Our kitchen renovation took the most amazing step with the addition of our porcelain slab kitchen island… We are loving the style & it’s really starting to feel more like us in this home! :) We took to instagram to show you the finished look and received SO many questions that I thought I’d answer as many as possible here today. Thank you all so much for your interest, I’m really excited to share what we’ve learned so far!
Introduction to Porcelain
A little about this product to start with – Porcelain is a 100% man-made alternative to marble and granite but is often made to look exactly like their natural counterparts with the help of technology embedding an image directly on to it. A large slab can be made to look just like real marble, wood, granite and more. I love that you can find just about any look desired. Porcelain is the new ‘it’ material and for very good reason. Not only is it strong but the price can be 1/4 the cost of real marble. While you can get all kinds of looks with porcelain slabs (solid color, stone, contemporary styles and designs) the pieces that look exactly like marble are the hottest thing in the design world right now. Porcelain slabs replicate stone so beautifully that if you didn’t tell me my porcelain slab wasn’t real, I would have never known. It looks that good! There are many print options out there also which makes selecting porcelain slabs so much fun.
Where does that leave quartz the biggest competitor to Porcelain? Quartz countertops are actually a combination of real quartz and other materials. While they do feature a natural stone.. because they are engineered with other materials they fall under the man-made category.
I found my porcelain slab at a local shop in the Bay area where a friend of mine works. She shared some marble, porcelain and quartz slabs with me and in the end I found exactly what I wanted with the porcelain slab you see in my home today. Kathy helped answer many of questions today and I so appreciate her time. Kathy loves marble so the fact that she helped me select porcelain says a ton about the product. :) (Thank you, Kathy!) Knowing how I like countertops to look and how much Jeff cooks and makes messes.. she convinced me to try the porcelain slab and I’m so grateful that I took her advice. Here is a link to the retailer who makes my piece, the Statuario Michelangelo.
How Does it Compare in Terms of Price?
Porcelain, is a much more affordable option than it’s stone counterparts & you don’t have to sacrifice the look with the new ink jet technology mirroring real stone. Quartz can run almost the same as porcelain but it doesn’t have the same life like image that porcelain is capable of having. Porcelain can be a little more that quartz however because of the fabricator cost. Ask your favorite stone shop who excels in porcelain to make sure you don’t have any issues. We had none! :)
Here is the breakdown…Carrera Marble (the least expensive of marbles) can run around the same cost as some porcelain options. Other marble options can be anywhere from 2- 4 times or more the cost of porcelain. All in all this kind of material is a budget friendly choice in comparison. My porcelain slab ran around $2500 vs the $12,000 I would have had to pay for a real marble slab with the same look. That’s incredible!
How Does it Compare in Terms of Resilience?
Will it react to acids or fats?
Porcelain slabs are nonporous making them extremely safe for food preparation. In my last home we had Carrara marble countertops in our kitchen. Everything looked amazing but you have to take certain precautions to keep it that way. Marble is very porous, so grease and acid can leave stains – to protect our investment we had to use a splatter guard when cooking, we layered a piece of marble under our coffee maker & olive oils, and constantly used placemats & coasters any time we placed anything on the island. If we didn’t follow these practices we would end up with scratches and more. These little life moves have become habit for us after some time and continuing these practices here keeps our home clean, so it hasn’t had much impact on our day to day. However, it’s absolutely something to consider if you’re going from porcelain or quartz to an all natural stone like marble. Especially if you you have kids or you like to host parties.. staying on top of your guests about using coasters and placemats isn’t fun for anyone.
Is it heat Resistant?
Yes! Believe it or not, it can handle a blow torch without issue. :) Or at least that’s what we’ve heard! Jeff loves that he doesn’t have to worry about hot pans on the countertop anymore. Porcelain can be installed inside or outside and is both heat and frost intolerant. Something to consider.. Quartz, however, cannot take anything with high heat placed directly onto it.
Does it Etch or Scratch?
No, porcelain will not etch or scratch. This type of porcelain is very strong when made for slabs. However, it can chip like quartz or marble but it takes a lot with porcelain as it’s very strong. The only time you need to be concerned with chipping when it comes to porcelain for the most part is during the fabrication process so make sure to go with a fabricator who is experienced in using this kind of material. Not all are. As long as you have an experienced fabricator you shouldn’t have any issues. We didn’t. Now with our marble we had lots of etching issues and scratches.
Shop Marble Essentials
How Does it Compare Visually?
Does Porcelain Yellow?
One question I’ve been asked many times is, ‘Does porcelain yellow?’.
Only time will tell, but my friend and stone expert Kathy expects that it will not. It is completely UV resistant so it’s safe in the sun and perfect for the outdoors. In fact, quartz is thought to be more prone to yellowing over time. Kathy has white quartz in her bathroom so she can attest to that. If you’d like to learn more here’s a great article about quartz care.
What Are The Finish Options?
I had a comment that the finish looked very shiny. I prefer this look and had the same reflective style in my last home with my natural marble. If you like a more matte finish you can find porcelain that is honed, just like real stone.
Can You Have a Styled Edge, like Ogee?
Unfortunately no, you can’t curve this kind of material so the only edge option available for it is straight. In my last house, I had something more detailed but I do like the classic clean look of the straight edge as well.
How does it Compare in Terms of Thickness?
Porcelain can be made to look thin or thick depending on where you will be placing it. It’s thinner than real stone and often sold in 12mm or .472 inches thick whereas Quartz is often 2cm or .787 inches thick. This makes Porcelain a great choice for shower walls and backsplashes. You can give porcelain a thicker look on countertops because they can miter the edges just like real stone and can make them as thick/ long as you want. I have a 2″ edge on mine and love it.
What Do You Think?
I hope this answered some of your questions and helped guide you if you’re considering countertops. This post is not sponsored in any way, just my honest feedback. If you have more questions I am happy to answer any comments you leave. If you’d like me to follow up in a few months’ time just let me know in the comments or on Instagram. For more on our kitchen renovation click here. For now, cheers to home improvements!
Thank you for reading :)