Pros and Cons of Porcelain Countertops
Pros and Cons of Porcelain Countertops
Porcelain countertops have become increasingly popular in recent years. Many homeowners consider them to be durable, affordable, and easy to maintain. But before you install porcelain countertops in your home, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of this material. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what porcelain has to offer and how we recommend using it.
What Is Porcelain?
The term porcelain refers to a variety of manufactured ceramic products. They’re mainly composed of kaolin clay, silica, and other minerals like feldspar. When heated to certain temperatures in a kiln, these compounds bind together, harden considerably, and develop glass-like qualities. The final product is nearly impervious to heat, stains, scratches, and UV rays. Many porcelain products also feature glazes that produce a matte or glossy finish.
Pros of Porcelain Countertops
Porcelain can be an incredibly versatile countertop material for homeowners. Not only is it non-porous, which makes it highly stain-resistant, but it also comes in a wide range of colors, patterns, and finishes. Plus, it can be cut into just about any size, shape, or thickness needed for almost any interior design. Many homeowners welcome the consistency this affordable, manufactured material can bring to their countertops.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of porcelain countertops is their all-around resistance. Since porcelain is non-porous, it absorbs little to no water and holds up well against most tough stains. This makes it quite convenient in busy households with frequent sticky or acidic spills. Porcelain also resists etching from a wide variety of harsh chemicals, as well as most scratches from everyday use. Some high-quality porcelain can even rival the hardness of natural stones like granite.
2. Design Flexibility
As with most manufactured countertop materials, porcelain offers nearly endless opportunities for shaping and customization. Distinct colors, shades, and finishes can all be produced simply by adjusting its mineral composition. Manufacturers can also apply various glazes to affect the product’s final appearance. Some of the most beautiful porcelains can look just like an expensive marble or quartzite for a fraction of the cost.
Porcelain countertops tend to feature thin slabs. They generally range from ¼ to ½ inch in thickness, which makes them much more lightweight than thick slabs of natural stone. This can sometimes reduce the amount of labor needed during the installation process. Some porcelain countertops can even be laid directly over existing laminate or plywood counters without the need for much demolition.
Cons of Porcelain Countertops
While porcelain certainly has its selling points, there are a few downsides to consider. For instance, it can be vulnerable to damage from blunt force from falling objects. It’s also fragile during installation, and skilled porcelain installers are rare in the United States because they require specialized equipment and training. Finally, porcelain countertops feature limited edge options compared to natural stone.
Porcelain’s hardness can sometimes work against it. While it may be durable enough for everyday use, its surface is rigid and brittle. Forceful drops onto a porcelain countertop are likely to produce cracks, chips, and sharp edges. Unlike natural stones such as granite, quartzite, or soapstone, porcelain chips are rarely able to be repaired and remain beautiful. To regain its beauty and flawless appearance, the entire countertop often needs to be replaced.
2. Few Edge Options
Another drawback of porcelain countertops is their lack of edge options. Sadly, they simply can’t accommodate beveled, rounded, or elaborate edgework. The edges most often seen on porcelain countertops are eased (square), apron (2-3 inches thick) and mitered (waterfall). If you’re looking for particular types of countertop edges like bullnose, ogee, or chiseled, then we recommend choosing a natural stone instead of porcelain.
3. Poor Value
The dubious ROI of porcelain is another potential downside. The truth is porcelain is rarely considered a high-end countertop material. You’re unlikely to find it in many new homes, luxury hotels, or corporate headquarters. When it comes to countertops, we often recommend natural stone over porcelain for most applications.
When to Use Porcelain
We do recommend using porcelain for specific aspects of design and functionality. For example, it makes a beautiful wall-surround for a clawfoot bathtub. Porcelain can also compliment many quartz and natural stones as a seamless, grout-free backsplash that expands behind the hood and sink all the way to the ceiling. Our favorite applications for porcelain slabs are floor-to-ceiling fireplaces. The slab patterns and designs are sure to draw a crowd to any of these gathering spaces in your home.
Ask Us about Porcelain Applications
We’re Nebraska’s go-to countertop specialists. If you’re interested in porcelain, granite, or quartz countertops in Lincoln, Omaha, and surrounding areas, then please feel free to visit our showroom or contact us online. We look forward to answering any questions you may have about the most popular countertop materials on the market today.