Large format tiles vs Flexible stone veneers

Large format tiles vs Flexible stone veneers

Whether you’ve been looking at cladding options for your floor, walls, splashbacks, bathrooms or bedrooms, no doubt you’ve likely done some research on large format tiles. Since tiles come in a variety of sizes, shapes & materials, they are, without doubt, a very popular choice for both floor & wall covering. Large format tiles, in particular, have become extremely popular over the past few years, owing to the elegant appearance & the illusion of spaciousness that they create in a small area.
But wait – before you go ahead with your decision on using large format tiles as a cladding option, whether for flooring or walls, it’s important to weight the pros & cons, & to make a better decision, especially if there is a more suitable alternative. So, let’s take a few minutes & see what large format tiles are, & whether or not they’re the best cladding option available to you.

What are large format tiles?

Large format tiles are also known as “slab tiles”, due to their large size & thin profile, & usually measure 12 by 24 inches (sometimes, even larger). Same as most regular tiles, slab tiles are a type of ceramic or porcelain tiles. These large format tiles are known for durability, ease of maintenance, & are used in both residential & commercial flooring more popularly, especially due to the sleek & modern look it brings.
There are a few features in large format tiles that make it a crowd pleaser – slab tiles are usually available in a wide variety of colours, patterns & finishes, & these finishes can bring a matte, polished or textured look, depending on what you’re going for. Applications are almost as wide as the type of tiles, since it can be used in living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms & even outdoors. Most importantly, large format tiles are ideal to give a seamless appearance, since there are fewer grout lines to interrupt the flow.
Keeping this in mind, let’s explore the advantages & disadvantages of slab tiles.

What are the pros in using large format tiles?

• Seamless appearance due to lesser grout lines

This is the main advantage in using large format tiles. Since slab tiles are larger than standard tiles, they do not need as much as grout lines to cover a space of application. This helps to create an uninterrupted & smooth surface, which in turn gives the area an elegant & spacious feel to it.

• The spacious feel it gives to any size room

The 2nd most priority advantages you’ll consider in using slab tiles is that they help to create an illusion of spaciousness, especially in unusually small or crowded rooms. At the same time, since large format tiles are larger than standard tiles, they make an area feel more expensive & richer than it really is.

• Easy maintenance

When compared with standard tiles or small tiles, slab tiles are easier to maintain. Since large format tiles have lesser grout lines to clean, it’s relatively easier to keep the tiles looking clean & sparkling.

• Flexibility in choosing designs

Large format tiles, same as standard tiles or small tiles, offer an almost unlimited amount of design options, from different colours to patterns & textures, so you could create a unique look in your home or office. It also helps substantially that slab tiles can be installed both indoors & outdoors.
So, we discussed the pros of using slab tiles, & this is mainly it. Shall we now have a look at the cons of using large format tiles?
What are the cons in using large format tiles?

• Installation can be challenging & time consuming

One of the main disadvantages in using slab tiles is that they will definitely need skilled professionals for installation. The large size, while have its own benefits, are heavier than standard tiles, which in turn means it’s more difficult to handle & install. Also, if the tiles aren’t installed properly, they will crack or get damaged with time, & repair costs can be quite high.

• More likely to crack or chip than standard tiles

Slab tiles are more likely to crack than standard tiles or smaller tiles. The large & heavy profile means that it’s difficult to handle & install, which means that improper or incorrect installation results in cracks & damage over time. One crucial point to be noted here is that slab tiles are less flexible than standard tiles or smaller tiles, so they are more vulnerable to damages from impacts.

• Cost factor when compared with standard tiles

Slab tiles are much more expensive when compared with standard tiles or smaller tiles, simply because the large size increases the cost to produce & transport, while also requiring special handling. In addition to this, large format tiles require skilled professionals for installation, so you can be sure that the labour cost is going to be higher as well.

• The need for professional installers

With the current economy, on top of purchasing the already expensive slab tiles, you’ll also have to get down skilled professionals for installation, which will increase the labour cost. Large format tiles are definitely not a DIY product, not even as much as the standard tiles or smaller tiles, so once you measure the area of application, you can see whether the high labour cost can be included in the budget for the renovation project.
Considering the pros & cons in using slab tiles, you may feel the need to see whether there’s a better alternative. Thankfully, there is! This is where natural stone veneers come in.

What are natural stone veneers?

Natural stone veneers are sustainably extracted with a minimum carbon footprint from 100% natural metamorphic rock. It results in a thin layer of stone which is attached to a backing, which is most commonly fiberglass, but could also be fabric or translucent.

This backing, with the thinness of the stone layer (1.5 mm to 2.0 mm) gives not only tremendous durability, but also ensures a light-weight & easy to install stone veneer. The stone surface provides natural water & heat resistant, which means that it can be installed both indoors & outdoors.

Natural stone veneers can be installed on top of any substrate, including glass, tiles, cement, wood, brick & render. From floors to walls & ceilings, applications are only limited by your creativity, with the most common applications being splashbacks, feature walls, fireplaces, bathrooms, bedrooms, & furniture. For anyone who’s interest in DIY products, you can be sure that this is the best stone product that you can install on your own, with a few household tools & easily available adhesives & sealants.

Pros of using flexible stone veneers

1. Durability
The stone surface speaks for itself. Since the surface of the veneer is natural stone, it’s durable & resistant to extreme weather conditions, whether scorching hot or freezing cold. This is the main reason that it can be installed outdoors. Unlike so many other cladding options, the stone surface is also resistant to scratching & chipping, & with the proper installation & maintenance, it’s bound to last a lifetime.

2. Ease of installation
Unlike most cladding options, flexible stone veneers are extremely light-weight, only being around 1.5 kilos per standard sheet. That, combined with the thinness, contributes to ease of installation, to the point where the product is DIY. No need for special equipment or an installation team, just an angle grinder to cut the sheets, a PU adhesive to paste it, & finally a penetrative sealant on top of the surface. You’ll not only save up on labour cost, but also, it’ll be something fun for you to look forward to do in the weekend, especially if you’re a DIY enthusiast!

3. Versatility of application
Natural stone veneers can be installed on both indoor & outdoor surfaces, but that’s not the best part – seeing that it can endure extreme weather conditions as well as be installed on top of any kind of substrate, applications are limitless for your home renovation or building construction project, from indoor & outdoor floors to walls & even ceilings. Common applications that’s popular include splashbacks, feature walls, fireplace exteriors & even furniture! It’s also a beautiful product to install on your cabinetry, bathrooms & bedrooms.

4. Water & heat resistance
Natural stone veneers are naturally water & heat resistant, since the surface is natural stone. So, you can install it in places where water & heat resistance is an absolute necessity, including outdoors.

5. Visual appeal
Natural stone veneers have an elegant look, whether it’s installed indoors or outdoors. The natural stone surface is unique in appearance & since each sheet is unique from the other, it creates a theme of its own.

6. Low maintenance
Once a penetrative sealant is applied on the stone surface after installation, it’ll preserve the surface & the most basic dust & day to day dirt can be easily cleaned with water.

7. Lightweight
Unlike other cladding options, the natural stone veneer is an extremely thin slice of rock, weighing only around 1.5 kilos per standard sheet, so it’s the perfect solution when you want an elegant stone appearance, without the weight & difficulty in installation. It’s also perfect for installation on structures that are unable to bear heavy weights.

8. Affordability
Compared with other cladding options & considering the advantages it offers, natural stone veneers are affordable. Not only saving up on the labour cost if you do it on your own, but each sheet is extremely cost effective for the benefits & unique stone look it offers.
So, considering the advantages of both flexible stone veneers & large format tiles, which would you prefer to use in your office or home renovation project?

Food for thought…

There is no doubt that large format tiles come with their own advantages, but you need to make a good decision thinking in the long term, especially since whichever cladding option you choose needs to last a long time & need to be within your budget. Large format tiles may weight around 15 to 60 kilo’s per square meter, & this is a very important factor you need to consider, especially for transport. If your project is a little distant from the place that you’re getting the tiles from, then it’s more than likely that a few tiles may chip, crack or break during the transport, unless it’s adequately packaged to withstand the journey. Not only this, but it becomes more difficult to handle during installation as well, & there’s a chance for a few more to crack, break or chip during installation unless the professional installers are being extremely careful. This issue isn’t something to consider with flexible stone veneers. The standard natural stone veneer weighs around 1.5 kilos, while the larger format natural stone veneer will weigh around 6.5 kilos, so comparatively, there’s a big difference in the weight of these two. On top of that, natural stone veneers are flexible enough to go on curves, which large format tiles definitely can’t do. Durability-wise, while large format tiles are definitely durable enough for some smaller projects, they cannot equal the natural stone surface in terms of durability. Finally, even if you’re not a DIY enthusiast, you can be sure that you can find a local tiler who’d install the natural stone veneers for a much better price than what they would charge to install the much more heavier & difficult to handle slab tiles. Choose wisely!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *