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?


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Did you miss our previous article…

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.”


The post Nemo Tile + Stone Acquires Modern Stone appeared first on Kitchen & Bath Design News.

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Wren Kitchens Opens Long Island Showroom

Wren Kitchens Opens Long Island Showroom

Europe’s kitchen retail specialist Wren Kitchens has launched its third U.S. showroom, this one located in Levittown, NY, bringing its total number of branches to 108 across the U.S. and the U.K.

The kitchen remodeler opened the biggest ever kitchen showroom in Milford, CT last November and its expansion plans will continue with the opening of showrooms in Selden, NY and Lawrenceville, NJ in the coming months.

The brand-new Levittown showroom at 2993 Hempstead Turnpike has created a significant jobs boost to the local area, with 30 new roles in retail. In addition to this, it’s created a further 30 jobs across manufacturing and logistics at its state-of-the-art headquarters in Wilkes-Barre, PA, where all Wren kitchens are made to order for its U.S. customers.

All under one roof, the new 19,500-sq.-ft. showroom has 61 full-sized kitchens on display, as well as various cabinet styles, colors, appliances, storage solutions, countertops, sinks, faucets, accessories and much more.

“The state-of-the-art showroom is a one-stop shop for everything that kitchen remodelers need to transform their kitchen space,” notes James Langdon, Wren Kitchens Levittown design manager. “We pride ourselves in offering quality luxury kitchens at affordable prices, and all of our kitchens are designed and made by us in the USA.”

At the heart of the showroom are two virtual reality studios where customers can use VR headsets to view their kitchen in 3D. It also encompasses two dedicated interior design suites that are free to use for local designers and architects to work with clients. Sessions can be booked by calling or visiting the showroom.

There are 16 design desks where customers work with expert designers to create their dream kitchen. They have L-shaped sofas and a large screen for customers to watch their dream kitchens come to life in 3D.

A child-safe kitchen is on display at the showroom, and it features design tips to keep children safe, such as door safety catches and locks, appliances located out of reach, cool-to-touch induction hobs and storage ideas for cleaning products.

Wren has invested $15.4 million in its 252,000-sq.-ft. facility in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and is transforming its onsite headquarters to provide support for showrooms across the East coast. Wren has also invested in its own fleet of trucks for delivery across the country.

All of Wren’s showrooms are pet and child friendly with play zones, baby changing facilities, a stroller park and a relaxing coffee area.


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