Large porcelain stoneware slabs

Large stoneware slabs 

In this WIKI we talk about large porcelain stoneware slabs, one of the products most requested by our customers in Vicenza and Verona for both floors and walls. It is a product that is also revolutionising the world of indoor and outdoor furnishings, with fabulous aesthetic results and the resistance and characteristics of stoneware. 

On this page you will find information, advice, photos and achievements that will help you to understand the potential of these stoneware slabs, which many people are describing as one of the most important and revolutionary innovations ever to take place in the world of ceramics. 

Here are the topics you will find on this page:

Large stoneware slabs like precious marbles

The name: "large stoneware slabs"


The name "slabs" or "large slabs", which is taking the place of "large format tiles", is deserved because of the dimensions reached by these tiles, which reach and exceed three metres in length and one and a half metres in width. These dimensions make them look like a completely different product from the stoneware tiles from which they originated.

Features

There are many features of these tiles that differ from traditional ceramic tiles. In addition to their size, they are extraordinarily light due to their low thickness and flexible.
These are all factors that are allowing this new type of tile to be used in areas previously precluded to ceramics.

New uses

When we use the term tiles, we are referring to products that can be used for floor and wall coverings. New and amazing applications can be created with tiles! You will see, in fact, how with these new slabs we are already able to create stoneware tables, or to cover interior doors in your home, to create a made-to-measure kitchen, perhaps with a monolithic-looking island, or bar counters or reception desks with stoneware slabs with a metallic look.

Advantages and disadvantages

From building facades to kitchen tops: porcelain stoneware tiles in large formats are successfully spreading into new areas, but are they really suitable? What are the advantages and problems of this material? Large slabs, as you will discover, also have disadvantages and pose problems that need to be considered carefully. If you have the patience to read this page you will find out!

Using large marble-effect slabs for a bathroom

Porcelain stoneware slabs: the production process

The production process of porcelain stoneware slabs differs from the normal production of ceramic tiles, although it shares many of the same aspects. In this article we will briefly outline the production aspects which, if you wish, can be explored in more detail in other articles on our website.

Selection and mixing of clays

The stoneware production process begins with the selection of the raw materials, a mixture of clayey soils, sands and minerals. In the case of stoneware slabs, this mixture is different from normal tiles and is the result of research and experimentation that has been going on for more than 10 years. 
Once the raw materials have been selected and mixed, they have to be pressed in order to give them the desired shape, this production phase is called:

Forming 

This stage of production of stoneware slabs is the one that differs most from the production of "traditional" ceramic tiles. To produce the tiles, the mixture of clays is deposited in a tray and a press brings down a pad that forms the tile by crushing the raw clay, thus forming the tiles. For large stoneware slabs, the clay is dropped into a continuous belt and run through two cylinders that perform a "continuous" pressing on the belt. In this way, a continuous compound of pressed clay is obtained, which is then cut into varying sizes according to demand. The result is very long (raw) tiles which, once fired, can be transformed into ceramic slabs. But before they are fired, they must be decorated.... And so we come to the stage of:

Glazing

The glazing phase consists of decorating the surface of the tile. It should be noted that some tiles on the market (but there are very few) do not require glazing, as the colour of the body of the tile is the same as the surface. Most are glazed to achieve marble, wood, metal, stone, etc. effects. This is achieved thanks to very large digital printers that reproduce high-definition photographs on the raw ceramic support. The glaze penetrates the clay and, once fired, becomes a single part of the slab, guaranteeing the resistance to wear and staining that is typical of stoneware.
The last phase is the:

Firing

The tiles are transported by rollers inside a kiln that reaches very high temperatures, in many cases exceeding 1200 degrees centigrade. The clay mixture pressed to form the tile vitrifies and acquires the typical compactness of ceramics. All that remains is to gradually cool the slabs and package them.


If you want to learn more about the production process, you can find more in-depth explanations here:the production of large porcelain stoneware slabs

Machinery for producing stoneware slabs

The two main producers of machinery for the ceramic industry who have specialised in plants for the production of large-size porcelain stoneware slabs are System and Sacmi. These two companies have developed, through years of research and experimentation, two machines capable of producing the slabs. System's machine is called "Lamgea", while Sacmi's is called "Continua". 

The two machines work in a similar way, with the process we have just described, but they are not completely identical and in fact the final products will have different characteristics.

In addition, there are many things that make the difference between one producer and another:

  • The mixture of clays that is used (there are more and less expensive clays, more and less performance);
  • The absolute firing temperature and the firing curve set in the kiln (firing at a higher temperature costs more);
  • The glazes used;
  • The number of graphic decorations that are reproduced on the slabs (the more graphics reproduced, the more beautiful the final result);
  • The consistency between the surface glaze and the body of the tile.

By varying these ingredients we will also have a greater or lesser ease of cutting the slabs, a greater or lesser capacity for chipping or fracturing, etc.

Large stoneware slabs in precious marble effect

Stoneware slabs: You decide the format!

One of the revolutionary things about stoneware slabs is the possibility of obtaining, from the continuous strip of pressed clay, sizes which, as well as being very large, can be determined by market requirements. 

100x300

The first slabs were produced in 100x300 cm format. This format, however, is not very consistent with the dimensions of the bathrooms we are covering. The height of the rooms is usually 270 centimetres, so having slabs of 300 centimetres means always having to cut at least the last 30 centimetres. Today, formats such as

120x240

Manufacturers have understood the need of us interior designers to have more space in width (for example in the shower corner we manage, in width, not to have joints from the corner to the shower box) and to have more "human" dimensions in height. 

120x270

The 240 format is often flanked by slabs with a height of 270, which allow us to create beautiful wall coverings that reach the ceiling, without the strip of paint that makes many "90s".
Some people suggest a height of 278 cm, so as to be able to cover the entire wall in height even in flats that are taller than the standard.

160x320

But manufacturers also offer the very large 160x320 format, which is very useful, for example, for covering counters or other pieces of furniture. This really huge format is also used on large extensions such as large shopping centres, shops, airports etc.

Other formats
The large size of the ceramic stoneware slabs gives us another possibility, that of keeping in stock only the large size slabs and to obtain "just in time" all the other sizes, cutting them at the moment of the order. For example, you could ask us to have a "non-standard" format in your home that would allow you to have a perfect distribution of the tiles, with all pieces in one piece and no cutouts in correspondence with the walls. Today this is feasible. And probably, in a few years time, it will be completely normal. 

In short, a revolution is taking place in the world of ceramic floor and wall tiles thanks to these large stoneware slabs. 

 

Large slabs: comparing two types

A bathroom with large decorated slabs in Trissino (Vicenza)

Large stoneware slabs: the problems

The main problems you may encounter if you decide to use large slabs to make floors or walls in your home are the difficulties in working with them.

Complexity in processing and handling stoneware slabs

Processing, i.e. cutting, drilling, edge processing, etc., is more complex than for a normal tile. This is obviously due to the larger dimensions which make the equipment normally used by a tile layer useless, but also due to the inherent characteristics of these "new" tiles. As we shall see later, special equipment is needed to handle, cut, drill and vibrate these tiles. 

Dangerous tensions inside the stoneware slabs

In particular, the most insidious thing is the presence of "tensions" inside the slab which cause it to break at the moment of cutting or drilling or immediately after installation. These tensions have different origins, but the two main causes are a mixture of poor quality clays and poor management of the firing curve of the product, especially in the cooling phase, which must be as slow as possible. 

According to my experience on the building site, these tensions are almost always revealed when the slab is cut or drilled and end up turning into fractures that irreparably damage the product. More rarely do they occur when the tile is laid.

Grandi lastre in gres problemi
The price of stoneware slabs

As always, as with all products, there are different qualities, there are stoneware slabs that have different prices and different production costs. Certainly, large slabs are not cheap, but it is a question of understanding which are the best companies and the "safest" products.
By way of example only: a 5 millimetre slab of polished marble-effect stoneware reinforced on the back with a fibreglass mesh is generally safer than an identical, unreinforced 6 millimetre slab. A slab one centimetre thick is much more difficult to work with, heavy for the installer and generally less flexible and more tensioned: a slab of less thickness is better, even at the same price. 
To this must be added considerations on the type of clays used, the firing temperature... in short. There are many factors that influence the price, but the technical characteristics of the slabs, which differ greatly from company to company, must be carefully considered.

If you are curious about these aspects, I suggest you take a look at this article in which we go into the various types (depending on the production plant used and the manufacturers) and the correlation with the problems that can arise with large slabs: Large slabs: types, brands, issues

Exposition of large porcelain stoneware slabs in Vicenza

Laying large stoneware slabs

The first critical element we have listed concerns the difficulty of handling, cutting and laying the large slabs. This is a fundamental aspect that has also led to a certain "rejection" of these beautiful products. Clearly the inexperienced craftsman wants to avoid problems and risks and therefore prefers to recommend traditional products that he knows and can handle.

On the other hand, large slabs have very little to do with the 'old' tiles. The installation must take into account the characteristics of the material and its incredible dimensions, which require different equipment and laying techniques.

We have dedicated an in-depth study to the methods for laying large slabs, but here I will mention some of the precautions that are necessary:

  • You need special tools for cutting and drilling, derived from glass-working tools;
  • It is necessary to have a machine for making the edges (jolly) at 45 degrees; making them by hand is complex and almost always unappreciated;
  • Both floor and wall tiles need to be double coated;
  • In many cases it is necessary to use a desolidarising and anti-fracture membrane on the floor;
  • In many cases it is necessary to use a desolidarising and anti-fracture membrane on the floor;
  • Bars, suction cups and trolleys must be used to move the slabs around the site.
  • Le grandi lastre in grès porcellanato
    The incredible dimensions of the large slabs
  • There are numerous online videos explaining how to lay slabs, as well as videos organised by the manufacturers and also by specialist shops (we also organise these) in order to train tilers. For a tiler accustomed to marble slabs, it is a bit easier than for a tiler who comes from years of experience with small format tiles.
  • Read more about slab laying in this dedicated article: large slabs: how to lay them

Show room dedicated to large ceramic slabs in Vicenza

Large slabs and installation equipment


As well as having to work in teams of at least two people, but preferably three, as well as having to learn new laying techniques, using cautions and shrewdness unknown in the tile world, the slab installer must also equip himself with a series of special equipment.


 

grandi lastre attrezzature posa

 

The slabs must be handled with care and transported using special bars with suction cups. Cutting and drilling must also be carried out using special tools and techniques. And there are tools and instruments for trimming and machining the edge. There's a reason why the tile installer will ask you at least double the cost of laying a small tile... 

Find out which tools are used: Large slabs: laying equipment

Vicenza: large stoneware slabs for kitchen top

Large ceramic slabs for tables

When we think of the kitchen table we want it to be beautiful, elegant, large but also stain resistant, easy to clean, unalterable over time and resistant to scratches and nicks. This is why large stoneware slabs are the perfect material for the kitchen table top. Oil may spill into the kitchen, vinegar, coffee, lemon... all of which would have serious consequences on marble.

Tavolo rivestito in gres

The beauty of these large stoneware slabs, however, lies in their ability to withstand all kinds of "stress" for years without any problems. And, clearly, this applies to the table in your home as well as the tables in a bar or restaurant. 

We have talked about this in this article in which we also show you a number of tables made using porcelain stoneware slabs, which you can explore by clicking the link below:

Large slabs become beautiful stoneware tables

Large stoneware slabs can be used to make wonderful stoneware tables like the ones you can see by clicking here:

PORCELAIN STONEWARE TABLES

porcelain stoneware tables

Large slabs for fireplace cladding 


A fireplace consists of a single block and cladding, generally in marble. But more and more customers are interpreting it in a modern way by building fireplaces in plasterboard and then applying all kinds of finishes. However, no matter how resistant and accurate the paintwork may be, it cannot last forever, especially in this context. The presence of smoke (even closed fireplaces give off smoke when wood is loaded) also makes it necessary to clean the surfaces frequently, otherwise they will blacken. 

Camino rivestito con grandi lastre

Well, in such cases there is now a perfect solution and it is precisely the large stoneware slabs. These can be applied to the vertical surfaces of the fireplace but can also be assembled to form the top and provide a number of advantages:

  • they are not affected by heat
  • they are not damaged by frequent cleaning
  • they have the aesthetics of materials such as marble, wood, metal and stone.
  • If you use the fireplace for cooking, the slabs do not absorb cooking oil. 

If you would like to learn more about these aspects, we have dedicated an article to fireplaces made with large slabs, where you will find numerous examples to draw inspiration from.
Here it is:

Large slabs dress beautiful fireplaces

Large slabs can be used, as an alternative to marble, to clad fireplaces or stoves. In addition to aesthetics, they offer unrivalled resistance to heat:

fireplaces clad with large slabs

Large slabs to cover living room walls

Large slabs can become design objects such as bookcases, shelves, coffee tables or TV stands.
Designing made-to-measure furniture elements using the same material that covers the floors of the house makes it possible to give uniformity and coherence, to avoid confusion and contrasts.

Those who prefer harmonious combinations can now find a perfect, long-lasting solution for their homes with ceramic clad furniture. The durability of ceramic and the ease with which it can be cleaned and sanitised is also a plus!

libreria a parete con grès effetto legno

Ceramic as a furnishing element is also beginning to spread into shops and shopping centres, used on floors and walls, perhaps with a metallic or resin effect. Here too, the ease with which the product can be cleaned, its strength and harmonious aesthetics are stimulating designers to use large, thin slabs as design objects.

We have collected ideas and photos in this article dedicated to furnishing the living room with large slabs:

Living room wall cladding with large slabs

You can decide to value the living room furniture covering some walls with beautiful large slabs. Here are some examples and ideas:

large slabs to clad the living room walls

Large stoneware slabs to cover doors

On the subject of using large format tiles to cover a living room: what if we wanted to make concealed doors and also cover them with thin stoneware slabs? Today it is possible: thanks to 3.5 mm thick slabs, it is possible to cover not only the walls but also the doors so that they are almost invisible on the wall.

Here is an example:

 

Large slabs in furniture: retractable walls and doors

Garden planters with large stoneware slabs


Large porcelain stoneware slabs can also be used to make beautiful garden pots or planters, perhaps in the same colour as the flooring you have chosen for your driveway or pavement.

Find out all about flooring in large slabs and porcelain stoneware: exterior floors in large slabs

Compared to marble or stone, a planter made with stoneware slabs is indestructible and non-absorbent, resistant to frost and weather and you can have it in any colour and surface, choosing from metal effects, cement effects, wood effects, marble effects...

Below you will find lots of ideas and photos:

 

Garden planters made from large stoneware slabs

Photos, achievements and ideas for making garden pots using large porcelain stoneware slabs:

planters with large stoneware slabs

Outdoor flooring in large slabs of stoneware

There are many materials that can be used to pave the outside of villas, houses and homes, including porcelain stoneware which, over the years, has joined and replaced other types of ceramic tiles.
Today there are both thick tiles that can be laid floating, and large and very large tiles with specific surfaces and characteristics for outdoor use.
We have discussed this in this article:

Outdoor flooring in large slabs

Large format tiles can also be used outdoors where, however, special care must be taken to avoid expansion and fractures. Changes in temperature and movements of the floor must be anticipated and managed using appropriate laying techniques:

LARGE SLABS AS EXTERNAL FLOORING

Large slabs as external flooring

Bathrooms and large stoneware slabs: some achievements

We started using the first prototypes of large slabs in 2012, and we started with the bathroom!

As those who know us know, the bathroom is our "core business" and designing bathrooms is our passion, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to use this new material right away.
We are convinced that large slabs have found their ideal environment in the bathroom, raising the bar of aesthetics considerably. The results, as you will see, are extraordinary and (some of) them we have documented below:

Realisation 1: slate effect large slabs combined with mosaic

Large slabs of slate-effect stoneware combined with silver mosaic for this bathroom in Verona, which also features a bathtub in the middle of the room on an oval stoneware slab. In the link below the photos of the intervention and the finished bathroom.

Bathroom in mosaic and large slabs in Verona

Realisation 2: Large stoneware slabs for an elegant bathroom

A very elegant bathroom made with large slabs of Carrara marble-effect stoneware. We also took great care with the lighting and the furniture. Here are all the photos of the beautiful home. 

large carrara slabs for an elegant bathroom

Realisation 3: Large slabs with metal-effect in a modern bathroom

In this renovation in Montecchio Maggiore (VI), we created the bathrooms using large metal-effect slabs in an iron-grey shade and combined them with Venetian-style terrazzo flooring. 

 

large slabs in a bathroom in montecchio - Vicenza

Realisation 4: large marble-effect slabs, from project to reality!

For this bathroom in Vicenza, we designed the use of large stoneware slabs in the white Carrara statuary version with continuous veining in the large shower wall.  
The floor, on the other hand, was laid in grey stoneware in the 120x120 format, slightly veined. From render to reality!

elegant bathroom with large marble-effect slabs

Realisation 5: large slabs for this attic bathroom in Vicenza

The bathtub and shelf in this attic bathroom are clad with large tiles, as is the lower part in the sanitary area, which is designed at the same height as the bathtub.

large slabs in an attic bathroom

Realisation 6: Carrara-effect large slabs shower in Vicenza

A shower space created by boxing a small wall with large Carrara-effect slabs in a Palladian villa in the centre of Vicenza.

SHOWER MADE OF LARGE MARBLE-EFFECT SLABS

 

shower made of large marble-effect slabs

Realisation 7: Cement-effect stoneware slabs, bathroom in Valdagno, Vicenza

In this bathroom in Valdagno, Vicenza, we laid large cement-effect stoneware slabs for both flooring and cladding. Click here if you want to see the realisation of the complete house: 

furnish house in novale di valdagno 

Realisation 8: large slabs in a bathroom in Cerea, Verona

Large marble-effect and resin-effect slabs for a modern bathroom in Cerea, Verona.

Discover the creation:

new house in Cerea, Verona

Realisation 9: large stone-effect slabs in Vicenza

Stone-effect porcelain stoneware slabs for a minimalist and warm bathroom in Vicenza.

Take a tour of the whole house:

new house in the province of Vicenza

Realisation 10: large format tiles with cementines in Vicenza

Large format dark tiles for a modern bathroom in Vicenza.

Discover the whole house:

wooden floors and bathrooms in Camisano Vicentino

In bathrooms, we use large tiles in a variety of ways, from floor coverings to wall coverings, but not only! They become excellent allies for creating:

Discover our bathroom projects with large slabs:  bathroom projects with large slabs

Large marble-effect slabs Vicenza

Large slabs: new possibilities

The possible applications of large slabs are not limited to those mentioned above; on the contrary, we find great flexibility.

For example, in a public place the resistance and the ease of sanitation of the surfaces are fundamental elements and ceramics is one of the most loved and recommended products to be used, both as floor and wall tiles. The bar counter used to be made of marble, granite or conglomerates, but today, thanks to large slabs, we can make bar counters, aperitif areas, countertops and many other furnishing elements. Compared to stone materials, stoneware guarantees ease of cleaning, non-absorbency and resistance to heat.

Discover in these different insights the uses of large slabs in different areas:

Before and after: a bath in large slabs

Large solid-coloured slabs

Large black&white marble effect slabs

Creativity and large porcelain stoneware slabs

Large outdoor slabs

Large industrial effect slabs

Large marble-effect slabs

Large marble-effect stoneware slabs

Large formats of porcelain stoneware slabs

More ideas and ideas for precious rooms with large plates

Large slabs shops: where to buy them?


In our showrooms in Vicenza you can find large porcelain stoneware slabs on display! We work to provide complete and well-designed surfaces, kitchens and bathrooms, and then take care of their realisation in the areas of Vicenza and Verona, focusing on the quality of the material and on Made In Italy.

Make an appointment and come and realise your new living or commercial space:

FRATELLI PELLIZZARI spa
Bathrooms, Kitchens and Surfaces
VIA VIGNAGA, 31
36071 COSTO DI ARZIGNANO (Vicenza) 

[email protected]

We work by appointment so that we can concentrate completely on you

FRATELLI PELLIZZARI  spa
Bathrooms, Kitchens and Surfaces​​​​​​​
VIALE EUROPA, 2
36053 GAMBELLARA (Vicenza)

[email protected]

We work by appointment so that we can concentrate completely on you

Ask about large slabs:

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Approfondimenti

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