A common question we’re asked is, which is better, Natural stone tiles or porcelain tiles for my kitchen?
Here’s a short guide to the pros and cons of the two types of flooring to help you make your decision.
Limestone Pros and Cons
Limestone is a great material for your kitchen floor and when its installed correctly by professionals and maintained in the right way it will last a lifetime. Its fundamentally rock, so its durable and naturally tough.
The textures and tones available allow you to choose something truly unique and totally suitable for kitchens. Natural stone does require attention and maintenance like all natural materials, but its worth it. Sealed correctly and cleaned with the correct cleaners, a good quality 1st grade stone will improve with age, like wood, or a good wine!
Limestone flooring has warm tones which add texture and warmth to a room where as porcelain can be very cold and a little flat. Stone floor tiles have variety and texture making it very interesting to look at, sometimes with fossils and quartz pieces in them. Limestone is a very malleable material allowing the installer to curve and shape the stone over steps and around corners, almost sculpting the stone. Porcelain is very brittle and sharpto cut, not so easy to shape as it is typically very thin. Scratches can be repaired with graded sand paper, but most stones are hard and dense and wont scratch. Choosing a Stone for underfloor heating is simple too, just go for something 12mm or above. Natural stone is a great conductor of heat. Most of all, Limestone tiles are durable, sturdy, beautiful and totally unique. With a good selection to choose from and some good advice from a stone retailer choosing natural stone will be great investment.
We recommend Natural stone tiles should only be installed by a professional installer. Some stones can be very porous and require sealing before installing for example. A professional will have the correct equipment and experience in laying natural stone. Sealing and maintaining natural stone is very important to the longevity of its life and appearance. We recommend your installer use a reputable stone sealer such as LTP Matt stone sealer or Lithofin Stainstop. Cleaning with related cleaners from the same manufacture is essential. Stone can stain if the stone if not correctly sealed.
Porcelain Pros and Cons
Porcelain tiles are a man made product and are fired at very high temperatures to created a clay based material. They are extremely hard wearing, sometimes bullet proof and come in all shapes and textures from modern honed tiles to stone effect textured tiles like Travertine effect porcelain, Concrete effect porcelain and the now popular Wood effect porcelain. Used for high traffic and commercial as well as domestic settings, porcelain tiles are the no nonsense option for some projects.
Porcelain tiles are non porous and so do not require any sealing either before or after installation so they are a ‘take out of the box and lay’ product. They wont absorb red wine or grease unless they are left to sit for a long time maybe. All this said, they are a great choice for kitchens or commercial areas such as cafes and restaurants and high traffic areas such as hallways or the entrance to your house.
Extremely durable and frost resistant. They are perfect for bathrooms and shower rooms walls and floors. They are very hygienic and resistant to bacteria which makes them really easy to clean in a kitchen.
As with natural stone tiles, the porcelain tiles are to be installed by a professional to get the best result. They are extremely tricky to cut and require specialist equipment to achieve the best results. Porcelain tiles are very thin compared to natural stone tiles and tend to be around 8 to 10mm thick which delivers low heat conduction from underfloor heating compared to stone tiles. Although there are lots of different styles and colours on the market, porcelain tiles do not give the same unique look as natural stone. Even the better quality stone imitations are not as good as the real thing.