Porcelain tile is known for its functional benefits and aesthetics, but did you know that porcelain isn’t just for flooring? Thicker porcelain pavers and thin panels/slabs have expanded porcelain’s versatility to include impressive uses.
The most recent advancement in porcelain is gauged porcelain tile: Specially manufactured porcelain tile in panels or slabs as long as 15 feet, as wide as five feet, and as thin as 3.5 millimeters, as well as gauged porcelain pavers as thick as 2 centimeters. Gauged porcelain tile is as strong as it is stylistically impressive, making it ideal for a wide range of applications — including some that might surprise you.
Gauged porcelain tile is well-suited for countertops because of its low-maintenance benefits, such as stain, scratch, flame, and water resistance. These benefits are crucial for countertops, as you don’t want to worry that splashes from simmering spaghetti sauce, bangs from small appliances and cutlery, hot pots and pans, or spills will mar your counters.
Because gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs are so large, they reduce or even eliminate the need for grout lines. Get the look of large slabs of gemstones such as marble, granite, agate, or onyx without the sustainability concerns, extra maintenance, or expense of sourcing natural stone. If you choose, you can even match your porcelain slab countertops with your kitchen flooring, backsplash, and wall tile.
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Porcelain tile is also hiding in plain site on building exteriors or facades.
Many home and commercial building owners choose porcelain for exterior facades because of its durability and resistance to inclement weather and environmental conditions. Porcelain used as a ventilated facade also offers both acoustic and thermal insulation, meaning that it can help reduce external noise pollution and peak heating and cooling loads, thus increasing energy efficiency.
What’s more, porcelain tile is an option for both original construction and remodelling, and allows you to carry out work on individual tiles if any maintenance is required.
Of course, design also comes into play here — building exteriors are the first impression you have of a structure, after all. Porcelain tile facades provide the ability to create the look of any material — including materials that wouldn’t be suitable for certain conditions or structures — as well as to custom-design a unique or branded look.
[Related: Get Outside With Our Guide to Outdoor Tile]
3. Outdoor Showers
The same benefits that make porcelain a great choice for indoor showers lend themselves to outdoor showers, as well.
Ceramic tile (including porcelain) is unaffected by moisture— critically important for areas that will see lots of moisture from the shower itself and also from weather such as rain and snow. All of this water makes slip resistance especially important for outdoor shower flooring, and ceramic surfaces offer options for that, too, including some made with different textures with more slip resistant options for exterior use.
Outdoor showers may seem like they’d be extra hard to clean, but ceramic surfaces make cleaning simple with its easy care routine (just sweep, wipe with water, and dry). Plus, as with all ceramic tile, porcelain is resistant to bacteria, mold, and mildew, and stain resistance means your outdoor shower keeps looking brand new year after year.
When it comes to designing your outdoor shower tile, ceramic surfaces let you get creative with options such as curbless design, shower nooks, and shower benches; limitless tile colors, shapes, sizes, patterns, and textures; and the ability to match or contrast with the rest of your outdoor tile.
Pro tip: Porcelain tile is also a great choice for pools!
4. Sidewalks & Patios
Say goodbye to that same-old short-list of cement outdoor options — porcelain (as well as other ceramic tile options) are a beautiful choice for sidewalks and patios.
Choose from traditional outdoor looks such as natural stone, terrazzo, wood, slate, terra cotta, and revamped concrete, or go with a look that contrasts with your outdoor surroundings, such sleek bright colors. Ceramic surfaces allow you style versatility without the extra concerns or maintenance associated with these different materials.
Whichever style you choose, ceramic advantages mean your tile will stand the test of time with incredible durability; scratch, dent, scuff, and chip resistance; fade resistance from sun exposure; and—especially with porcelain and quarry tile—the ability to withstand the damaging effects of repeated freeze/thaw cycles.
[Related: Explore the Great Outdoor Tile Possibilities]
5. Custom Furniture Applications
The most interesting place you’ll secretly find porcelain tile isn’t one application, but custom applications of all kinds.
The many benefits of porcelain tile have inspired designers to look for new ways to use it, and as it turns out, gauged porcelain panels/slabs can be installed just about anywhere. From oversized planters to benches, desks, and tables, porcelain tile enables you to carry a specific design throughout an entire room, home, or building.
Visit our Pinterest board for gauged porcelain tile design inspiration!
With limitless design and application possibilities to explore, your options with porcelain tile truly are endless!