Large format porcelain tile is an emerging product with limitless possibilities. The thing to keep in mind is that this is still a new product and it’s necessary to put in the time thinking of what can go wrong. It’s important to do this with any design, but even more so when working with new materials.
One of the leading manufactures in large format tile is Neolith. They offer tile in 3, 6, 12, and 20mm thickness and slabs up to 3600mm long and 1600m wide. It is available off the counter in a variety of sizes off the shelf or can be cut on site to whatever you need it to be. It is also available in both matte and gloss finishes. When it comes to cutting the tile, an angle grinder is your best bet although some toolmakers offer a score and snap option for tile this size.
Of the more recent and interesting applications we’ve seen for large format tile is countertops. When done correctly, this creates a beautiful space, a very resilient work surface that is available in plenty of colours and is cheaper than its natural stone counterparts. When faced with using this product in a kitchen, we identified a few key areas that needed to be addressed. Most kitchens these days include an overhang to create a seating area. Generally you can simply hang the thicker countertops over the cabinet structure with little complication. Porcelain tile however, has an unfinished surface on the bottom that you won’t want to see and it is too thin to support the weight of a person sitting on it.
We solved this be creating a concealed structure into the cabinet box construction that would support more than enough weight on the over hand and cover the unsightly underside of the tile. The boxes were built ¾” lower than normal to accommodate a frame fastened to the top that cantilevers out to create the bar.
Once the structure was in place, and thoroughly tested to ensure its stability, the finished panels were installed along with drawer and door fronts. Part of these panels includes pieces that wrap around the cantilevered bar structure to conceal it and provide a finish under the bar. We used smooth painted panels to match the colour of the kitchen but this could be done with anything.
The edges of the counter were polished and the corners were smoothed over to remove and sharp or fragile edges. The backsplash was made of 3mm material to save some money and 12mm for the work top.
- Durable and strong
- Easy to clean
- Lots of style options
- Won’t stain
- Easy to match tile
- Large sizes offer more design flexibility
- Edges are brittle
- More work in cabinet construction
- Grain pattern does not continue on edges