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Porcel-Thin Stone Effect Tiles Will Rock Your World

Natural stone isn’t as solid a choice as it first may seem and in a recent feature for Tomorrow’s Tile and Stone Ray Smith – our Managing Director – waxed lyrical on the benefits of stone effect tiles when compared to their natural counterparts.

Manufactured marvels  

Hotel reception featuring Porcel-Thin book matched Calacatta marble effect porcelain wall and floor tiles

“While there are ceramic products on the market, the best stone effect tiles are produced using a porcelain tile as a base,” says Ray, who’s dedicated over 35 years to the tiling industry. “It’s a fascinating manufacturing process to witness – an image of natural stone, such as marble or sandstone, is digitally printed onto the tile whereas for glazed tiles the design is fired and just as effective.

“These reproductions are so good with their low colour and pattern variance, as well as their choice of available finishes – from polished for a sleek contemporary look to matt bolstered by the latest slip-resistance technology for maximum safety – that they’re indistinguishable from the real deal. They do, though, stand out as different to natural stone because they offer longevity without the need for tedious and costly maintenance – all they need is a wipe down and they’re as good as new!” 

This elegant lounge features grey aged Jerusalem limestone effect porcelain floor tiles by Porcel-Thin

Our Calacatta Marble Book Match Tiles are the perfect example of stone effect tiles’ authenticity. Chosen for The Studio Harrods’ vision of a luxury hotel suite submitted to the 2015 Sleep Set competition and for the communal stairway and entrance hall of an exclusive apartment block in London, they’re a hit with interior designers and project specifiers. Not only does the quality of their mimicry produce visual results that are out of this world but their strength and resistance to stains, scratches and chipping is, and will continue to, stand the test of time and traffic.”

Calacatta book matched marble effect porcelain tiles as used for the stairs and walls of this luxury apartment block in North London

Ray continued to tell Tomorrow’s Tile and Stone magazine: “The key to porcelain stone effect tiles’ superiority is that they’re made from the densest high-quality clays that are fired at temperatures in excess of 1400 degrees centigrade. Through vitrification, where the silica in the clay turns to glass and fills the minute gaps in the tile structure, you get is a tile that’s very strong and highly resistant to water ingress.”

Larger than life

When asked his favourite thing about porcelain stone effect tiles, Porcel-Thin’s MD reveals with a smile that size really does matter: “When using natural stone, unfortunately you’re restricted by size unless you have the equipment and man-power to move around heavy slabs. Our thin porcelain tiles offer a lighter more manoeuvrable option and come in larger formats [1200x600mm to 2400x1200mm]. They’re able to simulate the look of large slabs of natural stone, as if cut straight from the quarry, with fewer unsightly grout lines that would intrude on the stone-like characteristics.”

Leviathan Bianco Onyx stone effect giant porcelain tiles used for the floors in a luxury development in Swiss Cottage

Experienced tiler Ray, who frequently demonstrates Porcel-Thin at trade events and believes that preparation is the most important thing when tiling, adds: “It’s not just the look and weight that make large format tiles such as Leviathan a winning choice, they allow faster coverage. Easier to cut, drill and shape than many thick or delicate natural stone alternatives, I’ve frequently seen porcelain stone effect tile projects completed more quickly and benefit from a saving on labour costs, which is always a hit with the client.

Eco-friendly and pocket-friendly

“There are two common misconceptions about porcelain tiles when compared to natural stone,” says Ray: “The first is environmental impact, many assume that the manufacturing process of porcelain tiles takes more energy so must be of more cost to the planet when, in fact, the opposite is true. Compared to standard ceramic production, we use 60% less mineral resources and 40% less energy while producing 50% less carbon emissions.

“The second misconception involves price. I don’t know, maybe it’s because they look so good, but it’s often thought that porcelain tiles are the pricey option. Actually, stone effect tiles are far better value than natural stone and it’s well worth shopping around to look at all your options.” Ray’s right. Marble starts at around £350+VAT per square meter whereas Porcel-Thin’s marble effect Leviathan tiles come in at a pocket-pleasing £90+VAT.

Ground-breaking bacteria busters

Having had their innovative antibacterial tiles shortlisted for this year’s TTS awards, it’s only right that Ray gives them a mention in his final thoughts on the merits of stone effect tiles…

Lavender Blue stone effect antibacterial floor tiles by Porcel-Thin used for a modern kitchen

“Another way that natural stone tiles, and many other tiles come to that, don’t measure up to Porcel-Thin is in the important area of antibacterial action. Last year, we introduced Bac-Tech, an innovative collection of antibacterial tiles containing Zinc Oxide nanoparticles throughout that kill and control harmful bacteria such as MRSA. These come in marble and wood effects of different colours and intensities and will add safety and style to environments where hygiene is of upmost importance, like hospitals, hotels and restaurants. They’re already proving popular in both.”

See our amazing stone effect porcelain tiles for yourself at our London tile showroom


Katy Lassetter

28th February 2018


Porcel-Thin stone effect porcelain wall and floor tiles