The Illusion of Porcelain: The Master of Disguise
The act of deception can also be the art of perfection. As the tile and stone specialist, we at Lapicida advise that you should never judge a floor on first impressions. There is more to floor and wall tiles and surfaces than meets the eye. Continuously advancing new technology and production techniques have changed everything.
New generation, ultra-durable porcelains are almost indistinguishable from the ‘real’ thing, such as natural stone, wood, ceramic, terracotta, metal, concrete and decorative surfaces. The interior designer and architect now has an overwhelming spectrum of colours and textures, patterns and looks to draw from.
An ever-expanding diversity of finishes, colours and designs makes it possible for everyone to achieve the look they want for different residential, retail and commercial interiors and exteriors. The ability for this new generation of surfaces to ‘flex’ across different settings is impressive, too. For example, Silver Mirror (shown above centre) has a genuine antique feel, but looks equally at ease in a contemporary interior. Conversely, Burgundy Grey Porcelain manages to achieve both country charm and loft living cool.
Porcelain sounds delicate, but do not be deceived. In a tile format, it is incredibly hardwearing and tough, which makes it particularly good for heavy traffic areas, such as retail and commercial spaces. Porcelain is highly scratch and stain resistant – plus, as it is not affected by frost, it is the ideal surface for anyone wishing to run it from an interior out to an exterior.
You can almost install and forget porcelain. Obviously, it will continue to stun visually, but because porcelain surfaces do not need sealing or polishing, they’re easy to maintain. This makes them absolutely ideal for areas such as kitchens where a timber floor might suffer from spills, as well as fading or scratching.
So, what’s on trend?
Wood effect porcelains, especially planking in larger formats like Drift Oak, or textured wood effect porcelain tiles that resemble different types of wood such as Cervinia (above left), or our more rustic Cotswold.
According to an article in Forbes, bathrooms are particularly suited to porcelain. “Ceramic and porcelain are favorites for bathroom floors. For the main floor area in master bathrooms, renovating homeowners often chose ceramic or porcelain tile; 63 percent of respondents selected this option. Natural stone was the next most popular option, with marble, travertine and slate the top picks.” Who are we to argue with the facts?
Porcelain’s popularity is completely understandable. It’s can be used to create wall, floor and ceiling surfaces inside and out – as well as decorative features including fireplaces. It can assume the identity of oak, weathered wood, concrete and marble. It’s ridiculously tough and durable, is difficult to chip, stain or scratch and, like timber flooring, can be installed without grout.
Some natural stone, though inherently beautiful, has its limitations. That’s where porcelain can complement or even replace it. Lapicida porcelain surfaces are designed to work alongside marble and stone. Porcelain excels where lighter and thinner surfaces are needed, however, stone is the natural choice for steps and stairs. Wet areas of swimming pools might be better suited to porcelain that is matched with stone for surrounding areas. Either way, spotting the difference between the two is almost impossible.
Want actual examples? Let’s start with Beaumonde. This warm beige porcelain tile directly replicates reclaimed French Limestone, whilst Highland Heather is inspired by stone recovered from age-old Scottish architecture. Illusion White porcelain mimics the fossilized shells peppered throughout Jerusalem stone, whilst Antique White porcelain (above right) has the distinct feel and visual attributes of terracotta.
Be under no illusion, porcelain isn’t always the natural choice. Natural stone or a combination of the two could be the perfect solution. One person who can help you decide is Lapicida surface specialist Rebecca Cherrington. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our Harrogate showroom or call +44 (0)1423 400 100.
For more inspiration and illusions of porcelain surfaces, click here to explore our February Design Insight: The Illusion of Porcelain.