With so many options, selecting a kitchen countertop material isn’t easy. It must, however, be done carefully as the room’s functionality and visual appeal depends on it.
Natural stones, including granite and marble, have been used in this capacity for decades, but new choices are gaining in popularity thanks to their affordability and strength. One such option is porcelain tile.
To make the most suitable purchase, let’s compare porcelain and natural stone. Which is best for your kitchen?
What’s the Difference Between a Porcelain Tile and Natural Stone Countertop?
Unable to decide between a porcelain tile and natural stone countertop? This guide will help you understand the differences.
Natural stone countertops, as the name suggests, are made from natural stones like granite, marble, and slate. They are formed under the Earth’s surface through millions of years of heat and pressure. The type of stone created depends on what minerals were combined upon their formation. For example, granite is created when molten magma solidifies underground.
Porcelain tiles are artificially made through a combination of very fine clay, finely-ground sand and feldspar. This mixture is then fired at high temperatures to remove more moisture from the tile, thus making it hard and dense.
Your kitchen countertop has to withstand daily wear and tear. When comparing natural stones and porcelain tiles vis-à-vis durability, there is no clear answer. This is because the durability of a natural stone depends on the type of material. For example, granite and slate are harder than marble and limestone.
But natural stones sometimes have hidden faults in individual pieces that can compromise their durability. Porcelain tiles, on the other hand, are highly resistant to wear and tear thanks to their density, fewer air pockets, and uniform construction.
Natural stones tend to be porous and moisture-sensitive thanks to inherent conditions like holes, chips and weak spots. That’s why natural stones, like granite, need to be sealed when used as a countertop material.
Porcelain tiles by contrast are moisture-resistant because they have fewer pores for moisture to infiltrate. This means they don’t require an annual sealant. This moisture resistance makes them an especially popular choice for bathroom and laundry floors.
Cost is a big consideration when choosing your kitchen countertop material, with porcelain tiles being less expensive than natural stone. This is because the supply of natural stone is limited, whereas porcelain tiles are available in abundance because they are manufactured.
Ease of maintenance is a major selling point when it comes to countertops. Natural stone, for instance, needs to be maintained properly using special cleaners and a soft cloth.
By contrast, porcelain tiles are completely inhospitable to germs and bacteria, and can be easily maintained with a mild cleaning solution.
The warmth and breathtaking appearance of natural stone are unparalleled. Each slab has unique colours, veins and patterns, which make the natural stone countertops one-of-a-kind. This signature appearance makes a natural stone countertop the focal point of your kitchen and enhances its visual appeal.
Unlike granite, marble and limestone, porcelain tiles are not unique. They are engineered to mimic the look of natural stones but they have repetitive patterns.
Natural stones are heavier than porcelain tiles and thus more difficult to install. Plus, if you’re installing a granite kitchen countertop, it needs to be resealed to avoid moisture damage and staining; this cost is over and above the one for installation.
Installing a porcelain countertop is by comparison easier and faster. In fact, many homeowners prefer doing it themselves.
If you’re planning to sell your home, choose a countertop material that increases your property’s resale value. Buyers prefer natural stone’s durability and one-of-a-kind veins and patterns over porcelain’s consistent look.
Porcelain tiles and natural stone are both popular countertop materials with their own benefits and drawbacks. We hope this comparative analysis has helped differentiate between them. Do you prefer the natural warmth, character and value of natural stone or the durability, ease of installation and maintenance, and moisture resistance of porcelain tiles?