Natural stone is one of earth’s oldest building materials, used in stately homes and national monuments. In building tomorrow’s landmarks, architects and designers seek its timeless look. However, some of the most beautiful and desired stones such as limestone and sandstone are also the softest, most porous and problematic in the long term.
Porcelain is harder and stronger but most porcelains can't match stone’s gorgeous color variation and texture. To solve both the value-engineering and actual engineering of spaces that will last, specifiers need a porcelain with stone’s beauty.
Limestone and sandstone are sedimentary rocks, created in nature by the layering of tiny particles of clay, minerals and sand. Dutch tile manufacturer Mosa has developed an exclusive process, Ultragres. By letting grains of different sizes and shades of colour fall into place naturally and then compressing them, we can produce a tile with a finish and character that is every bit as beautiful as natural stone. With the aesthetic issue managed, the remaining question is:
Where should porcelain be used?
- High traffic areas: In public spaces stone is susceptible to wear patterns, scratching and staining. Exceptionally wear and impact resistant, Mosa tiles are widely used in stores, universities, resorts, airports and railroad stations.
- Where easy maintenance is required: Ideal for hotels, restaurants, hospitals, offices and busy households, porcelain has lower absorption rates, requiring less maintenance than stone. Unlike stone, porcelain never requires sealing.
- Outdoors: Porcelain is frost-resistant and lightweight, easier to install and less costly than natural stone which requires extreme thickness in order to resist breakage from freeze-thaw conditions.
- In wet areas: Porous sandstones and limestones can't be used in wet areas. An Ultragres porcelain has low absorption rates that exceed ASTM standards.
- Where safety is a concern: There are safety standards set for porcelain, but not for stone. Choose porcelain poolside, in spas, lobbies, stairways, walkways and anywhere there’s a public safety concern. Mosa products exceed acceptable slip-resistance standards.
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unglazed porcelain floor tiles,
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Mosa Magazine provides news and inspiration for designing with tile; the articles are not intended as technical documents.