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By Masha Koyen
According to Giancarlo Colasanti, operations manager at Toronto’s 14,000-sq. ft .tile and stone shop Euro Tile & Stone, porcelain slabs are giving natural stone finishes a run for their money. Colasanti tells us about the latest slab trends and explains why porcelain slabs are now the hottest finish for your home renovation projects.
Trending slabs and tiles
Homeowners still love the look of marble but are disenchanted with the options we’ve seen for the past decade. “Marbles are still the most popular, but now we’re seeing more diversity in the stones as clients are looking for more unique pieces,” says Colasanti. “Colourful marbles and more aggressive veining are two trends that are starting to gain traction right now.”
The desire for more contrast in natural stone might account for the growing popularity of porcelain slabs. Although they artfully mimic a very realistic stone look, they can be stylized to meet the changing tastes of today’s homeowner. “It really depends on your design intention,” says Colasanti.
Soft stones like French limestones and ardoise, in hand with agglomerates, are also creating quite a sensation. As well, terrazzo, a classic flooring used in high-end commercial buildings, is now finding its way into homes.
Venetian terrazzo offers the best of both worlds, mixing small pieces of stone into a cement or concrete base before polishing it to expose the inlays. The result is high-contrast for a truly dynamic, yet sophisticated look perfectly suited to today’s more bespoke approach to home decor.
Adding more pizzazz and personality, especially on kitchen backsplashes, is another emerging trend. Homeowners are no longer colour shy and obsessed with the monotone kitchens of yesterday. Instead, they’re gleefully seeking Moroccan- and European-inspired wall tiles in varying finishes, textures and colours. These bold colours are easier to match to manufactured porcelain slabs.
Although quartz was an immensely popular alternative to marble, it can’t compete with the versatility of porcelain. “Compared to quartz, porcelain is able to replicate the graphics of stone and marble perfectly, whereas quartz can’t,” says Colasanti.
Benefits of porcelain slabs
Porcelain slabs are also the more practical choice. “Our porcelain countertops are heat-, scratch- and stain-resistant, so they have much better technical properties compared to quartz and natural stone,” says Colasanti. “Because porcelain slabs are larger, you’ll have less joints than using tiles. You can achieve a more seamless and richer look using slabs, plus less grout to clean is always great.”
Where to use porcelain slabs in your home
The 6mm porcelain slab creates focal points on walls, making it popular as an accent for fireplaces, as well as bathroom walls. If you’re looking for a countertop, 12mm and 20mm porcelain slabs are perfect. However, Colasanti also says these thicker options are growing in popularity for customized tables and furniture.
Advancements in porcelain slab technology
Euro Tile & Stone uses a new FullVein and FullBody technology to create an even more convincing, natural stone look. “Before this innovation, the vein and agglomerate of the slab did not pass through the body of the slab, it was only on the surface,” Colasanti explains. The patented technology mimics the complex structure of natural marble throughout the slab. As a result, the marble effect remains unaltered from manufacturing through to installation.
Because of porcelain’s heat resistance, concealed induction burners can be incorporated into porcelain slab kitchen counters. The sleek cooking surface is completely undetectable when the burners are not in use, providing more surface area for task work.
If you haven’t found the dramatic look or price-friendly options you hoped for in natural stone, porcelain slabs are the perfect solution.
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Watch for the project website and YouTube channel coming soon! ready-set-reno.ca
In today’s pandemic-era environment, world-wide supply chain issues and construction delays are a reality, so plan your renovation well and be prepared. As things get underway, we’ll be sharing exciting before, during and after content, including a video series featuring top experts, and you’ll be able to virtually tour the project at various stages of completion.
Photo credit: Euro Tile & Stone
Masha Koyen is the founder of Content Vertical, copywriting and content strategy for the design-build industry.