Slice of Style – Porcelain vs. Stone
When planning a renovation, you have many decision to make: chrome vs. brass, shower vs. tub—just to name a few. One of the most common questions I get asked is whether porcelain or natural stone is better in a certain application. Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons to help make your decision easier.
Natural stone is beautiful, timeless and elegant, and looks good in many, if not all, applications. The benefit of natural stone is that it’s unique, as mother nature crafted each individual piece herself. When tiling large areas, natural stone looks fantastic as its veining, rivering and spotting are all unique, thus adding a special feel to your space.
At the same time, each piece being unique can be a challenge. Perhaps you like what is on display, but aren’t as fond of what’s in the palette. Thus, when purchasing natural stone, take the extra step to look at the actual stone you will be purchasing.
Natural stone is porous and must be sealed in order to prevent staining or discolouration. Sealing your stone is a small price to pay for the beauty you will receive in return. Topical sealers of the past deterred many from purchasing natural stone due to needing to reapply every six months; however, with today’s high-quality sealers, sealing maintenance is slim to none. Find out more about cleaning and sealing in the Two Steps to Caring for Outdoor Stone and Concrete Slice of Style. These two steps are the same for interior stone care, although there will be much less cleaning involved!
Stone is stone all the way through. If you happen to chip your natural stone, all you have to do is sand it down to even it out, and possibly reseal to hide any etching. No replacing of tile is necessary.
Porcelain or ceramic tile is a popular choice amongst renovators because it is relatively inexpensive compared to some natural stone. Additionally, porcelain prints continue to improve, making imitation porcelain look more and more like real stone.
The most dramatic benefit of man-made porcelain is its consistent colour and pattern—which means you will get the exact same product you saw on the sample board with little variation.
Porcelain does not need to be sealed, but the grout lines are porous and should be sealed to prevent staining.
Porcelain is a strong product, with a very low absorbency rate (making it a popular choice for bathrooms), but it can be chipped if something is dropped on it. If it is chipped or cracked, the grey or red clay the porcelain is made of will show through. There is no turning back when this occurs. The tile will need to be removed and replaced.
Both natural stone and porcelain products are excellent choices, and I hope that I have helped give you the power to make an informed decision. Still unsure of what to do? Stop by Tile + Stone Source where one of our knowledgeable staff members will be more than happy to help you.