. Whether it is heat scratch, water, or accidental chemical spills, porcelain provides sufficient resistance against all the elements.
Moreover, porcelain is an extremely strong material and can even rival some natural stones in hardness and strength.
Being one of the most manufactured materials for countertops, porcelain provides endless design and colour opportunities. A simple adjustment in mineral composition can produce different colours, patterns and finishes of the porcelain. You can also add different glazes to introduce different appearances of the final product.
Porcelain features thinner slabs compared to some natural stone slabs, making it a lightweight material compared to other alternatives. This also decreases the efforts and complexity required to transport and install these countertops.
Porcelain is manufactured using extremely high temperatures, which provides it with high heat-resistant characteristics. This feature makes them highly suitable for kitchen countertops where you have to deal with hot pans and pots.
Porcelain is waterproof and cannot let the water absorb or seep through it. That is why it is an extremely popular material for countertops and bathroom fittings.
Owing to its hardness, durability and scratch resistance, porcelain requires extremely low maintenance throughout its life span. This makes it a cost-effective material for countertops.
Colours and Patterns
Porcelain offers a wide range of colours and patterns depending upon the manufacturer and the pigments added to it during the manufacturing process. You can select whatever colour you want that suits your theme of interior design.
Disadvantages of Porcelain Countertops
The extreme hardness of porcelain can sometimes go against it, too. Porcelain is a brittle material and can crack under a blunt force such as a hammer or meat cleaver.
Low Edge Options
Porcelain, unfortunately, does not offer much of edging options. You cannot make it round or do an elaborate edgework on it. Mostly seen porcelain countertops are square or rectangular shaped with chiselled edges.
Moderate Life Span
Unlike natural stone, porcelain is highly unlikely to last for decades due to its fragility. It can, however, last for up to two decades and you will require replacing it after that.
Low Return on Investment
Porcelain, although with many high-end qualities, is not considered a preferred countertop material for kitchens and offices. That is why it is highly unlikely that the porcelain will add to the value of your house.
What Is the Cost of Porcelain Countertops?
The cost of porcelain countertops depends upon a few factors, such as:
- Type of the countertop (slab or tile)
- Location of countertop installation
- Type of finish you want
- Labour requirements for installation
- The edge profile that you select
Depending upon the aforementioned factors, a porcelain countertop can take around £55-£120 per square foot.
Some Final Thoughts
While porcelain comes with durability, low maintenance, water- and stain-resistance, and numerous design options, it can be expensive, brittle, heavy, and slippery, with a difficult installation process. Considering the pros and cons, it’s on you to decide what factors you desire and what you can compromise on before you make the final decision.