Porcelain and natural stone are both extremely versatile materials that can be used for a number of both domestic and commercial purposes. Porcelain’s dense and impervious nature makes it suitable for tiling and it’s commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms and even patios across the world. Natural stones raw elegance and longevity make it a perfect addition to household design.
So what are the key differences between these materials, how can they be used and are there any drawbacks? Learn this and more in our essential guide below.
Porcelain is formed from a combination of clay, kaolin, feldspar, silica and quartz. Occasionally other fusible materials are added to give different visual effects. Together they form a body of white clay. This is then fired at extremely high temperatures (usually above 1260 degrees centigrade)
Porcelain is then customarily glazed to achieve the desired surface effect.
The result is an extraordinarily durable material which is resistant to frost, chemical damage, abrasion and almost totally impervious to water.
Porcelain is an incredibly versatile material, and can be used almost anywhere. It’s tough nature and water resistance make it perfect for heavy use, damp spaces such as bathroom floors, family kitchens or hallways. It can also be used to great effect outdoors as patio areas or even pathways.
Different porcelain finishes mean that they can be designed to suit whichever environment you have in mind:
When considering buying a porcelain product it’s important to first understand the key benefits to the material.
Natural stone slabs are formed from a pure stone type, quarried from the earth. This material refers to a number of popular local and imported stone varieties, all which bring specific qualities and aesthetics. Common natural stone options are:
A common confusion for those dealing with tiles is mixing up porcelain with ceramics. In fact, the industry often use terms interchangeably - so what exactly is the difference?
In a lot of ways, porcelain is best considered as a close cousin of ceramic. They are formed slightly differently and behave individually once installed - but the key difference is that porcelain is far more impervious than ceramic.
Ceramic is made by firing white or red clay and then coating it with a durable glaze. It provides a hard, durable surface, but is not as solid as porcelain. As such, ceramic products are more easily hand cut to fit specific areas and can be more affordable. However, they tend to absorb water and are not frost resistant. This means they should be reserved for indoor use, whether they are unlikely to come into contact with too much moisture and temperature fluctuation.
Porcelain tiles, on the other hand are fired at much higher temperatures than ceramic. They also tend to be produced from a finer and denser material. Altogether this makes them stronger and more damage resistant than any other form of tile base. Porcelain tiles almost total imperviousness to water and moisture make them suitable for almost any domestic and commercial application, be it indoors or outdoors, along with many commercial settings.
Though porcelain doesn’t require too much upkeep, giving tiles a fairly regular brush up can keep them looking spectacular for years to come.
A quick clean can be done every couple of weeks, depending on use. To do this you can use a broom, vacuum, mop or a combination of both. Note that slightly soapy water is usually best for clearing spills.
A deeper clean is needed much less regularly to keep the areas hygienic. This can be done with a mop and a solution of vinegar mixed with water (¼ cup of white vinegar with a liter of warm water). Scrubbing the floor with this mixture will remove any stubborn dirt and also sanitise the surface. Once you have mopped the area, make sure to flush it with fresh water to get rid of any residue. You should then leave it to air dry. For more information about cleaning porcelain or natural stone check out the links provided.
At Skheme we offer a great range of high quality porcelain slabs and tiles suitable for any building or home. To learn more about our products, get in touch with our expert team today.