When most people think of porcelain, they think of a durable tile that may look like stone or concrete, but that is where the excitement ends for most. Porcelain has historically been about performance that sacrifices beauty and design, but thanks to modern technology, that reputation is now changing. New manufacturing techniques and cutting-edge printing are now pushing porcelain tile into the forefront of design and innovation, and these new developments are making the biggest impact with Thin Porcelain Slabs.
These large-format porcelains, also known as Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels, are one of the fastest growing tile categories, offering a high-end and impressive design option for not just walls and floors, but also countertops, cabinets, furniture, and more. Thanks to their innovative format and technical abilities, designers now have an increasingly popular option for creating new and exciting spaces that can affordably achieve a rich and luxurious feel. Let’s learn more about Thin Porcelain Slabs and how you can incorporate their features and benefits into your design.
What Are Thin Porcelain Slabs?
A thin porcelain slab is, as the name implies, a large-format porcelain tile with minimal thickness, usually between 6 to 12 mm, and comes in oversized formats from a 30″ x 30″ tile up to a 60″ x 120″ slab and beyond. These slabs are just like other highly engineered tile products, showcasing the high-tech printing capabilities and durable performance of modern porcelain manufacturing. But unlike a typical tile, thin porcelain slabs expand opportunity with both installation and design in ways that only modern manufacturing techniques can deliver.
Manufacturers continue to push the boundaries with this unique product, making thin porcelain slabs strong competitors in the market for not only floor tiling but also feature walls, countertops, and even furniture. With a focus on high-quality porcelain clay and high-temperature firing which leads to a harder, smoother, and finer grained tile, recent advances in printing and glazing technology are also providing patterns and textures that are indistinguishable from the real thing. Popular decorative materials such as granite, marble, wood, and quartz can be replicated and the expansive size creates a dramatic realism that can fell as if you have been enveloped in nature, as seen in the TileBarXL Collection.
The larger slab sizes do require special installation considerations, but their thinner composition helps with both the weight of the material and the cost per square foot. You can also reduce maintenance of your tile installation by using Thin Porcelain Slabs thanks to the the reduction in grout joints.
The Benefits of Thin Porcelain Slabs
Oversized Luxury with Less Maintenance
Imagine gold veining across a creamy white surface, soft gray dusting on silver, and cool white strokes brushing a coal-black background that seem to fill up an entire wall or floor in one large tile – Thin Porcelain Slabs feature sophisticated reproduction of real stones, achieving luxurious visuals that can elevate any design. Using ultra-realistic porcelain printing technology, these slabs can beautifully recreate the opulence and authenticity of natural materials such as stone and marble, and the oversized format reinforces that luxurious finish, providing unique application possibilities with fewer seams and almost no grout.
Thinner is Better for Your Wallet
The thickness of most Thin Porcelain Slabs (6 mm) is about half of a typical porcelain tile (9-12 mm). This thinner profile helps to reduce the overall weight of the tile slabs, making them easier to handle and cut during installation. This thinner construction also means that less material is used in making the tile so the cost per square foot for material is less, saving you money.
Can Be Installed Over Existing Tile
Another great benefit of Thin Porcelain Slabs is their ability to be installed over existing tile. The oversized tile format is great for easily spanning across typical tile installations if the existing tile surface is prepared properly. This can save not only money, but also be a great option for when a quick tile option is needed for a fast-paced project.
The hardwearing nature of porcelain lends itself to a variety of uses which could be challenging for natural materials such as natural stone. Porcelain is less prone to etching, staining, and other damage, and therefore requires almost no maintenance. The high performance of porcelain allows for the incorporation of beautiful design without compromising on functionality, offering a cost-effective option that is extremely long-lasting.
While natural materials are beautiful in their rarity and uniqueness, they could be unpredictable when it comes to pattern and finish. With porcelain, there is no need to pick just the right stone for the right pattern, technology does that for you. Thin Porcelain Slabs are meticulously designed so each tile features an elegant and reliable look, with a unique possibility for customization and adaptability.
Thanks to porcelain’s durability and flexibility of design, thin porcelain tile can be incorporated in almost every environment. It is ideal for high-traffic areas, wet spaces, outdoors, and indoors. The thin body of porcelain slabs makes them relatively easy to cut and manipulate, and therefore provides the opportunity for incorporating them in almost any project, from large flooring projects to unique furniture and features.
How to Install Thin Porcelain Tile?
Thin porcelain tile is among the most innovative players in the design world, and as such, installation methods and techniques of it are constantly evolving and improving. Since large porcelain slabs are relatively new to the U.S. market, it is important to work with a knowledgeable contractor to ensure the best result in application.
When dealing with Thin Porcelain Slabs, the two most crucial aspects are transporting the material and fabrication. Porcelain, while highly durable when installed, could be chipped or broken during transportation to your project site and cutting and sizing during installation. The keys to keeping your Thin Porcelain Slabs intact are using the right equipment such as A-Frames, special suction cups, and the right cutting tools, and also having help along the way. These slabs are too large to tackle by yourself and an experienced contractor will have the proper education and techniques to ensure a successful installation.
How to Use Porcelain Slabs in Your Home?
Thin Porcelain Slabs are more than just large-format tiles, Their monumental scale holds potential for exciting applications never seen before – porcelain countertops, massive wall designs, or porcelain fireplaces with very few seams can all combine elegant design with high performance. Let’s explore some ways to use Thin Porcelain Slabs in your own space.
Walls and Floors – Looking for the opulent look of marble or stone floors and walls without the maintenance? Extra-large marble-look Thin Porcelain Slabs provide all of this and more. Stunning stone-like patterns recreate these natural elements in their most elegant form, as the oversized formats provide a sleek and impressive application that makes a statement of luxury. Tile large flooring projects or create an eye-catching feature wall using the TileBar XL Collection for a glamorous and practical result.
Kitchen Countertops – Large porcelain slabs provide the ideal kitchen countertop. Not only are they durable, but they are also nonporous, making them a safe and healthy option for food preparation and sanitation. Porcelain is also an extremely durable material, and therefore harder to scratch, and almost impossible to stain.
Shower Walls and Bathrooms – Porcelain shower tiles don’t have to only be square-format mosaics or subway tiles. Porcelain slabs for shower walls or bathrooms provide the ultimate glamorous design while maintaining the benefits that make porcelain the number one choice for bathrooms and showers. Get the luxury shower of your dreams without compromise using large format tile made entirely of porcelain.
Special Features – The extra-thin body of these porcelain slabs makes them prone to use for special design features other than walls or floors, such as cabinetry, furniture, or fireplaces. Thanks to technological advancements, today’s porcelain slabs can extend their style and performance to almost every corner of your house, indoors or outdoors.
It is clear that the combination of the benefits of porcelain, its great performance, elegant look, and versatility, with a new size and thin body, is breaks the boundaries of design. Allowing for a new era of design, Thin Porcelain Slabs are changing the game, redefining luxury design both in look and functionality.
Noa is a true artist, both visually and with the written word. She has recently earned her degree in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in NYC, which adds to the already extensive experience in journalism and content creation. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where she cooks dishes from her native Israel and obsesses over pop culture while knitting on the subway.