porcelain countertops pros and cons

2024 Porcelain Countertops: Pros & Cons You Must Know

Are you in the market for new countertops and have taken notice of the remarkable beauty of kitchen porcelain countertops?  

You are likely wondering about porcelain countertops pros and cons and if they can measure up against other time-tested natural stone countertops like granite and quartz.

Porcelain surfaces like porcelain tiles have been widely popular in the United States for years.

Known for being durable, and heat resistant properties but can the manufacturing process turn this natural clay material into the perfect kitchen and bathroom countertop?

We will explore the porcelain countertop pros and cons in this comprehensive guide.

Pros of porcelain countertops

  • Low maintenance
  • Heat resistance
  • Scratch resistant
  • Water-resistant
  • Variety of color designs and finish options
  • Stain resistant
  • Seamless veining across multiple slabs
  • Indoor-Outdoor versatility

Cons of Porcelain Countertops

  • Fabrication fragility
  • Chipping and cracking
  • Limited edge profiles
  • Cost
  • Perceived as an imitation

The benefits of porcelain countertops

porcelain countertop slabs

Low maintenance

Porcelain slab countertops are maintenance fee, there is no need to seal or polish them.

Good old-fashioned soap and water are all you need to keep them clean.

Although if you have many kinds of countertops in your home, I recommend this cleaner that covers all countertop types. Much like quartz counters porcelain slab worktops are impervious to germs and bacteria.

Heat Resistance

Embracing the exceptional durability of porcelain countertops, not to mention their prowess in resisting heat, and scorch marks, is a game-changer.

For the culinary enthusiast in your household, the transition from the extreme temperatures of hot pans and pots straight from the oven to the countertop becomes a seamless affair.

The assurance that porcelain counters can withstand extremely high temperatures of hot cookware elevates not just practicality but peace of mind in the kitchen.

Scratch Resistance

Tempting as it may be to show off your chopping skills directly on these counters, given their scratch-resistant nature, it’s probably not the best idea.

While they can fend off marks from your everyday ceramic knives, they’re not invincible, much like a butcher block. So, while a quick dice directly on the surface won’t spell immediate disaster, it’s wise to keep those cuts to a cutting board.

Water-Resistant

Low water absorption ensures that spills and splashes are easily managed, without penetrating or damaging the surface.

From accidental spills to water from cooking, porcelain countertops handle moisture effectively, maintaining their integrity and appearance over time.

In environments where spills are common, porcelain offers durability and resistance, standing strong against moisture without compromise.

Variety of color design and finish options

3 porcelain countertop slabs that look marble

Thanks to some fantastic advances in technology, porcelain slab countertops are now crafted to mimic anything you desire.

From the industrial charm of concrete to the elegance of natural stone or the warmth of wood, these slabs come alive with high-res 3-D patterns.

The end result? A striking resemblance to the distinctive, fine feathery veining of real stone or the lifelike chatter marks found in genuine wood.

With a wide range of colors, styles, and patterns, these porcelain worktops offer endless possibilities.

A significant draw for many exploring porcelain slabs for their kitchens and bathrooms is the allure of the Carrara or Calacatta marble look, which, based on my research, reigns supreme as the top choice among consumers.

Not to be outdone, porcelain stone countertops boast the same versatile finish options as their natural counterparts.

Opt for a polished finish if you’re after that high-gloss glaze that catches the eye, or choose a matte finish, also known as a suede finish, for something that closely mirrors the understated beauty of honed marble.

Stain Resistant

With porcelain countertops, the worries of etching, staining, or yellowing are things of the past. Thanks to their nonporous surface, these countertops repel moisture and liquids, preventing any unwelcome discoloration or damage that can mar the surface of more porous materials.

This inherent resistance means that even acidic substances or colorful spills won’t leave a lasting mark, ensuring your countertops remain as pristine as the day they were installed.

Seamless veining across multiple slabs

book matched porcelain slab

Thanks to the marvels of advanced digital imaging technology, manufacturers can craft perfectly aligned, book-matched veining that seamlessly flows across your waterfall edge island and backsplash, enhancing the aesthetic appeal with fewer seams and a more cohesive look.

This level of precision brings an elegant and high-end ambiance, closely mirroring the natural stone beauty.

Anyone who’s attempted to align veins on a man-made quartz waterfall island knows the struggle all too well, given the unpredictable patterns.

But with porcelain, this challenge is significantly diminished, offering a visually stunning continuity that rivals the look of natural stone, without the headache of mismatched veins.

Indoor-Outdoor versatility

Just like their granite counterparts, porcelain slab countertops are a superb choice for your outdoor kitchen as well.

Thanks to their robust resistance to UV light, porcelain counters won’t fade under the harsh scrutiny of direct sunlight.

This quality grants them unmatched indoor/outdoor versatility, making them an ideal option for spaces that are exposed to the elements.

The Drawbacks of porcelain countertops

porcelain countertops vs quartz

Fabrication fragility

If you’ve ever caught an episode of HGTV, you might’ve witnessed the dramatic fate of porcelain under blunt force.

This spectacle highlights a crucial point: porcelain’s fragility is most evident during its manufacturing and fabrication stages.

This phase demands professional installation; once porcelain slabs are expertly installed, they demonstrate remarkable durability.

When handled with expertise during installation, porcelain’s beauty and resilience highlight the significance of understanding the material’s properties and the critical role of professional fabrication and installation in ensuring the longevity of porcelain kitchen countertops.

Cracking and chipping

Moving onto the resilience of porcelain against cracking and chipping, it’s important to recognize that while porcelain, including kitchen countertops, is highly resistant to such damage, it’s not impervious to force.

Significant pressure can indeed lead to chipping or cracking, revealing the white underlayer beneath the patterned surface, and potentially leaving a jagged edge.

However, compared to other countertop materials like quartz, quartzite, granite, and especially marble—which is more prone to damage—porcelain holds its own quite well.

The edges around the sink are the most prone to cracking and chipping if heavy pots and pans are thrown into the sink.

Limited edge profiles

edge profile of porcelain slab

The edge profile of porcelain counters will be limited.

Most slabs are sold in 2cm, which is rather thin for a countertop, the edge will need to be built up using the mitered edge concept to 3cm or thicker.

Because although extraordinarily strong and durable these countertops are the most vulnerable during the fabrication process.

Therefore, tiered edge styles like ogee or double ogee profiles will be unavailable through most porcelain slab fabricators.

The positive aspect however is that today countertop edge profiles tend to be simpler. Edge profiles like eased edge, straight edge, and shark nose are available in porcelain slabs. The modern waterfall edge on porcelain countertops is also easily accomplished.

Cost

How much are porcelain countertops compared to marble and quartz? There’s not a huge cost saving when it comes to porcelain countertops vs quartz countertops.

I went to several countertop stores in my local area, and here is what I discovered for pricing.

A porcelain slab countertop that is approximately 126×63 or 55-56 square feet ranges anywhere from $1650 to $2840 for 2cm.

The best-selling quartz countertop at Home Depot 3cm (about 1.18 in) is $95 per square foot. I would say porcelain countertops will be remarkably close to that of quartz depending upon which one you select.

Perceived as an imitation

porcelain countertop kitchen ideas

Unfortunately, porcelain countertops don’t have the same perceived value or real estate street cred as quartz, marble, and granite.

The belief that porcelain is just an imitation of more traditional materials could initially cast a shadow of doubt.

Articulate to consumers and realtors alike the unparalleled benefits it brings: its durability, low maintenance, and a wide array of design possibilities.

Emphasize that, much like quartz, porcelain brings its blend of practicality and luxury to spaces.

FAQ Porcelain Countertops

black and white porcelain kitchen countertop

What are porcelain countertops?

Porcelain is made up of clay, the type of clay is called “kaolin” more commonly known as China Clay.

This soft white clay that when baked in a kiln at over 2000 degrees becomes extraordinarily strong and durable.

Can porcelain countertops chip?

Porcelain can and will chip, crack, and break under pressure, but it does take effort.

Is porcelain a good option for countertops?

Yes, porcelain countertops are the perfect choice for not only kitchens but bathrooms and outdoor kitchens too. Porcelain counters are durable, stain and heat-resistant, and come in vast colors, patterns, and designs.

Is porcelain cheaper than granite?

The answer often depends on various factors. Natural stone can be more expensive due to its quarrying and cutting processes, porcelain might seem less expensive initially.

Porcelain’s vulnerability during the fabrication process can lead to higher costs at fabrication.

This could potentially make it as expensive as granite when considering the total installation cost.

How long will porcelain countertops last?

Porcelain countertops in it for the long haul. With proper care, these durable counters can keep your kitchen or bathroom looking sleek and stylish for decades.

These surfaces are built to last, you might change them out of sheer desire for a refresh rather than necessity.

Can you put hot pans on porcelain countertops?

Yes! From stovetop to countertop, you can confidently place hot pots on your porcelain countertops.

How much do porcelain countertops cost?

The best-selling porcelain countertop offered at the Home Depot is 2cm thick and retails at $85 per square foot.

Final thoughts on porcelain countertops

My final professional opinion on the pros and cons of porcelain countertops is that there are more pros than cons.

Love marble but find it expensive and too much maintenance with the required sealing or high probability of etching?

If you think that quartz looks fake and find yourself gravitating to natural stone, then give porcelain countertops a try.

What we know for sure is that they are visually incredibly attractive, affordable in comparison to quartz, extraordinarily strong and durable once installed, and have zero maintenance.

I would say to purchase your porcelain countertops from a big box store to ensure that you have the backing and professionalism of a big corporation should things go wrong they have a vested interest in your overall happiness and satisfaction.

Have you installed porcelain countertops in your home? Drop down in the comments and let us know what your experience has been. What are the porcelain pros and cons that you have noticed?

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