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With a rich history dating back thousands of years, porcelain products have long been recognized for their durability, moisture resistance, and beautiful finishes. In modern times, porcelain has become a highly sought-after choice for interior and exterior projects thanks to its unparalleled versatility in the hard surface category.
First appearing in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), porcelain was initially used primarily for decorative objects such as vases, figurines, and other art pieces. It wasn’t until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) that porcelain was designed for functional items such as dishes and tiles.
During the 16th century, porcelain production began expanding into Europe. By the 18th century, factories in Germany, France, and England produced porcelain tiles for palaces, churches, and other grand buildings. Today, porcelain tile is manufactured worldwide, with Italy and Spain being among the most renowned producers.
Porcelain tile offers several benefits making it a popular material amongst designers, installers, and homeowners.
Durability: Porcelain is incredibly strong and durable, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas in residential and commercial applications. The product’s durability makes it resistant to scratching, staining, and fading – meaning it will uphold its beauty for many years to come!
Moisture Resistance: Impervious to moisture, porcelain tile is an excellent choice for wet areas and those prone to spills. Think showers, bathrooms, kitchens, and sometimes even pools! This water resistance also means the product is easy to clean and maintain, as it does not absorb dirt or moisture.
Low Maintenance: One of the most significant advantages of porcelain tile is maintenance – or should we say, lack thereof? Porcelain requires little maintenance compared to other hard surface flooring and wall materials. In addition, the product itself is easy to clean and resistant to mold/mildew.
Design Versatility: Porcelain tile is offered in a variety of colors, textures, finishes, and sizes, which allows for endless design possibilities. From sleek and modern to traditional and rustic, porcelain tile can complement various design styles.
Due to its characteristics, porcelain is one of the only materials safe for floor and wall installations in interior and exterior applications. (Pro Tip: Always check with your local distributor to confirm you’re selecting the correct tile for your intended use).
Eco-Friendliness: Often produced using sustainable manufacturing techniques, porcelain tiles are made from natural materials like clay, sand, and feldspar making the product and environmentally friendly choice.
Porcelain tiles are exceptionally durable and versatile in design, with an almost limitless range of applications for the product.
Flooring: A durable and water-resistant flooring option, porcelain’s resistance to moisture, frost, and fading makes it an excellent choice for both indoor and outdoor uses. Offered in large format, textured finishes, patterned, wood or stone looks, the product can mimic the appearance of expensive materials while providing superior durability and resistance to wear and tear.
Backsplashes: Available in various colors, patterns, and finishes, backsplash design options with porcelain products are nearly endless! Specifically for backsplashes, it’s important to select a material which is easy to clean when exposed to food, grease, and other kitchen or bathroom messes. Porcelain can be wiped clean with a damp cloth, and unlike porous materials such as natural stone, it does not require sealing.
Walls: Porcelain tile can be used to create accent wall designs, from subtle and textured to bold and colorful. Furthermore, the products can be manufactured with a “relief,” giving the tile a 3D effect. You can even incorporate real gold or silver for an unforgettable and attention-demanding look!
Countertops: We all know of natural stone slab options for countertops however porcelain countertops have been growing in popularity due to their inherent benefits. Offered in large format stone, wood, or concrete looks, porcelain can mimic these expensive materials and require no sealing or maintenance. In addition, the product won’t stain meaning the dreaded red wine stain will be a thing of the past!
Showers: Choosing the right tile for your shower is crucial, as not all products are suitable for this application. Luckily, porcelain tile is highly versatile, durable, and water-resistant, making it an excellent choice for shower floors and walls.
Outdoors: As people want to bring the outdoors in, porcelain is a great way to create cohesion in your space from the inside out. Due to its resistance to moisture, frost, stains, and fading, most porcelain tiles are rated for outdoor applications, such as patios, walkways, and pool areas. If you’re unsure if the tile you’re dreaming of suits the job, just ask your local dealer!
Pools: Porcelain tiles are highly resilient to water and chemicals, making them an excellent option for pool coping, decks, and interiors. The added benefit of slip resistance for safety in wet areas makes the product a win-win. When used for pool copings, porcelain tiles provide a comfortable and slip-resistant edge, while also offering durability that can withstand foot traffic, pool furniture, and outdoor elements on pool decks. For pool interiors, porcelain tiles offer endless design possibilities, with stunning patterns and colors that resist fading, stains, and chemicals, providing a long-lasting and low-maintenance option.
With any use case, proper installation and maintenance are crucial for the longevity and performance of the product. Always consult your local dealer before installation.
Large Format Tiles: Large format porcelain tiles are manufactured in larger sizes than traditional tiles. These sizes typically measure at least 15 inches on one side, with some reaching up to 10 feet or more. The larger size of the product allows for fewer grout lines which create a more seamless and modern look.
Wood-Look: Wood-look porcelain tile mimics the appearance of hardwood, but unlike natural wood, porcelain is resistant to scratches, dents, and water damage. These characteristics make it a great product for high-traffic areas and households with children or pets.
Geometric Patterns: Featuring intricate shapes and patterns like triangles, hexagons, and diamonds, geometric tiles have become increasingly popular as homeowners and designers look for unique and modern ways to incorporate patterns and textures into their spaces.
Decoratives: Decorative tiles offer an excellent opportunity to add personality and style to any space. Offered in a wide range of patterns, shapes, colors, and textures, porcelain decorative tiles are often used as accent pieces or focal points to create visual interest and add a pop of color or pattern to an otherwise plain surface.
Stone-Look: Stone-look tile is one of the fastest-growing porcelain segments. The beauty of the product is it can be manufactured to resemble any stone but unlike natural stone does not require sealing or routine maintenance and is more cost effective once the cost of fabrication and installation is considered.
As technology advances, porcelain tile production becomes even more eco-friendly, precise, and refined, offering more design possibilities. Whether used in a classic or modern design, porcelain tile remains a versatile and elegant option for any project.