While quartz is already a popular countertop material in the market, porcelain is one of the newest worktop surfaces for modern homes. After various trial and error techniques and advanced technology, researchers have created this new-age worktop material that can even mimic natural stones just like quartz.
Although new to the industry, porcelain countertops are likely to take over the residential and commercial design industry for a very good reason. Just like quartz, it is engineered to offer endurance and unique style to interior applications. But porcelain worktops (Neolith worktops) can also be applied to exterior areas of your house or workspace. This ability makes it stand out from many other worktop materials.
Both quartz and porcelain worktops are non-porous and have quite similar characteristics. But there are certain differences between these two countertops surfaces.
Given below are some major characteristics that differentiate quartz worktops from porcelain worktops:
Quartz worktops are engineered man-made materials, which are created by blending 90% natural quartz, 8 to 10% resins, polymers and coloured pigments. Due to this unique combination, quartz surfaces are hard just like granite surfaces. However, the appearance of quartz depends on its ground quality. The coarsely ground quartz surfaces produce the quite flecked appearance, whereas finely ground quartz forms a smooth worktop surface.
Porcelain worktops, on the other hand, are made from high-quality kaolinite clay that’s baked at high temperatures of up to 1200 - 1400 °C for hardening it into a highly durable and dense material. There are also some impurities like mineral oxides, silica, flint and feldspars in the clay. But these impurities also add uniqueness to these worktop surfaces.
Quartz countertops are durable and resistant to heat, stains and scratches. Despite its heat-resistant ability, it’s not recommended to directly put hot pots or pans on the surface of quartz kitchen worktops. It is advised to use stove mitt, trivet or tripod to keep hot utensils on the surface of the quartz. Otherwise, heat impact may result in cracking or discolouration after several years.
On the other hand, porcelain is resistant to stains. While many worktop surfaces turn yellow or crack, porcelain is one stronger material that’s designed to last. These worktops are resistant to blemishes, chemicals and detergents. Even the strongest paint can be easily removed from its surface without causing any negative impact on its appearance. These are also perfect installations for high-traffic areas, as these are highly abrasion and scratch-resistant.
The best thing about Neolith porcelain is that it’s extremely heat-resistant. Unlike quartz, you can place hot pots, pans or other utensils on its surface without worrying about any damage. All the durable properties of porcelain remain unchanged for several years, even after extensive use and frequent cleaning. This makes it sound like a long-term investment.
Quartz worktops direct are non-porous, which means they won’t absorb water or moisture into its surface. This ability disables any bacterial or germ growth, making it a hygienic worktop surface.
Since porcelain has undergone high temperature and pressure conditions, unlike quartz. It’s highly inimical to bacteria, fungi, mould, dust mites and irritants that may cause serious health issues.
Porcelain is manufactured at high temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees. So, it is inherently inorganic, and this material emits zero VOCs. By using a disinfectant solution, bacteria, germs or dirt can easily be wiped off. This makes it a healthier worktop option for families, customers and employees who inhabit this worktop material.
Quartz is a versatile worktop material that’s available in distinct colours, styles, finishes and textures. It is also available in different granite or marble-like designs to add natural essence to your living space. You can install it into different areas, such as kitchen countertops, office reception desks or flooring, bathroom vanities and bar countertops.
While quartz surfaces are limited to only the pre-existing patterns and designs, porcelain worktops are more versatile as you can get them printed in your favourite designs or patterns.
Quartz is a durable material that’s resistant to scratches, stains and heat. However, it’s not UV resistant. If installed outside your house, its colour may fade away due to constant contact with sun radiations and other weather changes.
Like ceramics worktops, porcelain is resistant to sun’s UV radiations. This makes it an ideal material for outdoor applications, such as outdoor kitchen countertops, outdoor bars, etc. Due to UV resistance, porcelain won’t be impacted by the sun’s rays and won’t discolour or fade over time. It is also highly resistant to frost and other cold weather conditions.
Design and Finishing
Quartz manufacturers have made it a dream worktop material that comes in various designs and finishes. If you have a dream kitchen in mind, quartz can make it possible. This is because these factory-made countertops can easily be customized in any colour, design or finish (satin or glossy).
Porcelain countertops are also available in a high gloss finish or matte finish. But it incorporates digital printing technology for creating ultra-realistic visuals on its surface. This means you have more design options to choose from. You can either pick some of the hottest worktop trends like vibrant whites or concrete or print a design that delivers natural stone-like timeless appeal. This ability makes porcelain easy to coordinate with any interior design.
Quartz worktop is easy to maintain due to its non-porous surface. All you need is a cleaning agent and a soft cloth to wipe off its surface for regular maintenance. However, you must avoid using abrasive or acidic cleaners that may damage its surface in the long run.
But when it comes to porcelain countertops, they require no extra work or no special cleaning agents for regular maintenance. Like quartz, porcelain also does not require any sealant for protecting its surface. Mostly, you need a clean paper towel and water to keep its surface completely tidy.
Quartz countertops are priced equivalent to granite worktops. Hence, it’s one of the most expensive options out there. But if you want to save money, you can search for its remnants. Since quartz is manufactured in slab format, it’s easy to cut into particular specifications to provide you with the inevitable result. But high-quality quartz costs between £65 and £122. Due to its ability to mimic granite countertops, these worktops are taking over the natural stone. Many homeowners who earlier used to prefer granite are also choosing quartz over this natural countertop material.
If we talk about porcelain worktops, these are available in the form of tiles that are lightweight and easier to install. This makes porcelain worktops less expensive compared to quartz. Porcelain worktops cost between £45 and £80, which is quite less than the quote of quartz. If you’re looking for a better quartz alternative, porcelain is a good material to consider without a doubt.
Quartz countertops are renowned for its durability. But no worktop is 100% perfect. It also has certain vulnerability issues, especially when it comes to bearing the impact of heat and UV rays. However, it can be a valuable addition to your home. There are chances to resell your property at higher prices if you install elegant quartz in it.
On the other hand, porcelain worktops are also a great addition to your home. But these are less popular than quartz. Many people are not even aware that porcelain is a great worktop alternative for your kitchen or bathroom spaces and other outdoor areas.
Large machines cut quartz countertops and have certain size limitations. The average quartz slab measures 56″ x 120″. However, some companies are also manufacturing jumbo sizes, measuring up to 63″ x 130″. You have to install quartz into your kitchen style depending on the size of the quartz slabs.
But there is no size limitation with porcelain tiles. The smallest size of the tile is generally 4’’ x 24’’, and the width can go up to 12’’.
General FAQs about kitchen worktops – Quartz vs Porcelain
Will it increase the value of my house?
Replacing old kitchen countertops or tiles with modern and high-end upgrades will add value to your house. This applies to both quartz and porcelain materials, which are practically indestructible and also high value than other worktops available in the market.
Can quartz or porcelain be repaired if damaged?
If you damage quartz countertops due to scratching, chipping or staining, they are repairable. But if damaged due to extreme heat or aggressive scraping or cutting, you cannot repair them.
On the other hand, porcelain tiles are extremely durable to many indoor and outdoor elements. Since it is made under high temperature and pressure conditions, it’s practically stronger than most worktops in the market. Nonetheless, if porcelain worktop is damaged, it can also be repaired or replaced easily, as it comes in easy tile formats.
Are quartz or porcelain countertops indestructible?
Well, quartz is an extremely durable worktop material, but it’s not indestructible. It can be damaged if abused or comes in contact with excessive heat or UV rays. On the other hand, porcelain is virtually indestructible and cannot be damaged with regular wearing or under extreme conditions.