Jo Oliver, Director of SACW PAVING & The Stone & Ceramic Warehouse, discusses the benefits that porcelain tiles can bring to a kitchen floor.

Kitchens are inevitably high-traffic areas, so choosing the right floor is vital. Compared to natural stone, porcelain has the advantages of being very hardwearing and easy to maintain, making it a great choice for the kitchen. Prices tend to be lower than the equivalent of natural stone and, while ultimately it comes down to personal taste, porcelain does give all the benefits of stone but without any of the inherent problems of the real thing.

For smaller, darker kitchens, choosing pale coloured porcelain will help to encourage the light and using a large-format tile will create the illusion of space. Recent technological advances now mean that porcelain tiles are available up to a massive 320cm x 160cm x 3 – 6mm thick. They are extremely durable and give a hugely impressive finish, making spaces appear bigger than they are, and work very well in both small and large rooms. With less grouting required, they are simple to lay and very low-maintenance.

and pavers are available in a vast range of colours, textures and sizes. With such a huge selection available, you can achieve any look you desire, from wooden floorboards and decking to stone tiles and patios.

Whilst many 10mm porcelain tiles can also be used both internally and externally, SACW Paving offers variations of Stone & Ceramic Warehouse’s internal tiles as 20mm porcelain garden pavers. These thicker tiles can be laid onto virtually any outdoor substrate, including sand and cement screed, gravel and grass. This makes it easy to install them in any exterior space to create either a very contemporary or more traditional design that flows right through the home.

With the growing popularity of open-plan living, including the garden in a kitchen design is bang on trend. Bringing the outside in creates a feeling of space, almost giving the illusion of having had an extension.

It’s also great for tempting

additional light to the kitchen and works from a functional viewpoint for summer entertaining, allowing guests to move freely between the house and garden. Flooring is a great way to achieve this seamless link between the inside and out. Creating a continuous floor that flows from the kitchen into the garden will make the space seem much larger, even when the doors are closed, as the room appears to continue outside. Porcelain floor tiles are ideal for these design schemes. Not only are they easy to maintain, they are also very hardwearing, don’t stain and are anti-slip. Porcelain tiles

26 | Tomorrow’s Retail Floors

The latest trends lean more towards a sophisticated neutral colour palette of cool greys, taupe and mid-tones, giving a luxurious and relaxing feel. We are also seeing a huge demand for marble-effect porcelain. Not only is real marble often unaffordable for most people, it can also create application issues due to its extreme weight. Quite often it will need to be applied to tile backer boards, or even require walls to be reinforced, which is a timely and costly process. An affordable and practical alternative to consider is marble- effect porcelain. A computerised programme prints the marble vein pattern with a ‘natural’ variation from tile to tile - the reproduction is so accurate that our porcelain often gets confused for the real thing. Apart from these obvious benefits, unlike real marble, porcelain requires virtually no maintenance against scratching or staining and doesn’t need to be polished or sealed. It can also have anti-slip finishes applied, making them ideal for kitchens.

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