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Concrete & Porcelain

Concrete & Porcelain Countertops

When most people think of kitchen countertops, there are some standard materials that come to mind. many have heard of granite, quartz, quartzite, and sintered stone being used as countertop materials. But there are many materials that are used for countertops. In this article we will compare two materials that you may not have heard about. Let's get right into comparing concrete countertops with porcelain countertops.

Why Compare Concrete With Porcelain?

Normally, when you think of concrete, you envision something like a sidewalk, driveway, or street curb. And when asked to think of something porcelain the answer is something along the lines of sinks, floors tiles, or delicate figurines. However, technology is causing a shift in the way people think about materials that have traditionally been used for very specific purposes. Hence, materials like concrete and porcelain are being used for kitchen countertops and other surfaces.

We are going to look at these two materials through the lens of the kitchen countertop material. We will consider some information about what each material is composed of and what that means in the way of using these materials for worktops like kitchen counters.

A Brief Look at Concrete

There is no doubt that concrete is a durable material. After all, many people have had or do have concrete patios, staircases, and even parking lots made of it. So it cna hold up to the wear and tear. The question that comes to mind when one begins thinking of concrete as a kitchen countertops is, "how is that going to look?" That is a fair question. Let's consider concrete in the context of a kitchen countertop.

Admittedly, concrete is not the right choice for every one of the design styles that exist. However, there are specific ones for it seems to be made.

Characteristics of Concrete Countertops

Concrete counters are a perfect design choice for use in a rustic kitchen or an industrial style design. These design styles fit very well with the look of a concrete countertop. It can also be colored and treated using other techniques to add even more of a unique look to the design. So, the first characteristic of concrete countertops is that they are perfect for the aforementioned modern design styles.

Concrete Is Durable

As we have mentioned, and as many are no doubt aware of, concrete is very durable. It registers on the Mohs scale in a range since it can be mixed to adjust the hardness. The hardness of concrete can be between 5 and 7 on the hardness scale. That is right in line with the harder materials used for countertops.

Porosity Requires Treatment

There is a difference between durability and beauty. However, both are needed for a kitchen countertop. As a result, there are treatments that must be performed on concrete for it to be used inside as a kitchen countertop surface. For example it needs sealed to help it resist staining from liquids that could get into the pores and discolor it. Additionally, concrete countertops need to be re-sealed periodically to maintain the level of protection desired by most owners.

A Brief Look At Porcelain

Like concrete, porcelain has been around for many years. It has historically been used for all sorts of items around the home. Bathroom fixtures are made of it. Yet, there are other utensils and items in the kitchen made with porcelain. For decades cooking utensils have been coated with porcelain. And now it is being used as a kitchen countertop material. It only seems natural that the hard surfaces would eventually be made of the same material. What are some of the characteristics of porcelain countertops?

Properties & Traits of Porcelain

One of the foremost properties that porcelain offers is its beauty. The material is readily identified with beauty since all sorts of appealing objects have been fashioned out of it. Figurines, decorative plates and the like are just a few porcelain items that have made their way into homes. So beautiful porcelain countertops are a much easier connection to make than are the ones for concrete. Regarding design options, porcelain shines. Virtually all popular design styles are complemented by the colors and patterns in which porcelain is available.

Porcelain's Durability

Porcelain is a sintered material. Hence, it is a very hard substance. Additionally, porcelain is non-porous and easy to clean. Both of these properties contribute to the durability of porcelain countertops.

Working With and Fabricating Porcelain

Durable materials are not immune to challenges; Particularly if you are the fabricator that works with the particular material. Porcelain is no different. It is not a miracle material that is impervious to all negative effects. Rather, it is a unique material that has strengths and weaknesses like any other.

Fabricators that work with porcelain must be aware that porcelain requires specific care when it is being cut and transported. Specific instructions for cutting and moving such a thin, light weight, and hard material can present an environment where installers or other workers do not use the proper care. This can lead to mishaps. So be sure that you are informed about what caution to exercise if you decide to install porcelain countertops.

Concrete & Porcelain Similarities

Although concrete and porcelain come form different worlds so-to-speak, they do have some things in common. For example, both materials are scratch resistant and heat resistant. Neither material is scratch proof, but both of these countertop materials resist scratching and are very heat tolerant.

Another similarity these materials share is that each one is design friendly. And even though porcelain compliments more design styles that concrete, the few that concrete does go with are a very, very good fit.

Finally, each of these materials will require specialists to install. Both concrete and porcelain have specific guidelines for installation. If the guidelines are not followed, it is possible that the countertop could crack or break. It might be hard to imagine a concrete countertop cracking. But if you have ever seen a sidewalk, driveway, or home foundation with a crack in it, you know it is possible.

Differences Between Porcelain & Concrete

The differences between these materials are just as plentiful as the similarities. One difference is that porcelain is non-porous whereas concrete is more like natural stone in that it has pores into which liquids can penetrate. There are sealers made for use on concrete and even concrete countertops can be sealed. In fact, they need to be sealed regularly. The nice thing about this is that it is very easy to tell when a stone surface needs sealed through proper stone testing.

Another difference between these materials is that concrete has virtually unlimited options. This is because each concrete countertop is custom made. Dyes and designs can be incorporated into a concrete countertop if you select a professional that has the skills and experience to do it. There are many colors and patterns of porcelain from which to choose, but for the most part, the designs and colors are pre-selected for you.

The last difference that we will discuss here is that concrete countertops are thick and porcelain countertops are thin. However, it is possible to create a thicker appearance using proper techniques.

All things considered, bot materials have a place in the industry. Each has a specific set of reasons why some consumers prefer one particular material over the other. As we have mentioned, the design may play a role in this decision. Additionally, by weighing carefully the pros and cons of selecting each material, you will be able choose the right material for your project.