There are many options for wall and floor materials when renovating a bathroom. One popular option is porcelain.
Is Porcelain Good for a Bathroom?
Porcelain is often used for bathrooms because it is durable and nonabsorbent, so it should not discolor over time. Porcelain is an easy-to-clean strong material that is available in an assortment of designs and price points. Overall, porcelain is a popular and safe choice for bathroom floors and walls.
At Fontan Architecture, an NYC-based architecture firm we work on various project types including residential interiors. I will discuss why porcelain has become a prevalent material for bathroom walls and floors. All photos below are from homes we built or renovated.
Porcelain is Nonporous / Nonabsorbent
The surface of porcelain is very dense and hard. The nature of the material makes it more resistant to discoloration because it does not absorb as much as natural materials may. Porcelain is more likely to keep its color and tone over time, making it a good choice for durability.
Easy To Clean
Porcelain tile is generally easy to clean. Usually, anything on it wipes off. You can clean it with just water or a solution of water and a small amount of white vinegar or various cleaning products.
Wide Range of Colors & Designs
Porcelains will come in an extensive range of colors and designs. Some porcelains look like marble or concrete, while others are solid colors. They can even have textures to them. I always advise seeing samples in person before purchasing porcelain tiles.
As an architect in New York, we have many showrooms to visit to see examples of different finishes. I like to see and touch tiles before deciding to purchase.
If you are interested, we have another post on Gray Bathroom Design that features several porcelain bathrooms.
Inexpensive Compared to Marble
In general, porcelain comes in a range of price points. If you compare porcelain tile to marble, it can be around one-third the price of marble.
In the photo below, we have a porcelain bathroom from one of our projects where we used two types of large-format porcelain tile. Although there is no real comparison between the look of porcelain to marble, it is a pretty good approximation. We have another post if you want to see more on Marble Look Porcelain.
Wood Look Options
Porcelain can come in wood looks as well. The advantage of using porcelain that looks like wood over using real wood is that wood is a natural and absorbent material. Porcelain is nonabsorbent. Therefore porcelain will perform better over time in a wet environment.
In the shower below, we used a wood look porcelain tile that emulates wood slats
Available in Large Format
Large format tiles, also called slabs, are a great way to elevate a bathroom design. Slabs look more luxurious but also cost more. Large format tiles reduce the number of grout lines. If you get pieces large enough, you may be able to do one whole slab from floor to ceiling. In the picture below, we used large-format porcelain tiles from Porcelanosa in the Manhattan apartment.
My favorite thing about porcelain tiles is that we can use them to create a modern bathroom design. At our firm, we tend towards modern design, and most of our clients are looking for a contemporary aesthetic. Porcelain comes in enough options that you can easily find something that works with your taste.
In the photo below, we have a very modern and somewhat industrial-looking bathroom from a Manhattan Loft Apartment that we renovated a few years ago. We used a gray industrial-looking porcelain tile to be consistent with the loft feel of the apartment. If you want to read more on modern bathrooms, I wrote another post on How to Design a Modern Bathroom.
Can Have 3D Accents
Porcelain can also come in 3D Accent Tiles. These are tiles with a three-dimensional texture that you can install to pop out and give a little extra design to your bathroom. Just use it in the right spot to elevate the bathroom. You don’t need to overdo it.
Porcelain is a good choice for a bathroom, but there are other options. As an architect, I want to make the right bathroom for people when I design homes for them. Personal taste, budget, and preferences are all important factors when selecting finish materials. Porcelain can be a good choice for someone who does not care about natural stones and wants a durable, long-lasting option that will still look good.
Thank You for Reading Our Blog Post on Why Porcelain is a Good Choice For Bathrooms.
I hope this was helpful. If you would like to speak with an architect about a potential project, you can contact us at Fontan Architecture directly.
This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.