Porcelain & Sintered Stone Panels: The Stylish Solution for Preventing Wall Damage Porcelain panels are one of the most versatile solutions at a designer’s disposal. With their wide array of textures, colors, and finishes, and their lightweight construction, porcelain slabs can do a lot to transform a space both inside and out. But more importantly, due to their thin design, porcelain panels are just as functional as they are beautiful. When used as wall cladding, porcelain panels protect high-traffic areas from damage while also providing an exceptional aesthetic that anyone would be proud to come home to. Not All Porcelain Slabs Are Created Equal When it comes to the many options for porcelain slabs, it is important to realize that not all panels are created equal. While standard porcelain slabs do offer solid protection, higher quality brands have patterns on the porcelain that run edge to edge, eliminating the need to have the panel trimmed in a fabrication shop. Once complete it can then be shipped to the job site and installed with on-site fabrication, ultimately saving a lot of time, money, and labor. Quality of the porcelain can also be determined by the clarity of the print on the product. By looking closely at the less expensive brands, you will see that the pattern on the porcelain looks like a grainy, enlarged photograph. But, with higher-end brands you can expect to see them really try to simulate the look and feel of natural stone, providing it with a higher-quality product overall. Certain colors are even book-matched like natural marble to provide the most luxurious and authentic look. Porcelain slabs are available in a variety of sizes from 30” x 30” up to 60” x 120” with thicknesses ranging from 3 mm, 6 mm, to 1.2 cm. Once a thickness is chosen, it can help to determine what the panel can be used for. For example, 1.2 cm porcelain slabs are about ½” thick and are suitable for countertop applications. On the other hand, 6 mm porcelain slabs are about ¼” thick and are suitable for wall panels in a shower or bathroom. By determining the style, look, and feel of a design, in addition to where the porcelain slabs will be applied, it can help to determine whether high-quality, higher-end brands are the way to go, or if picking something less expensive can get the job done. What is Sintered Stone? It is sintered stone that offers unrivaled durability. Sintered material is still crafted out of natural stone; however, it undergoes a detailed, high-tech process that simulates hundreds of years of metamorphic change within the stones, resulting in a revolutionary product. Dekton and Neolith are examples of sintered stone. Unlike natural porcelain, it provides a much denser surface that doesn’t have any weak spots or tension and comes in thicknesses ranging from 8 mm, 12 mm, 20 mm, to 30 mm. It being graffiti proof also makes it an ideal product for exterior use in a commercial application. And since it does not fade from UV, it is a great option for exterior wall cladding or exterior kitchen countertops. One disadvantage of sintered stone is that it is very difficult to work on-site, as opposed to Porcelain slabs. So, it’s recommended that you work with a good fabricator who understands and is certified in the product. Why Use Sintered Stone for High Traffic Areas Dekton and Neolith are leaders in the sintered stone market for a reason. Not only do they come in multiple thicknesses and have extreme durability, but one may look at their many other benefits and see why sintered stone is becoming the natural stone choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and exterior settings: It Emulates Other Materials Sintered stone is so amazing because it is available in a variety of textures and colors that mimic the appearance of other materials. For example, it can look like metal for an industrial design, portray Calacatta marble for an upscale one, or depict wood grain for a rustic aesthetic. It Is Lightweight to Install In addition to looking amazing, sintered stone comes in relatively large, lightweight panels (available up to 320 cm x 140 cm). However, just because the material is lightweight doesn’t mean that it is easy to install. It’s important to work with a certified professional who is familiar with the product. If your client is considering sintered stone or porcelain slabs in their project, let them know that sintered stone is the trickier of the two to install and it should not be done without assistance. It Resists Cuts & Scratches Due to its advanced engineering process and ironclad structure, sintered stone panels are the most scratch-resistant material on the market. Even a knife won’t cause significant damage. This makes them perfect for walls because they won’t get dings and scratches from everyday wear and tear. It Is Stainproof When it comes to wall options, nothing stays cleaner than sintered stone. In fact, because it is completely nonporous and free of resin, it is stain-proof. Even if a marker ends up on the wall, it can be cleaned effortlessly. Additionally, common household chemicals will not damage most sintered stone products. It Stays Looking Like New When sintered stone is manufactured, the pigmentation is meticulously controlled and permeated throughout the entire material to produce a finished product that will not fade over time. It is extremely resistant to UV light and it will maintain its like-new appearance for its lifespan, no matter where it is being used. It Is Noncombustible No matter how hot the surface gets, sintered stone like Dekton will not crack, burn, or scorch. This makes it a top choice for wall cladding, countertops, or backsplashes in kitchens and outdoor spaces. It is also resistant to extremely cold temperatures, so there is no need to worry about ice and thawing. When you want to transform a space and provide superior wall protection in high-traffic areas, both sintered stone and porcelain slabs provide a world of design possibilities. The durability of these products will meet both the function and form requirements of your clients and is sure to exceed their expectations. To learn more about the many porcelain slab and sintered stone options available, contact Connecticut Stone today.