Material with high technical performance and extremely versatile, the porcelain is used today for a variety of applications, from the floors to coatings , from furniture to ventilated facades , up to the kitchen worktops . It is obtained by the mixture of selected raw materials (clay, quartz and feldspar sands, which are added to pigments based on metal oxides), pressed and then cooked at a temperature of over 1,250 ° C .
The most important qualities of porcelain stoneware , and therefore of the work surfaces made with this material, are:
- the compactness
- the absorbency
- excellent resistance to stains
- the high resistance to impact and scratches
- the inalterability to heat (+ 210 ° C)
- the excellent resistance to corrosion by acids, weak and strong
- ease of cleaning
For the top of the kitchens , slabs of maxi-sized porcelain stoneware (100 x 300 cm and above) and of very thin thickness (3-3.5 mm) are usually used , which can be easily cut, shaped and perforated. It has a monolotic appearance: any joints (not always necessary, given the size) remain invisible.
Unlike the floors made of large tiles, the porcelain stoneware slabs do not present any joints and consequently points where dirt can nest. They are therefore easy to clean and do not require maintenance . If the material is full-bodied, ie uniform in color throughout the thickness, in the rare case of splintering, it can easily be repaired.
Before installation, the porcelain stoneware worktops are cut and drilled to prepare the holes for the taps and the sinks . To fix and handle the large slabs in complete safety, auxiliary aluminum frames, equipped with suction cups, are also used. They are then applied, through special adhesives, to a support , which must be perfectly dry, clean, without cracks and planar. It must also guarantee stability over time.
The best supports for porcelain stoneware are:
- Slabs of marmoresina : mixtures of granules of natural marble with addition of special resins.
- Rigid insulation panels in high density polystyrene : high performance, guarantee dimensional stability and ease of installation.
- Extruded polystyrene foam panels : on both sides they have a hardening layer, free of cementitious substances, covered with non-woven fabric.
- Panels of marine plywood : consisting of the superimposing of veneers of noble wood, it is very resistant to moisture.
- Panels in agglomerate of various types : they are made of poor materials, which are crushed, mixed and then compacted using specific binders.
- Once fixed, the top is finished on the edges and edges to make invisible the junction points between the front layer and the top.