SEN Design Expands Educational Access

SEN Design Expands Educational Access

CHARLOTTE, NC — SEN Design Group, the Charlotte, NC-based kitchen and bath industry buying group and business education resource, has revamped its membership structure to increase access to business education opportunities for industry professionals, the organization announced.

“Under our previous structure, the majority of our educational opportunities were add-on expenses for our members, but we wanted to make sure our members had access to as much educational content as they wanted without added expense, so we have updated our membership structure to provide this much-needed resource at a minimal monthly investment,” said Catherine Daugherty, director of membership at SEN Design Group.

SEN Design Group will now offer three tiers of membership with differing benefits based on the member’s specific needs:

Associate Membership includes basic access to industry-specific business and sales education opportunities; this level is targeted for industry firms and independent designers who may not want to participate in a buying group or attend semi-annual conferences.

Signature U Membership includes increased access to industry-specific business and sales education opportunities, as well as access to SEN Design Group’s purchasing power and networking community.

Executive U Membership ($399 per month) includes everything in the Signature U Membership with additional benefits for industry leaders, such as dealer roundtables, a business development manual, personal profiling assessments for better hiring and communication, maximum quarterly rebates and more.

Additional details are available at

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LX Hausys Unveils New Brand Identities

LX Hausys Unveils New Brand Identities

CHICAGO — LX Hausys America Inc. unveiled new brand identities for its  HIMACS Solid Surface and Viatera Quartz Surface brands, and a new brand identity for its resilient floorcovering line of products, HFLOR, at the recently held NeoCon. The new brand identities reflect the company’s name change this summer from LG Hausys America to LX Hausys America.

The new name is a result of the company’s position within the recently established LX Holdings Corp. The holding company is a globally diversified organization recently spun off from LG Group, the South Korean multinational conglomerate best known for its advanced consumer electronics.

Concurrent with the name change, the company introduced a new logo. It pays homage to the company’s roots, looks to the future and embodies the organization’s management philosophy: “Link to a sustainable future.” Of significance, the “X” within the LX Hausys logo is intersected with an ascending diagonal line, which is a visual representation of the company accelerating into the future, notes the firm.

An ascending diagonal line is now found within each brand logo. This subtle design treatment creates a unified look between the company and its three brands, the company continues. It also ensures the company’s mission for creating a more sustainable future is consistently visually represented across its portfolio of brands.

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DPHA Names 2021 Award Winners

DPHA Names 2021 Award Winners

AUSTIN, TX — The Decorative Plumbing and Hardware Association has named its 2021 DPHA Professional of the Year Award Winners, the Bethesda, MD-based trade association announced.

The winners, who were cited at the DPHA’s recent 20th Anniversary Conference and Product Showcase in Austin, include:

Customer Service Department of the Year: Waterstone Faucets, Murrieta, CA.Manufacturing Professional of the Year: Bruce Reidel, Mountain Plumbing, Irving, TX.Representative Agency of the Year: Excel Marketing, Boise City, ID.Representative Professional of the Year: Kory Nelson, Premier Decorative Group, San Ramon, CA.Showroom Professional of the Year: Joshua Moss, Advance Plumbing Company, Detroit, MI.Showroom of the Year: Ultra Design Center, Denver, CO.

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Thermador Cites Student Design Winners

Thermador Cites Student Design Winners

IRVINE, CA — Thermador, the Irvine, CA-based luxury home appliance brand, has announced the inaugural student recipients of the company’s “Diversity in Design Pipeline” initiative, launched this year to empower a new generation of talent from underrepresented communities.

The Thermador Diversity in Design Pipeline Initiative, created in partnership with the Interior Design Society, was designed to support students in their senior year at an accredited interior design program to aid the transition into a successful, burgeoning career. The program was informed by a survey commissioned by Thermador that found mentorship and financial support to be the greatest obstacles for students of under-represented backgrounds to become professional designers.

The winning students include Aleah Mazyck of UNC Greensboro, Kayla Martin of California State University, Raquel Rodrigues of Texas Tech University, Jonathan Martin of the University of Northern Iowa and Chrystal McLeod of Georgia Southern University.

“Thermador is honored at the opportunity to work with these talented students as part of our brand’s commitment to opening more pathways for underrepresented communities in interior design,” said Beatriz Sandoval, head of brand marketing for Thermador.

The mentorship program pairs students and mentors who will meet monthly to discuss the essential and tangible skills needed to be successful in the world of design. Students also receive $10,000 toward tuition and a student membership with IDS, Thermador said.

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Designer Crafts Thoughtful Brand

Designer Crafts Thoughtful Brand

Salisbury, NC — When Sara Lee started her design business in Salisbury, North Carolina, she knew just what to name it – SISU Home Designs. “SISU is personal to me,” says Lee. “It is a word used by my grandmother and mother of Finnish and Norwegian heritage. In one word, it embodies determination, potential, grit, freedom, courage, preparedness, strength, community and heart.” She adds, “In the business of design, there is inherent potential for what is possible.”

This inherent potential of design has, according to Lee, always been part of what drives her. “I always enjoyed setting up rooms and drawing house plans, even as a child,” she says. “Design school was a natural decision, and I specifically fell in love with kitchen and bath design. There is so much technicality, plus creativity. It’s problem-solving, communicating and wonderfully challenging.”

Branding a journey

Like most in the industry, Lee worked her way up from the bottom. “My first opportunity was with a large cabinet manufacturer, and I worked in marketing and sales, drawing plans for nationwide Lowe’s store displays and ‘The New American Home’ projects.” After a subsequent stint with a small dealer in order to gain more sales experience, she moved to Washington, DC to get a feel for the luxury market at a high-end showroom.

“A move to North Carolina in 2013 gave me new opportunities to serve a uniquely southern clientele,” she continues. “I thrived and felt a new confidence for what I could do for people and their spaces.”

When it came time to hang out her own shingle, Lee was careful to take her personal journey in the industry into account, working with an expert to create a cohesive narrative across all her digital channels.

“The branding [for SISU] was created by a lovely woman in London – we had much communication about who I am and what SISU represents,” she says. “The brand experience engages the senses and imagination through a visual narrative that is timeless, elegant and full of intentional detail – a visual identity that speaks with poetry and textural appeal to communicate inherent possibility and expertise.”

She adds, “Consistency is important. The brand carries over into social media and, I believe, sets a standard of credibility.” The Instagram presence of SISU in particular features a balance of crisp, beautifully staged project imagery, personal touches and anecdotes and graphics featuring the company’s sprouting plant-inspired logo.

New growth

Like the little sprout featured in SISU’s logo, Lee cultivates her client relationships carefully. “I get to know my clients through many meetings, calls and even texts,” she notes. “I have the privilege of going into people’s homes, and that requires trust, and I honor that. Our welcome packet actually goes over the entire process from beginning consultation to photoshoot day! It gives my clients a nice road map of what will happen over the course of the next few months.”

Looking ahead to the new year, Lee anticipates growth for her business. “Plans for 2022: I would love to hire some help and continue moving toward having a fantastic showroom.”

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Creating an Elegant Waterfront Dream

Creating an Elegant Waterfront Dream

Hicksville, NY —Sometimes, some of the best projects start with a complex story. Such was the case with this recent renovation, which involved a tear down and rebuild of the Northport, NY home sited on the shores of Long Island Sound.

The homeowner and builder (Jato Builders) had visited several firms looking for a collaborative kitchen designer who could help bring to fruition the client’s vision for an elegant residence with a coastal design vibe.

“She’s very particular and she just wasn’t making a connection with anyone,” recalls Ellen Lopez, CMKBD/founder/principal designer, EL Design Studio, in Hicksville, NY. “That’s when I received a phone call from a friend and fellow designer who asked if I would be interested in the project. The homeowner came to my studio and we hit it off immediately.”

Focus on the Waterfront

One of the challenges in finding the right designer was finding someone who could navigate the challenges associated with the relatively large space and the homeowner’s wishes. Specifically, she wanted a kitchen that was unique – i.e., nothing ‘cookie cutter’ – with a functional layout. She also wanted a focus on the waterfront and elegant materials and finishes – including those that would play off of the reflective and shimmery chandelier she had already selected to float above the adjacent eating area.

Lopez’s client wanted a design that included elegant materials and finishes – including those that would play off of the reflective and shimmery chandelier she had already selected to float above the adjacent eating area. The breathtaking vista of the Long Island Sound played a significant role in the kitchen’s design.

“The whole design concept actually started with the light fixture,” she says. “We wanted to keep everything elegant to live up to it, yet keep it toned down a bit so it wouldn’t be overpowering.”

The breathtaking vista of the Long Island Sound also played a significant role in the design.

“The view is the focal point,” she relates, adding that the home’s location is very peaceful and serene. “We didn’t want to detract from it.”

To accommodate, a wall of windows and patio doors with transoms and arched mullions stretch the length of the kitchen and into the adjacent dining room. The color palette and material selection also pay homage to the view.

“We wanted to bring the North Shore of Long Island’s color palette into the house, which we achieved with a variety of materials and wood tones,” Lopez explains. The resulting mix of soft, natural tones is accentuated with a perfect balance of accent colors to provide definition and detail.

For example, Cambria Skara Brae quartz countertops and accent walls, which are tucked behind wooden floating shelves, feature dramatic earth-toned veins set against a bone white background that draw the eye around the room and capture the ebb and flow of the water beyond the windows. Its light and dark tones are repeated in the custom EL Design Studio cabinetry, which is accented with Rocky Mountain Hardware and walnut interiors. The former color tone is represented by the perimeter cabinets and the latter is echoed in the island, which is sheathed in a custom finish that reflects the colors and textures of rocks and pebbles outside. To visually minimize its large dimension, Lopez topped the island with a combination of quartz and custom-figured maple. The wood, from Grothouse, is stained dark and rich to add elegance, depth and strength.

“In a sense, the combination of materials tricks the eye,” she states, adding that elevating the wood eases the transition between the surfaces and gives the wood an impressive and stately appearance. “I didn’t want just one giant piece of stone. Instead, the mix of materials, and the light versus dark, is more interesting and inviting.”

Lopez incorporated plenty of seating, a prep sink and the Thermador range into the island. Hovering above, the ventilation hood – built collectively by Birchcraft Kitchens and Grothouse – also includes antiqued mirrors that reflect the water.

The Importance of Work Flow

Because Lopez’s client loves to cook, creating a functional layout was critical…and challenging, given the fact that she had an extensive appliance wish list that included two wall ovens and a 36″ range, two dishwashers, a microwave drawer and a built-in coffee machine. Plus, she wanted a walk-in pantry with entry provided from within the kitchen.

Lopez accented the pantry door with antiqued mirrors to add interest. Plus, the mirror offers a reflection of the water. Inside, the designer included several unexpected details, including glass/wire mesh upper cabinets, open shelves and a wood countertop.

“It took three iterations to find the perfect layout that established a good work flow in an aesthetically pleasing space,” she indicates.

With one wall dedicated to the view, and therefore unavailable for wall or tall cabinetry, the designer focused on creating rhythm and flow with a small work triangle consisting of the Kohler Whitehaven Cashmere farmhouse sink and Thermador range and refrigerator. Tucked within is the Miele coffee machine and a Thermador microwave drawer.

A separate Thermador column freezer is a few steps away on the opposite side of the arched entrance into the great room. Turning the corner, Lopez placed two additional ovens. Across from another arched entrance, this time into the formal dining room, she included a television, countertop with additional storage and the entrance into the hidden pantry, which sits behind the wall. To add interest, Lopez accented the door with antiqued mirrors.

“I created the entry to look like a tall cabinet, rather than a door,” she explains. “Plus, the mirror offers a reflection of the water so everyone, including those seated at the nearby banquette with their backs to the window, can see the view.”

Inside the pantry, Lopez included several unexpected details, including glass/wire mesh upper cabinets, open shelves and another Grothouse wood countertop.

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Manufacturers Examine Supply Stresses

Manufacturers Examine Supply Stresses

The DPH manufacturer concentrates on quality product and superior customer service. We are expected to provide both at competitive prices and with as little friction as possible, and I would say, most of us do. However, as we’ve witnessed the ‘Amazoning’ of the marketplace, amplified by a pandemic world, DPH manufacturers are fighting to maintain stability between logical expectations and ‘the Amazon effect.’ While we all appreciate the convenience of an Amazon marketplace, not all products can be treated equally. Unlike some other industries, hardware, plumbing, appliances and lighting often have specific shipping, installation and service needs.

Manufacturers are often viewed simply as marketers and salespeople, but as you may have seen when visiting a factory, manufacturing is a multi-faceted and complex business. Manufacturers in the U.S. and around the world are more tightly bound together through raw materials, labor and freight than may appear from a finished product.


Raw Materials: These are tied to industries as varied as oil and microchips. Most can be, and are, sourced nationally, but some must be sourced internationally. The flow of these products is regulated by countries, politics and commerce vagaries all around the world. In a normal year, price increases are expected and applied where necessary. In a COVID year, price increases have been compounded by national and worldwide slowdowns in supply, and increases are reflecting the upheaval.

Ben Alliker of HamatUSA explains, “2020 was not kind to many parts of the construction industry, mainly due to increased demand and decreased supply. Appliances and lumber both faced an initial crunch, and appliances remain on short supply and long lead times. For many DPH manufacturers, it was a mixed bag. Kitchen products, unlike a shower valve or new freestanding tub filler, don’t require an extensive remodel project. It’s relatively easy to install a new kitchen sink and faucet into an existing kitchen. Because of a huge number of people staying home across the world, and the relative ease of installation, HamatUSA saw a huge spike in demand over the summer and into the fall for kitchen sinks and faucets – both in the U.S. and in foreign markets.”

Production and Inventory: For manufacturers, this is handled in a wide variety of ways. That is to say some manufacturers work on a made-to-order, just-in-time basis with very little inventory, while others continually produce and maintain large inventories. There are pros and cons to both, but both take deft skills to balance output with demand and costs with profit.

Freight Costs: Costs associated with shipping have skyrocketed. The freight industry has been working throughout the pandemic, putting themselves at risk, but also realizing their undeniable necessity to the buying public. Their charges are reflecting their increased importance. ‘Fuel surcharges’ have become more common. Most DPH manufacturers have decided to keep freight rates as stable as possible, absorb many increases and/or set free freight levels.


Returns and Restocks: There is no easy fix for returns and restocks, which have become a flash point. We know, stuff happens. We all want to make these transactions as painless as possible. However, returns in our segment are not as easy as logging on and printing off a return label or simply scanning a QR code. Returns and restocks are expensive for everyone and cannot be ‘solved’ by simply raising prices to try and speed up the process. The customer changed their mind? It happens. But a faucet, toilet, steam unit, drain or tub cannot simply be Rambo-taped back into its packaging and dropped off. Return transport, reception and inspection, repair (if necessary), repacking (if possible) and return to inventory are only a few of the things that need to happen to a return. But, let’s be honest. We all know that a consumer wants a new product, so reselling product is difficult and frowned upon. What can be done with returned goods in our industry? How many ways are there to reduce, reuse, recycle? Manufacturers are often caught in a difficult position to satisfy consumers even when issues are not manufacturing related.

“Absorbing the costs associated with returns would most likely come with a price increase,” says Barbara Kratus of Infinity Drain. “Ultimately, it’s the consumer who will pay for it in the end, whether it’s Prime delivery or no-questions-asked returns – just as they do now on Amazon or any other online retailer where it’s baked into the price.”

Harris Wattles of Amba Products adds, “Re-stock fees are put into place for a variety of reasons, and a price increase simply to help offset a reduction/elimination of restock fees is not the answer to the problem. Increasing our prices for this reason will only make it harder to compete with other brands, especially the low-cost companies that you frequently see on Amazon, further eroding a company’s image while likely pricing our products out of the market.”

Labor Costs: In manufacturing, these are more competitive than ever. Recruiting, hiring and retaining the best people at every position is not exclusively difficult to showrooms or agencies. Most jobs in DPH manufacturing are not on assembly lines, but rather require trade training or artistic skill.

“Production facilities (during COVID) had less time/resources available for new product production. As responsible suppliers, we had to initiate protocols to keep production teams safe and healthy,” Alliker explains. “That universally meant less people in the factory at one time, and different production schedules, and thus decreased production capacity. We have seen COVID-related delays to the supply chain for new components as they also deal with COVID realities.”

Service: This is the other main component to successful manufacturing. We all remember bad service when we encounter it, and good service doesn’t always get recognized but is expected at all levels. Good service can be a simple smiling voice or a clear instruction about how to turn something on and off. Good service to a consumer can be slowly walking through how to operate a control, or good service can become bad service by not changing out that same control, that is working properly, because the user doesn’t like how the control operates. There is a fine line between the customer always being right and easy, on-site solutions.

Labor Costs: These are now jungle competitive in the field. Skilled tradespeople have never been as busy as they are now. Product support for warranty issues or installation inspections is a critical component in the overall experience of a product offering. Your warranty can be 100 years, but if you can’t get a professional to a job site, it’s not worth much. And we are all dependent upon how professional and experienced the tradesperson working with us can be during the initial installation or follow up servicing.

“I think products that incorporate tech could inspire young people to enter the trades,” says Kratus. “There are incredible innovations in building materials! We have to tout that at all levels of the building process.”

Patrick Weidl of ThermaSol adds, “ThermaSol, like many of us, is reliant on two trades – plumbers and electricians – to install the products. Have their expectations changed? Yes, absolutely. To meet those expectations, we introduced virtual trainings as it relates to product knowledge, installation and general 101s.”

The web runs the world. It would be an understatement to say that the web has gotten us through a lot this past year and we have all learned new angles to using it. It has become indispensable to our everyday lives. You can order a car, a boat, a diamond necklace, your groceries, birdfeed, a towel bar or a potty, all from the phone in your hand.

But as we all know, the web is a catch-22 for everyone selling product, any product, around the world. Amazon and similar companies ruled the web pre-COVID but now all companies have improved their online presence either as a seller or simply as a store window showing off their skills and products. Today, if your store front isn’t well represented on the web, your brick and mortar isn’t going to get the attention it deserves.We’ve all become accustomed to checking out a product or business on the web before we head out to see it. A web search can be simply to see what kind of COVID protocols are in place or to actually see if the product you want is on display or to read reviews of that product or business. 

Web views and reviews are, without a doubt, a crucial component to the future of business.We’ve seen how reviews shape the perception of a product or company and how reviewers, paid and unpaid, can affect mom and pop start-ups, large corporations and government agencies, to name a few. The world watches and reads what everyone has to say about a product whether what is being said is true or valuable. They can literally make or break a business. So, we ask, should we raise our prices to be more ‘Amazon-like’?

It’s been a challenging time for all, but the future of construction and renovation is bright, and we are hopeful.

Kimberly Frechette is the national sales manager at Americh Corporation. She has worked in manufacturing, distribution and sales in the bathroom segment for 30 years. Frechette has been involved with DPHA for 18 years and is a returning Board member.

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Top Tips for Renovating Your Kitchen during COVID-19

Top Tips for Renovating Your Kitchen during COVID-19

The last 18 months have been incredibly tough for everyone. As the pandemic took hold, we have all had to spend more time at home. For a lot of homeowners, this has highlighted the need for a bit of a revamp through the property, and renovating the kitchen is one of the most common requirements.

However, upgrading your kitchen is a big task, and as demand has increased, it has meant many contractors are now incredibly busy. This demand has also created a shortage of raw materials, which means remodeling your kitchen in northern Virginia can be a costly project.

This shortage has meant building materials and kitchen appliances are costing higher than normal. This means homeowners could now be looking at anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000, depending on the size and materials used. The majority of this cost will likely be split between cabinets and appliances.

Work with a proven contractor

While it can be a big investment, one of the biggest regrets homeowners have is not spending enough money on their new kitchen. With interest rates so low, taking out a loan could ensure you get the kitchen of your dreams. However, working with a respected kitchen installer in northern Virginia, like our team here at Explore Kitchens, can also help you to save money.

A professional contractor will not only be able to guarantee the very best installation and materials but also the most affordable prices. Working with wholesalers ensures they are able to get the best prices and products, while their designers will help you to maximize your space. However, with so many companies on the market, finding the right contractor can be tough.

When finding a contractor, the first thing that you should do is to thoroughly review their referrals. This can be done by speaking with existing customers or friends and family who might have used them or by reading independent online reviews. Where possible, you should also see their work in person, either at a former client’s home or in a showroom.

Another top tip when finding a contractor is to make sure you feel comfortable with them. They will be spending time in your house, so you want to ensure you are happy to be around them. You should also be wary of any contractor who is too eager, with demand at an all-time high, someone who is available immediately should be seen as a red flag.

Top tips for renovating your kitchen

If you are looking to transform your kitchen, then you want to ensure that you are creating as stylish of a room as possible. To help you, we have taken a closer look at the hottest trends for your kitchen:


When it comes to renovating your kitchen, your countertops should be one of your first considerations. One of the best materials to use is quartzite, which is a beautiful natural stone that offers similar styling to marble with the durability and resistance of granite.

Quartz or Dekton are another great choice for countertops. Not only are they affordable, but they are also highly functional and low maintenance. If you do decide to go for a natural stone countertop, then make sure you review the full slab, and not just a sample, to ensure you understand the complete pattern.


Another major factor of your kitchen interior is the flooring. Wide-plank white oak is one of the most popular choices at the moment, thanks to its durability and aesthetic appeal. While this style of flooring looks fantastic, the high demand is seeing prices rise, so if you are more budget-conscious, then consider waterproof vinyl planks as these are far cheaper.

Kitchen appliances

No kitchen would be complete without the latest appliances. There are many different manufacturers on the market, covering every possible price range. Speaking with your contractor will help you to ensure that you are able to get the perfect solution for your budget and your design.

Appliances are a major part of your interior, so they should be chosen before the design is finalized. When selecting your appliances, you should consider the space you have available and also the requirements you need in your kitchen.


Cabinets are not only a functional addition to any kitchen, but they are also a great styling solution. For those looking for an affordable solution, then laminate cabinets are a popular choice, and technology has come on significantly in recent years, making sure they are highly durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Another very popular addition is the use of frameless cabinets, which can help to increase storage space by up to ten percent. While floating cabinets are a stylish choice, they do require more maintenance when cleaning and can look cluttered.

Working with an experienced kitchen installer will ensure you are able to find the perfect cabinets for your needs, style, and budget. Good cabinet design requires in-depth expertise, and it is the minute details that help to bring the entire interior together.


Of course, one of the most significant aspects of renovating your kitchen is the space you have available. You want to ensure that room meets your requirements and gives you the freedom to cook and entertain friends and family.

Whether it is choosing a kitchen island, a breakfast bar, or multiple storage areas, make sure you discuss your requirements with your designed to ensure your kitchen meets your needs.


Finally, when choosing the design of your kitchen, it can be very tempting to follow what you see online. However, these fast trends might look great now but can quickly become outdated. That is why you should always engage a professional designer, as they will be able to create the perfect and timeless style.

Looking to renovate your kitchen?

If you are looking to renovate your kitchen during the pandemic, then Explore Kitchens is here to help you. Working across northern Virginia, including McLean, Fairfax County, Arlington County, and beyond, our experienced team can help you to create your dream kitchen.

Utilizing innovative design and the highest quality materials, we guarantee the very best kitchen installation services possible. Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team today!

Top Tips for Renovating Your Kitchen during COVID-19



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Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops

Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops

Kitchen remodel McLean Virginia


Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops

Porcelain countertops are quite popular in European countries for quite some time. However, these countertops have only recently gained attention among users in the United States.

While it looks like that the porcelain trend will likely grow due to its numerous benefits, there are some downsides of using this material that you must know and consider.

We will discuss all that in detail below.


What are porcelain countertops?

Porcelain is made from heating powdered stone and white china clay at an extreme temperature. The mixture is traditionally known as ‘kaolin.’

The extreme temperature causes the stone to vitrify into a thick, robust material, whereas the object maintains its shape because of the kaolin.

Various impurities such as silica, mineral oxides, and feldspars are present in the clay, and they further add and enhance its strength and shades making it one of the sturdiest out there.

However, things don’t go like that when porcelain slabs are manufactured for kitchen countertops. These slabs are further coated with a pigmented glaze that offers them an aesthetic appeal similar to granite, quartz, or other natural stones.


Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops

Because porcelain is not a natural or stone product, porcelain slabs’ available sizes are often sold as an advantage. We agree that porcelain countertops are simple to install with fewer seams and cuts to cover those long cabinet runs. But this advantage or selling point also works in a negative way. Below we’ll explain why.

As the countertop is formed, it’s possible for designs resembling marble and granite to be poured into the form along with the porcelain for aesthetically impressive results. We admit some porcelain countertops are flat-out gorgeous.

Further, you can also use it over your existing countertops as the porcelain can be too thin and light enough but keep in mind this is a mixed blessing and might bring up various challenges that you’ll have to deal with later.

Below we will discuss the porcelain countertop’s pros and cons to give you a better and clearer idea about this new thing in the market, along with our verdict.


The Pros of Using Porcelain

Of course, porcelain sinks, tubs, showers, and tiles look fantastic, and many people are using them. Neither are we denying their superior stain resistance properties and ease of maintenance. Both of these make porcelain suitable as a countertop material. Apart from these, porcelain countertops have other benefits as well. So, let’s check out the “pro” side of the porcelain.

Wide Range of Designs

As with any manufactured or “faux” stone product, porcelain is available or produced in a wide variety of designs. To some extent, we can say that the patterns and color combinations are a bit hard to find in natural stone. But this doesn’t mean that porcelain will give your space a whole “unique” look that you cannot get with granite or quartz.

Porcelain Durability

There is a common myth related to porcelain durability among the users that it is 30% harder than granite. While this is true but only for one specific product, it is not the norm. It depends on which stone you are comparing it with. Similarly, hardness is not the only consideration when it comes to durability.

It can be said that in terms of scratching and etching from both wear and chemicals, porcelain does well. The lack of porosity makes it nearly bulletproof to stains.

The hard, baked-on finish also prevents everyday scratches, but these are common characteristics of some natural stones.

Lightweight Material

In comparison to any natural stone, porcelain is much lighter. It is also simpler to work and use during installation, and depending on its thickness, you can also place it over plywood-backed countertops, such as laminate or butcher block. If weight is a major concern in the installation, this is a plus point of porcelain.


Houzz best of service awarded contractor
Houzz best of service awarded contractor

Ease of Installation

Porcelain is available in large slabs. This also means fewer cuts and seams. And as it is a lightweight product, it is easy to install. But that doesn’t mean that anyone can perform the installation neither it makes it a DIY installation.

The Cons of Porcelain Countertops

Honestly, with all of the benefits of porcelain that we have mentioned above, there are some ‘major’ negatives to record. Having said, here are some significant cons of using porcelain for your kitchen countertops as compared to the other natural stone countertops.

Can get damage with the Blunt Force

Porcelain countertops can easily chip, break, scratch, or crack by any blunt force, such as if you drop a tool in a sink basin, toilet, or bathtub. This is partly due to the hardness of the surface.

Furthermore, when any natural stone countertop gets chipped, you can quickly repair or buff it out. But when you have a porcelain countertop, most breakage will leave sharp edges and require professionals to do the job adequately.

Fragility during Installation

The more giant slabs and thinner material, along with the inflexibility of porcelain, make it too delicate during the installation. Porcelain slabs often crack or break during the installation. Moreover, these giant slabs are difficult to cut and require special tools and considerable skill to get clean, chip-free seams. In some cases, seams can also be hard to finish, so we don’t recommend porcelain countertops to our clients.

Limited Edge Options

In solid natural stone or quartz kitchen countertops, you have plenty of options for the edges. But that’s not the case with porcelain.

To be precise, you will only get two options: square or mitered. If you prefer round-over or ogee cuts, you’ll have to check out some other countertop material.

It has a Moderate Life Span. 

Porcelain is not only fragile, but its lifespan is also moderate. Hence porcelain countertops will not last for centuries like other natural stone countertops. If maintained adequately, you can also use them for one or two decades, and after that, you will have to replace them with other contemporary materials or natural stones.

Cracks, breakages, scratches are more frequent in porcelain countertops than the others and end up with a short or moderate life span.

It doesn’t enhance your Property’s like Natural Stones Do 

As we have mentioned above, porcelain is a fragile material with a short or moderate working life compared to natural stones. The real estate industry doesn’t see porcelain as value-adding because of its low reselling value and less lifespan.

Cost Comparison

As compared to other natural slabs like granite and quartz, the cost of porcelain is equal. In a few cases, porcelain’s price can go higher than natural stones.

Supply is Limited

Presently, porcelain has not been such a popular choice for kitchen countertops in the USA. As such, its market is small as compared to natural stones. Similarly, it cannot be easy to find a professional and expert fabricator who knows the material well.


Another reason why we cannot recommend porcelain countertops to our users is the low return on investment. The primary reason for porcelain countertops low ROI is that it is too new in the USA. Similarly, it’s too early to determine that users will get all the benefits.

On the other hand, granite or quartz countertops serve in our kitchens for decades and have proven benefits. Plus, they add value to your property.


dditional Concerns

As we know, porcelain can be laid over your existing kitchen countertops, but many contractors use it as a ‘selling point,’ which is unethical and just another advertisement tactic.

The central issue in this approach is laying porcelain over plywood will form double layer counters. Contractors can place them over plywood, MDF, or particleboard bases to make them more good-looking. Still, these double-layer counters can cause several moisture retention issues over time and are not beneficial in the long run.

Similarly, many will show you considerable savings in the demo but remember that the existing countertop’s demolition is not typically a significant expense in the kitchen remodeling.


We love and are always excited about new home improvement products and materials. We also like porcelain due to its versatility and patterns.

We feel that the drawbacks outweigh its benefits, so we cannot recommend porcelain countertops over other natural stones.

We will continue to offer high-quality and reliable quartz, granite, and marble from our exclusive wholesalers until we become convinced that porcelain provides a superior value to all of our clients.


Read More:

Decisions You Should Make Before Calling a Kitchen and Bath Contractor

Cabinetry 101: Everything You Need To Know About Transforming Your Kitchen or Bathroom

How Thick Should Your Granite Countertops be?


The post Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops appeared first on Explore Kitchens – Kitchen Remodeling in McLean, VA.

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Nemo Tile + Stone Acquires Modern Stone

Nemo Tile + Stone Acquires Modern Stone

NEW YORK, NY — Nemo Tile + Stone has acquired Modern Stone Consulting, the leading specialists in the sourcing, project management and quality control of natural stone, the company announced. Modern Stone Consulting is active in both Europe and the United States, with consultants in New York, Boston and Carrara, Italy, a city known for its natural stone production and concentration. The company’s founders, Robert McArdle and Alvaro Torrecilla, bring over 40 years of expertise in the natural stone industry and will develop a comprehensive education program to complement the current knowledge and expertise of Nemo Tile + Stone employees to ensure a skilled and custom approach to stone project management, the firm added.

“We are thrilled to join Nemo Tile + Stone, and together, expand Nemo’s stone division in the company’s 100th year and beyond,” says McArdle. “With decades of experience in natural stone procurement, our team at Modern Stone Consulting is ready to arm Nemo Tile + Stone’s sales force with the tools to offer their customers the most competitive pricing, quality and lead times for any size project. This acquisition will diversify and modernize Nemo’s approach to stone selection and distribution.”

Modern Stone Consulting specializes in evaluating materials at quarries, assessing the quality as it is related to the budget of a project, curating alternate solutions specific to each client, and selecting factories for the work. Following the integration with Nemo Tile + Stone, Modern Stone Consulting will bring natural stone education to all sales channels, with a sharp focus on “cut to size” stone projects.

“As we continue to expand the portfolio of Nemo Tile + Stone, we have identified natural stone project management as an important segment of the design market that has been historically underserved,” says Matt Karlin, president and third-generation CEO of Nemo Tile + Stone. “Modern Stone Consulting’s comprehensive management package, as well as their connections to a large network of factories and quarries, allow us to curate an experience for our customers that exceeds what is currently offered in the industry. In turn, we can pass this benefit on to the design community, as stone projects are seamlessly made more efficient from a project’s concept to completion.”


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