Up and Coming GTA Design
Trend: Porcelain Slabs
Porcelain is a new trend for home decorating. For years,
people have used porcelain tiles for floors and showers. But a recent trend
makes use of slabs of this durable clay for counter tops, backsplashes, shower
floors and bath tub accents. Kitchen islands use porcelain slabs in creative
and modern designs. When selecting porcelain slabs, Toronto buyers have a wide
selection of designs and features in their tool box!
Porcelain is forged from natural clay. Heated at extremely
high temperatures in a thermally insulated chamber called a kiln, porcelain is
baked or "fired” with glass and other natural minerals to create dramatic and
striking designs. With this manufacturing process, porcelain is one of the most
durable materials available for home use. Its make-up is very dense, and as
such, can be used for both residential and commercial uses.
This natural material comes with a sort of guarantee to
reassure buyers they are getting the real deal. When clay reaches a particular
rate of permeability (or rate of water absorption), it is considered porcelain.
This specific rate is 0.5% water absorption. This makes porcelain slabs very
beneficial in home construction uses where water use is a consideration. Porcelain
is a type of ceramic clay, although the nomenclature confuses consumers.
Ceramic describes a broad range of clay slabs and tiles, including
non-porcelain and porcelain. The non-porcelain types are simply referred to as
ceramics – porcelain is held in a class of its own. There are different ratings
of durability put in place by the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) to help
consumers choose appropriately for their use. Manufacturers use these ratings
with their products. These classes include:
- Class 0 – no foot traffic – wall tile only,
should not be used on floors
- Class 1 – very light traffic – bare or stocking
feet, little foot traffic
- Class 2 – light traffic – slippers or soft
shoes, used for bathrooms and bedrooms
- Class 3 – light to moderate traffic –
residential areas with the exception of kitchens and hallways
- Class 4 – moderate to heavy traffic – high foot
traffic, abrasive areas or where outdoor dirt can be tracked in, like a
kitchen, balcony or countertop
- Class 5 – heavy traffic – ceramic or
non-porcelain is suggested for high traffic areas as opposed to porcelain and
usually meant for commercial and institutional floors subjected to very heavy
traffic, such as schools, hospitals,
offices, store sales floors, etc.
Porcelain requires lower
compared to natural stone alternatives. Keep the floor
swept and free of dirt and debris. This prevents damages to the finish of the
tile or to any grout surrounding the slab. Use door mats in entranceways to
trap dirt and debris from being kicked along the slab. Surfaces exposed to
water will need caulking to prevent damage. Be mindful of minerals in tap
water. These can cause discolouration of the tiles, so avoid using an overly
wet mop on the floor. It is not necessary to seal porcelain slabs or tiles, as
is necessary with granite, marble or other natural stones that are exposed to
every day wear and tear.
This new design trend of Porcelain slabs offer a variety of
benefits to GTA homeowners, including low-cost versus natural stone options.
Understanding the benefits will help buyers select the right porcelain slab for
their needs and will offer a lifetime of satisfaction once the final product is
in place and completed!