Hello, readers! Welcome back to the Stonehouse Countertops blog! We’re pleased you’ve chosen Stonehouse Countertops for everything you need to know about custom countertop materials. We provide comprehensive deep dives into various aspects of the design and installation process, as well as helpful tips for choosing the best material for your home. Our goal is to equip you with the information you need to commission the perfect countertops! Stonehouse Countertops carries an array of granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, silestone, limestone, travertine, onyx, glass, sodalite, slate, and porcelain materials in its inventory. In addition to countertops, we offer fireplace surrounds, patios, floors, and walls. Whatever your design goals, we’re happy to help you achieve your unique vision!

In our last post, we talked about how to care for quartz countertops. Quartz is a popular choice for countertops because it is extremely durable and requires little maintenance. It is also one of the few stones that do not require regular sealing or waxing. However, if you want to keep your quartz countertops looking their absolute best, you’ll still want to care for them. If you are interested in learning more about how to care for and clean your quartz countertops, we encourage you to check out our last blog post!

Today, we’ll be continuing our All About series– a set of articles that aim to shine a spotlight on the unique attributes of various stone materials. So far, we’ve discussed marble, granite, quartz, soapstone, limestone, travertine, and onyx! Each of these stones is beautiful and unique, so we encourage you to read about them all and see what they have to offer! For today’s post, we’ll be shining the spotlight on porcelain. Porcelain tiles are man-made, rather than natural– But they are often made to mimic natural stone. If you are interested in learning more about porcelain, you’re in the right place. Let’s get right to it!

It may surprise some to learn that porcelain is not actually stone, but rather a ceramic material made from a mixture of powdered china stone and white china clay, called kaolin. This mixture is heated at about 1450 degrees Celsius– That’s 2642 degrees Fahrenheit! It was first produced in China, in a primitive form during the Tang dynasty in the years 618 to 907. However, the porcelain as we know it today was developed during the Yuan dynasty from 1279 to 1368. 

Porcelain is a great choice for countertops because it is strong and durable. It ranks an estimated 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it even more durable than granite, which is rated at 6. It is resistant to cracks, chips, scratches, and even heat. Since porcelain is created using intense heat, it makes sense that it is pretty heat resistant. This means that hot pots and pans can be placed on porcelain without the worry of discoloration or other damage! Additionally, porcelain is resistant to direct sunlight. This means that while some types of stone can become discolored or warped due to exposure to UV rays, porcelain will not. Being UV-resistant gives porcelain a great advantage over many other types of stone! 

Another great thing about porcelain is that it is non-porous, which means that it does not absorb liquids. This is great news for kitchen countertops, where spills are almost inevitable. With porcelain countertops, you do not have to worry about staining from pigmented liquids or acids like lemon, wine, or vinegar. Of course, you should always clean up spills as soon as possible on any surface because no surface is 100% stain-proof, but with porcelain, you really do not have to rush. Porcelain is also generally clean– It won’t harbor bacteria, mold, or other food-borne pathogens. Another perk is that after going through the fabrication and installation processes, porcelain does not need to be sealed or resealed in the future.

Because porcelain is so durable, non-porous, and resistant to UV rays, it makes a great choice for outdoor use as well. For example, if you are interested in building an outdoor kitchen, or you are looking for a material for tiles on a walkway or patio, porcelain is the perfect choice. Additionally, porcelain is pretty much weather-resistant. Since it does not absorb water, it will not crack during cold weather. It won’t fade or become discolored in the sunlight, and high temperatures will not affect it. Porcelain can work well in virtually any climate! With a matte finish, porcelain can be pretty slip-resistant as well– This means it can work great around a swimming pool! Therefore, with its strength and resistance to natural sunlight, porcelain used in outdoor settings will look good as new for years to come. 

As for the look of porcelain, it can be generated in a variety of colors and patterns. Perhaps the most popular look of a porcelain slab is white with dark gray or black veins– This closely resembles marble. However, marble is porous, meaning it is prone to staining, and it is not scratch resistant. Marble is also pretty high-maintenance and requires routine care to keep it looking its best. Because of these factors, porcelain is a great option for anyone who wants the look of marble without the hassle. Since porcelain is an engineered stone, colors and patterns can be added to the slab during the fabrication process. This means that you can likely get porcelain in a larger variety of shades than some other stones, or have it mimic the appearance of other materials and still have it look natural– The possibilities are virtually endless! 

When it comes to a finish on your porcelain countertops, you can get them glazed or unglazed. This really comes down to your personal preference– Do you prefer matte or glossy countertops? However, we do want to note that one benefit of a glazed finish is that it makes it even harder to stain the countertop, and it increases durability!

The cost of porcelain may just be one of its best features– It tends to be cheaper than other materials such as granite, marble, and quartz. Considering that you can get a porcelain slap to mimic the appearance of other materials, this can be a great option if you want to get the look of a specific stone without the extra cost.

One possible drawback to porcelain countertops is that because the patterns or design are essentially “printed” on top of the slab, the pattern will not be visible on the edges where they are rounded. Additionally, if the countertop were to chip, the pattern does not exist all the way through the material. This means that chips may be more noticeable.

As mentioned previously, porcelain is generally low-maintenance– It does not require any extra work or specific cleaning products. In fact, porcelain is one of the easiest surfaces to keep clean. With that being said, a basic wiping down of porcelain countertops can typically be done with a simple paper towel and some water. A soft, microfiber cloth would also be sufficient. Most people tend to wipe down their countertops at least once daily, typically after they are done cooking. This will absolutely work with porcelain, as well. Even though porcelain is non-porous and does not harbor bacteria, bacteria can still linger on the surface, so you’ll want to be sure to wipe it down before preparing food. For more routine cleaning, you can use warm water mixed with a mild soap. As with any stone, we recommend avoiding harsh and abrasive cleaners to ensure your porcelain stays looking its best. 

We hope you found this article informative and that you consider porcelain for your future build or remodel! We encourage you to check out our live inventory for further inspiration. We provide all types of granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, silestone, limestone, travertine, onyx, glass, sodalite, slate, and porcelain slabs. If you’re thinking about the installation of stone for kitchen countertops or any other stone surface, remember: At Stonehouse Countertops, we are willing and able to work with you to your specifications. Not only do we offer a wide variety of materials, but we always have someone on hand to answer your questions! Don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation or for help forming a plan. We want to ensure your vision becomes a reality! Be sure to come back for upcoming articles! Until next time—thanks for reading!