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FIXTURES & FINISHES


Perfect porcelain


The Stone & Ceramic Warehouse’s Chris Grainger discusses the compelling benefits of porcelain floor tiles, from efficiency, cost and maintenance, to the ability to create a precise visual result


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hoosing flooring for your new home is a big decision. While many love the look of natural stone flooring, it can be a big investment, from both a time and financial perspective. Modern advances in technology mean porcelain flooring can now offer all the aesthetic advantages of natural stone without the added headache.


MAINTENANCE & COST Compared to natural stone floor tiles, porcelain has the advantage of being very easy to maintain, making it a great choice for domestic use. It’s lightweight and doesn’t stain, and prices tend to be lower than the equivalent stone. While ultimately it comes down to personal taste, porcelain can offer all the benefits of stone but without any of the maintenance. Porcelain tiles are both virtually indestructible and stainproof, as well as being impervious to water, making them an ideal solution for kitchens and bathrooms. They also won’t be damaged by detergents or any of the other chemicals we frequently expose our surfaces to.


AESTHETIC APPEAL


Another huge benefit of porcelain tiles is that they can now be manufactured in a wide range of realistic finishes, including marble, natural limestone, concrete and metallics. This makes it possible to achieve the look you want without the challenges and maintenance issues the real materials can bring. For smaller, darker rooms, choosing light-coloured porcelain will help to enhance the light in a space, and using a large format tile will create the illusion of space. Recent technological advances have meant porcelain tiles are now available up to a massive 320 cm x 160 cm x 3-6 mm thick, which gives a


november/december 2018


Porcelain tiles can be manufactured in a wide range of realistic finishes, such as marble


very impressive finish. A particularly popular trend at the moment is marble-effect tiles, and using porcelain is a great way to bring this look into your home. Until recently, having a marble bathroom was a pipe dream for the average homeowner. It was a material only to be found in the world's finest hotels and luxury residences. Now, today's modern porcelain lookalike tiles are available at around a fifth of the price of natural marble – but how good are they really?


The appearance is perhaps the most important aspect in achieving the marble look, slabs of real marble are digitally scanned. Mineral impurities and unsightly blemishes (which occur in marble) are Photoshopped out and so with the help of modern technology you are left with an almost flawless, ‘natural’ marble pattern – the perfect ‘Statuario Venato’ that clients perceive and desire. As well as creating an exceptional look, this also allows for book- matching and it can be fixed so that the veins appear to run from tile to tile.


MANUFACTURING & INSTALLATION PROCESS Another benefit of using porcelain is the process. Installing real marble slabs can


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