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PORCELAIN SLABS…THINK BIGGER

PORCELAIN TILE JUST KEEPS GETTING BIGGER

While porcelain slabs (also called gauged porcelain slabs or thin porcelain) are relatively new to the US market, they are very popular in Europe. Huge slabs, as large as 64” x 126” are available today in thin profiles of 1/4” (6 mm) and 3/8” (10 mm). Designed as a cost-effective, maintenance-free alternative to stone slabs, these giant porcelain slabs bring projects the scale and elegant style of natural stone, while expressing all the benefits of porcelain in a product of unrivaled performance and appearance.

While tile and porcelain slabs come in many different sizes, we define a porcelain slab as a single porcelain tile that measures 10 square feet or greater. They are perfect for wide open spaces and for those looking to create more seamless designs with minimal grout lines.

VERSATILE

Homeowners, designers and contractors already know the beauty of porcelain for floors and walls. It’s durable, easy to maintain and it’s gorgeous. While porcelain slabs are ideal for commercial applications, there are many uses for them in your home, including countertops (porcelain is 30% more durable than granite and much more affordable). In fact, you can use them just about everywhere except inside a pool or for shower floors. Look at all the places you can use porcelain slabs in your home.

ECO FRIENDLY

Thin porcelain slabs are recyclable and consist of up to 70% less material than regular porcelain tiles. This means they use less energy during production and transportation. They contain less minerals and create less carbon and other solid emissions. Tile has always been categorized as a green building material and thin porcelain slabs just takes it up a notch.

HANDLING AND INSTALLATION

Many experienced tile installers already have the skills necessary to install porcelain slabs although they may need a few new tools and use different installation materials such as thin-set and grout. Because of their size, we recommend that suction cups made for tile be used to carry the slabs. In addition, your installer will need a slab cutter to properly cut these giant tiles. Tiles Unlimited recommends Montolit Tools. Their suction cups allow for safe and easier handling while their Slab Cutter will handle slabs as big as 134″. Check out the slab cutter in action in the video below.

INSTALLATION

Due to their large size, porcelain slabs are less forgiving of surfaces that are not flat. Slab manufacturers recommend no more than a 1/8″ variance over a 10 foot span. The vast majority of surfaces will need to be prepped with a self-leveling underlayment such as MAPEI Ultraplan Easy or patching compound such as MAPEI Quickpatch.

Dal Tile, a leading manufacturer of porcelain slabs recommends using a ½ inch thick high-density foam backer or cement board directly to the slab for better support, especially when cutting holes for sinks and faucets. Slabs should not be applied directly to plywood attached to cabinets. However, porcelain slabs can be installed directly over existing natural stone or other solid surfaces on the countertop or vertical surface.

It is crucial that porcelain slabs have at least  90% thin-set contact. As with all large-format tile, a thin-set made for large-format tile such as MAPEI Ultraflex LFT is necessary and back buttering is highly recommended.  You should always refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions for preferred setting materials and tools for optimal results.

PORCELAIN SLABS…THINK BIGGER