Porcelain benchtops are fast taking over the world of kitchen design. Engineered and Natural stones have long been the go-to option for every kitchen benchtop however, all that seems about to change with the ever growing popularity and availability of porcelain benchtops. Read on to find out more about the many qualities of porcelain benchtops.
What are the benefits of Porcelain Benchtops?
Porcelain benchtops offer many advantages that you simply cannot find with any other material (for a more in depth comparison of benchtop materials, click here to read our Benchtop Buying Guide).
- High Density + Low Porosity: Porcelain sheets offer a high density and extremely low porosity work surface, a very hygienic option for a kitchen benchtop
- Highly heat resistant: Porcelain tops can withstand temperatures of up to 300⁰ C
- Stain resistant and easy to keep clean depending on your selected finish. Some porcelain benchtop manufacturers such as Dekton provide their colour range in an assortment of finishes, from ultra high gloss to smooth matt.
- Scratch resistant: Thanks to the high density surface, your porcelain benchtop is highly scratch resistant
- Fade resistant: Porcelain tops are the only benchtop products that are warrantied for outdoor use in direct sunlight and completely exposed to the elements
- Can be used to clad internal and external walls, as well as joinery
- Concrete replica porcelain tops look astonishingly close to the real thing
What are the drawbacks of Porcelain Benchtops?
- Porcelain tops must always be cut and installed by specially trained Stonemasons
- High cost: Porcelain benchtops fall into the higher end of the pricing scale, well over the cost of stone. This is due to the high material costs as well as the added labour costs involved as the material is quite difficult to work with
- There is only a limited range of colours currently available in Australia however, with the product’s growing popularity, we do believe porcelain benchtop manufacturers will soon include many more colours and finishes in their catalogue
- Chips can occur in thinner porcelain benchtops: We recommend sticking to a thickness of 12mm or more when using porcelain as a benchtop. This will minimise the risk of chips occurring along the edges.
- Certain colours show seams when mitred – Colours with a flowing pattern will show a solid colour line along the mitred edge as the pattern does not penetrate right through the porcelain but is actually printed on the surface. We recommend either opting for a single slab benchtop with no mitred edges or selecting a solid colour where seams will not be visible
- Natural stone replicas, such as marble-look porcelain tops are not an effective substitute to the real thing. You will not experience the same translucent qualities of natural stones or their engineered stone counterparts
Where can I use porcelain sheets?
Porcelain sheets can be used all around the home and even the outdoors: Dekton for example, is one of the only manufactured products available that is warrantied for use in direct sunlight while also being exposed to the elements.
Porcelain can be used as a floor finish, kitchen, bathroom or laundry benchtop as well as internal and external wall cladding. Do keep in mind that working with large porcelain sheets in any application can increase the cost of labour involved in your project. It is also safe to use as a fireplace surround or hearth as well as a splashback directly behind a gas cooktop – Porcelain of course, meets the Australian Standards in relation to a gas burner’s proximity to combustible surfaces.
What brands are available in Australia?
There are a few key brands to investigate that are currently available in Australia, each with its own range of colours, thicknesses and slab sizes:
- Dekton: a unique blend of quartz, glass and porcelain, Dekton is perhaps the most durable porcelain product available, and is available in a variety of thicknesses ranging from 8mm – 30mm.
- Neolith: A porcelain sheet product, available in 8mm, 6mm and 12mm thicknesses. Neolith has an excellent collection of industrial colours and finishes available.
- Quantum 6+: A porcelain sheet product by WK Stone (who also bring us Quantum Quartz engineered stone), which is relatively new to the market. 12mm thick sheets appropriate for benchtops will be released in early 2017.