5 Ways to Use Porcelain in Home and Garden Design
Developments in porcelain production technology have created an explosion in creative design opportunities. There are phenomenal choices to use this material in the home and garden.
Where can porcelain tiles be used?
Porcelain is a very robust material providing strength and resilience to wear. It is highly adaptable, produced in thicknesses suitable for exterior paving, interior flooring, and thinner formats for wall cladding.
New age porcelain is created using digital printing to create surface finishes faithfully resembling stone, marble and wood. Tiles are non-porous, making a very low maintenance product for both indoors and outdoors.
Techniques to reproduce complicated natural formations such as butterfly patterned marble, or wood grain effect can be perfectly produced.
Safe slip resistant surface finishes are available for floor tiles and exterior paving slabs.
What’s not to like?
Exterior Paving using porcelain slabs
Thicker porcelain formats for exterior paving are reliably frost proof in the UK. Slabs are usually 20mm thick, and ranges are available in both interior and exterior formats, enabling the threshold of bi-fold doors to be seamlessly matched with suitable matching material both sides of the door.
There are limitless designs featuring natural stone, wood and marble. Plus imaginative contemporary designs too. It can be difficult to tell if it is porcelain or the real thing!
Laying a porcelain patio requires a slightly different technique to natural stone, we have written a guide here>>
Interior Porcelain floor and wall tiles
Porcelain floor tiles offer a robust, low maintenance option for interior design. Being lightweight they can be installed in more situations and porcelain is suitable to use where underfloor heating is installed. Ranges will usually include different size formats enabling patterns to be created, or to use smaller or larger formats on walls to match the scheme.
Porcelain Pool Copings
Pool copings can be made from porcelain. Stoneworld currently offer 2 styles: bull nosed and drop–down effect that are available in any of the porcelains we offer. Bull nosed profiling rounds off the cut edge, whilst drop down copings feature a mitred joint so that surface material is viewed on the profiled edge.
Porcelain Pool Lining Tiles
A further stylish use for porcelain tiles has developed recently. Large slate effect tiles have proved very popular used to line swimming pools, creating a dramatic dark pool of water with the dark reflection.
Large Format Porcelain Sheets for interior wall cladding
The new large format porcelain sheets that are available at Stoneworld are superb used to cover shower enclosure walls, or for creative contemporary wall design. The huge expanse creates a luxurious effect, whilst making a low maintenance surface, as there are no grout lines. Using large format porcelain sheets with a tanked wet room floor creates the most efficient waterproofed shower area that has ever been available. These giant sheets can measure up to 1200mm x 2600mm and are only 5-6mm thick.
The best way to cut porcelain
One of the perceived drawbacks of using porcelain has been installers reticence to use the product due to inexperience with cutting or the availability of the correct tools for the job. Whilst smaller formats pose few issues, dealing with the larger formats such as paving size slabs and bigger can present problems if not tackled correctly.
At Stoneworld our masonry workshop is kitted out to make light work of porcelain cutting. The best and most precise method for porcelain cutting is using a waterjet cutter. We have this equipment onsite, and it is a service that can be booked with purchase, or separately we are able to take in porcelain purchased elsewhere (if you must) and precision cut for customers.
Full body porcelain is here at Stoneworld now!
The very latest addition to our porcelain range is full body porcelain –now available at Stoneworld. Full body porcelain is created by making the whole tile from coloured clays that are sintered during production ( a bit like the natural process that sandstone goes through- but about a million years quicker!) This process creates a tile with true colour and pattern throughout the full depth of the tile. Until recently, Porcelain tiles were normally surface printed and coated to preserve the pattern. This makes a highly effective and reliable material. However, there are a couple of situations where full body porcelain will prove to be the icing on the cake.
When we create bull nosed profile edges on a surface printed porcelain tile, we reveal the inner core of the tile. This is a slightly different colour to the surface and the bullnose cannot recreate the pattern or colour variation shown in the surface. However, with a full body porcelain tile, the colour and pattern go the full depth of the tile. This will enable pool copings and step treads to unify with the surface pattern of tiles. Full body porcelains will also enable porcelain tiles to be used in hardworking areas such as commercial and retail spaces, as surface wear will not reduce the pattern on the tile over the years.