Porcelain features in homes are becoming more and more popular and it seems a piece of the stone market is now shifting towards porcelain as well.
Due to this, many stone fabricators who never fabricated porcelain are now being introduced to the “new” material which has different properties and fabrication practices than granite or quartz. For example, a porcelain slab needs relief cuts to reduce internal stress before fabricating.
Porcelain acts closer to glass than stone and some glass fabrication practices are used for thinner sheets of porcelain-like the score and snap method.
Porcelain Event at the Stone Shop - Ankeny, IA
Recently The Stone Shop in Ankeny, IA opened its doors to fabricators from around the country to gather and learn more about the fabrication and installation of porcelain. The Stone Shop is fortunate enough to have not one, but three high quality Breton machines.
They have the Combicut which is the waterjet/saw combination machine that was cutting Dekton and Florim at the event. Their Combicut is equipped with the new patented accessory, Miterwave, which uses a laser instead of the traditional touch prob system for checking the thickness of the material. Miterwave is proven to be much faster and more accurate than the touch prob and can be used in conjunction with the waterjet for real-time compensation of the thickness variation to get perfect miters every time.
At the event was also a Breton NC300 K40 Robocup. The K40 version of the NC300 is Breton’s largest standard worktable for the NC300 router being 157.5”x147.2”. The “Robocup” refers to an optional accessory for the automated placement of vacuum pods via the spindle and an alternate table which eliminates the need for vacuum hoses. The NC300 was cutting out sinks in thin Florim and Dekton with complete ease.
Lastly, at the event, there was a Breton Easyedge, the high-quality line-polishing machine featuring 1 calibration/shaping spindle, 7 dressing spindles, and 2 chamfering spindles to fabricate pieces up to 2.25” thick and 47” wide.
Roberto Colonetti Attended
The famous Roberto Colonetti was in attendance to instruct a session on how to assemble thin sheets of porcelain into a beautiful sink, with a hidden drainboard and drain, after constructing a foam skeleton and using specific CerCol glues for assembly.
Roberto Colonetti is one of the global experts on porcelain tile and was born into the trade. His grandfather Carlo, founder of the Colonetti family’s marble and granite factory in 1901, passed on the legacy to his son Maurizio Colonetti who in turn passed it on to Roberto who is the third generation of this family tradition.
Roberto emigrated to Australia in 2013, where he continued to expand his twenty-years’ experience in the field. In addition, he had the ability to evolve his method of production to the new market trends and is recognized across the planet for it.
Roberto, since 2009 has had to deal with large slabs of porcelain, which was to satisfy the increasing request due to match lightness and multi-functionalism rather than the natural stone which it is not.
The transition from the marble and granite to porcelain was not an easy process. To consolidate his technique, he kept grinding for three years. In addition, Roberto repeatedly had to go back to Italy, to the company that makes the porcelain slabs, in search of advice to solve all of the production problems he encountered.
It all eventually paid off and his constant dedication to getting the best results made Roberto master his methods, allowing an unbelievable outcome. Now, the company that Roberto used to go to for advice asks him to promote his method all around the world to give their clients the best solution for all their production problems.
“It’s been a successful workshop at The Stone Shop in Iowa, for my very first time I’ve been in front of 57 people, a little bit scared for the first 5 min. but after it was like to be in a small class as usual. I started explaining the Colonetti method and I said, 'remember guys, this is not a bible, it’s just a system'. My system is a combination of two important elements, right foam and right glue on a different kind of substrate. Most people are doing a great job but they fail because they’re using the wrong glue, not because they are doing a bad job, glue is fundamental with thin porcelain, I’ve heard people using some spots of silicon when they are installing backsplash, this is totally wrong.....full coverage is IMPERATIVE!!!
Regarding countertop using thin porcelain is how to build the right structure nothing else, I’m saying the same thing many times during the workshop, substrate and right glue is the goal...Since we started to use porcelain we decide to entrust ourselves at Cercol in terms of glue, we are using the phenomenal F49 to glue porcelain to the foam and F50 to glue porcelain on any kind of wood, glass, plastic, steel, and foam as well.
Back to the workshop, during it has been my pleasure to answer many questions; questions mean interest from the attendees. As usual, I’ve created a vanity in front of them showing all the steps from the start to the end. Big thank you at my company European Ceramics based in Perth Australia and all the Sponsors.” - Roberto Colonetti
Breton is here to help with your porcelain needs!
Due to the differences in material properties in porcelain and stone, the way to fabricate and install each are affected. Thin porcelain is relatively fragile, but the foam structure underneath provides great insulation to slight structural movements as it ages and long-term environmental effects take place.
As Roberto stated above, the right glue and gluing method can have much better long-term results than others. The more stone fabricators that learn how to fabricate porcelain, the more prepared they will be when it catches on in the US market in the next year or so.
Breton machines have proven to be prepared for this wave and a big thank you to The Stone Shop for putting on a great event and opening its doors in pursuit of industry education.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form below to find out how Breton USA can help you with your porcelain needs.