Porcelain is a beautiful material that’s been around for centuries. It was originally created in China and has evolved into the surface material it is today. Porcelain countertops are an excellent option for your kitchen because they’re smooth, durable, and look great! In this blog post, we will discuss what porcelain is-and isn’t-what its benefits are when compared to other surfaces like granite or https://www.tampagranitecountertops.com/contact-us/, and more!

Porcelain is fairly new to our market area here in Tampa and new domestically in the United States. It’s a material that has not yet the same wide use, but as I said in Europe, it’s been used for quite some time. What we’re talking about are two materials; one is porcelain and the other is sintered stone. For the casual observer looking at these materials, you’ll find that they have a lot of similar characteristics. The differences really have more to do with the manufacturing process. But what’s important here for you as a homeowner is to consider what material you want to use for your kitchen countertops, bathroom vanity tops, or shower walls. What material options do you have? Then the porcelain and sintered stone become two possibilities that are worth looking at and that’s the goal of writing that blog to introduce them to you, talk about why they may be of interest or should be considered. We will get into some of the details and allow you to understand some of the applications.

One of the things you note right away, we mentioned porcelain, sintered stone, and they are surfaces for life because truly the characteristics of these materials are such that they can be the last surface you install. The only reason you might change it is you are bored with the design or if something’s changed and you want to change the layout of your kitchen or your bathroom but in terms of material where and the potential for staining and other issues that might prompt someone to replace these surfaces eventually you’ll find that this material won’t do that. That’s the exciting part of this, it looks great, it functions very well, It’s easy to maintain and you can have this surface as long as you care to have it. It’s not going to wear out. It’s going to look as good as it did on the day you put it in for many years to come.

Porcelain: Heat-resistant and Flexible

One of the features of this material is unique is that this material can handle high heat. In fact, one of our suppliers has an induction heating element, which generates heat, even though you won’t see it. It’s generating heat on the surface that it’s directly mounted to. In this particular case, you could have an induction heating unit mounted right on the surface, right underneath the surface of this material, and it could serve as your cooktop. They showed this again in this trade show where they’re cooking on the surface, and it was looking like it’s an extension of the countertop. What they’re trying to show is that we can apply direct heat to this, and it’s not going to hurt it. For example, natural stone will hold up to heat, quartz is not heat resistant, but this is a material that you could put a hot pot on and it’s not going to harm it. All there’s no risk of damaging the material.

The other aspect of this is using harsher chemical cleaning agents. If you think about a restaurant, food service business, the fact that they want to make sure everything’s disinfected, that they may apply harsher chemicals and you might apply at home and certainly the surface don’t want that, it is going to react to that but these materials of porcelain and sintered stone can handle, can stand up to most of these cleaning agents, most of cleaning agents will can be used without any problem.

AGS Stone

Credit: Showplace Cabinetry

Limitless Design Opportunities

From a design standpoint, is also great for someone like us that it’s working with the homeowner to come up with a unique design concept for their home, or if we’re working with a business for their business, the idea that we can take these surfaces in different thicknesses and applying them not only to the countertops but also to the face of the cabinetry. We can also do it on the flooring. That’s a very unique look and again, we could take that and apply some color and pattern to your countertop, to your cabinetry face that you see here to the floor or walls. Also, this could be applied to your backsplash, in your kitchen, instead of doing tile, you could do a full-height backsplash out of this material. That could be a very dramatic look. This is also something quite unique, is that in addition to being resistant, sustaining to chemical, harsher chemicals, to heat, it’s also UV resistant. Also, either surface material could be used in an application to building facades, hotel facades, or storefronts. It’s easily maintained, and again, it’ll last for a lifetime. As long as the building stands on, this material will look. Also, countertop has two important features that make it unique;

  • Not all materials are UV resistant, for instance, quartz, it is a very popular material for the last decade and we do a lot with it, but like every material, it does have some limitations. Until we get to these materials, these are unique materials. In this particular case with porcelain and sintered stone, there are very few limitations, which makes it an impressive material to work with.
  • The other aspect is that it’s environmentally friendly, it’s 100% recyclable. There’s nothing in that material that can’t be reintroduced to the environment. It’s also leed certified, which in the building industry is becoming more and more important, and that stands for leadership in energy and environmental design. Sustainable design is essentially what we’re pointing to as a company, it seems like we’re going to see more thoughts going into creating sustainable designs, whether it be in your home or a business. That’s certainly the direction that we’re all heading in, to preserve our planet. 

Is porcelain good for kitchen countertops?

What we’re seeing the most here right now is our kitchen countertops and the material comes in and when you look at the material, if you come in and see us, you’ll see that material comes in and three thick thicknesses and what you’re going to see here are two of the three. It comes in what’s essentially a six-millimeter thickness, we’ll call it roughly a quarter inch. It’s not exactly that, but it gives you some idea of how thick that material would be and then the 12 millimeters, which is going to be closer to half an inch. Then now they’re producing it in a thicker version, which is actually a two-centimeter or roughly, getting very close to what we’re more familiar with here in inches, about three-quarters of an inch and it does come in different thicknesses. When it comes to kitchen countertops if you have a contemporary home the half-inch or the 12-millimeter thickness may look great with a contemporary design. If you’re more transitional, traditional then you may want to go for a miter surface where we actually build it up so that it’s approximately 2. 5 inches thick, and it gives you the look of a thick block of stone on your cabinet tops and it’s a very impressive look, you’ll see these monitored surfaces here, and we’ve done a number of them, that’s an area especially for us, is doing the monitoring. Then in terms of, once you pick the material, whatever you’re going with, whether it’s the 12 millimeters or the surface is going to hold up extremely well. Because it’s not going to be harmed by heat, it’s going to be very scratch resistant. You can use just about anything to clean it. Life tends to wear things, and this is one of those surfaces where you’re going to have to work hard to do anything that’s going to take away from its appearance currently. If you drop some heavy object on it, then there’s always the possibility that you could ship it, that’s true of natural stone. But that’s the way most homeowners are going to use their surfaces. We don’t run into a lot of those kinds of issues, because most people just take some adequate precautions in terms of what they’re doing with the surface, as long as you’re not taking something and hammering away at the surface. 

How does the warranty work on porcelain countertops?

It is going to vary by manufacturer. Some manufacturers have a 10-year warranty, and it does vary. So 10 years is certainly a common warranty period. But to be honest, warranties are helpful early on more than in the long term. Because what’s going to happen over the long term is if something is going on in the countertop, it’s very unlikely that it’s going to reveal itself years after it was installed. If it’s something that was done that is outside the parameters that the manufacturers stipulated in their warranty, it’s not going to be covered and so warranties are critical in the early days when it’s installed and defective, defects don’t typically show up. Later, they show up early. The same thing holds through for installation. We warranty our installations for five years, and what can happen with installation is let’s say, it seems it opens up if there’s a seam required somewhere, possibly your sink under-mount sinks separate from the countertop. Those are the kinds of things that can happen, and some of those reveal themselves fairly quickly. Sink separation is an example of an installation problem, not a material problem, and that could happen later on. We do warranty our work for five years, and if you don’t take shortcuts and you follow industry-accepted practices and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in terms of mounting sinks and how we fabricate, install the material, the countertop material. If you follow those instructions, there aren’t going to be any problems. But we always stand behind our work and our clients. We’re always on the phone, and we’re always here to support them or try to find a way through the problem if we can.

How Can You Select the Countertop Material?

The best way to select just the right countertop for your kitchen is to come and visit our showroom! We have an 18,000-foot square space, in which we display our individual countertop slabs for selection. We also have an engineered material gallery, where we display quartz and porcelain products. We have plenty of slabs on-site, as well as additional slabs that we can’t keep in our stock. We have a natural stone gallery, where we display quartz, granite, and marble. We only have so much space, despite our warehouse being so large! There are plenty of other options available that you may not see on site. You can visit the sites of our many wholesalers as our guest, to view additional selections. We’d love to help you hand-pick your new countertops, and are happy to spend time discussing the pros and cons of each surface in great detail.

About AGS Stone

We’re a business located in Tampa, we are a family-owned business. We’ve been in business for 10 years.  We are specialists in kitchen and bath design and remodeling, we like to focus attention on the very front end of the process. Meaning where you come in to see us we’re not trying to sell you anything, what we’re trying to do is to understand what you’re trying to do and see if we can help you, kind of coalesced your thoughts, define what your vision for this space is going to be, and then see if we can work together to come up with a solution that’s going to get you there, meets your budget criteria possible or conclude that it can’t be coming up. Hopefully challenging you a little bit when it comes to design, giving some ideas that maybe you have not thought about. At the end of it we want to make sure that you’ve got some options and you can kind of factor those into your decision making.

We’ve got an 18,000 square foot facility in Tampa, we have a lot to show you. In our showroom, we have vignettes with displays of a lot of these materials. We do it all in kitchens, we have cabinetry along with countertops and in tile and in some of the wall cladding that we’ve done in porcelain plumbing, almost anything and everything that you are going to put into your kitchen or bathroom space that we can help you with. When it comes to actually performing the work, if you would like us to be able to handle this project with you from start to finish, from the design phase through to completion, we do that so you can consider us a scalable resource that can assist you and all aspects of the project with the goal.