11 February 2024
4 min read
From marble and granite to ceramic and porcelain, there are many options today when specifying stone in residential and commercial projects for kitchen bench tops, bathroom vanity tops, fireplace surrounds, skirting and tiling.
To help make the decision easier, Y J Stone is always searching for the highest quality stone at affordable prices to distribute across New Zealand.
The latest product added to its repertoire is Italian-made porcelain slabs by MATERIA, part of ABK Group.
“Unlike a lot of stones, porcelain is a very versatile product that can be used indoors and outdoors,” says Y J Stone’s Paul Nicholson. “It can be used as a cladding, around swimming pools, as floor tiling and for kitchen bench tops – it’s suitable for a range of uses.”
Made from mixtures of inert materials selected for their purity and fusibility, MATERIA slabs are made with a processing technology that accelerates the process of particle transformation – one that over thousands of years results in the creation of natural stone. The raw materials are compacted to a high density (450kg per cm2) and then fired at a temperature of more than 1200ºC to complete the sintering process. This gives the slabs an extremely high level of durability and performance, regardless of their intended use.
“This process makes the slabs waterproof, non-porous and highly hygienic. They also won’t suffer from deterioration,” says Nicholson.
Unlike a lot of stones, porcelain is a very versatile product that can be used indoors and outdoors.
Kitchen bench tops
Resistant to thermal shock as a result of the sintering process, hot cooking pots and pans can be placed directly on the porcelain slabs. Chemicals are unable to penetrate the surface, and there's no need to worry about scratches and dents from everyday use – making the material an ideal choice for kitchen bench tops and splashbacks.
“There’s also a lot of technology that can be incorporated with this material," says Nicholson.
"There’s technology coming through with these stones that allows you to put induction cooktops underneath the stone – cooking pots can be placed straight on top, making it a seamless, flat bench top. You can also put technology such as phone chargers underneath the porcelain.”
In the bathroom
MATERIA’s porcelain slabs also perform well in a bathroom environment and can be used for vanity tops, washbasins, and even shower trays.
“Porcelain is a very safe material. It’s a very hygienic product to use, which is particularly important in kitchens and bathrooms. This is because it’s non-porous and you don’t need to worry about bacteria and germs getting into the surface,” says Nicholson.
A great alternative to natural marble tops, the material is a popular choice for custom furniture including dining tables, office desks, coffee tables, bookcases and shelves in residential and commercial interiors and exteriors.
“Visually, porcelain is beautiful and there’s a huge range of colours available,” says Nicholson. “We’re bringing in a small range to begin with, but depending on what a customer’s need is there is a wide range to choose from.”
Visually, porcelain is beautiful and there’s a huge range of colours available.
Walls and flooring
With MATERIA slabs, it is possible to cover floors and walls with different material effects ranging from cement and metal to stone and marble, both in residential and public spaces, including hotels, restaurants and retail projects as well as bathrooms and spas.
“The slabs we have at Y J Stone are 3.2 by 1.6 metres, so they’re very compatible with standard-sized slabs already in the market. Predominantly, our available slabs are 12 millimetres in thickness.
“For other colours and sizes, the lead time is roughly eight to 10 weeks out of Italy.”
Building and facades
Available in three different thicknesses to best meet the needs of different projects, the properties of this product allow it to be used as exterior wall coverings.
Made in Italy, MATERIA porcelain slabs are produced under ABK Group’s values – including the elimination of toxic materials in the production cycle to protect the environment.
During production, the emissions from ABK Group’s plants remain consistently below the limits permitted by current regulations, zero water is discharged into the environment with all water reused in the industrial process, energy consumption is reduced by recovering heat from the plants, and all processing residues of glazes and raw materials are reused in the manufacturing cycle.
To learn more about using MATERIA porcelain slabs in your next project, get in touch with Y J Stone.