Is Ceramic Good for Building Facades? {stone VS ceramic}
Is Ceramic Good for Building Facades? {stone VS ceramic}

Is Ceramic Good for Building Facades? {stone VS ceramic}

Nowadays, various materials are available for building facades, which can significantly influence the attractiveness and beauty of the exterior. However, the durability and strength of these building materials are also crucial, especially in regions with variable weather conditions where materials used on the exterior facade need to withstand these environmental factors. Stone and ceramic are two commonly used materials for facade design. In this article, we'll examine whether stone or ceramic is better for building facades and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using these two materials.

Stone or Ceramic for Building Facades?

Stone and ceramic have unique characteristics, and people can choose one of these two for facade design based on their needs for the building. When designing a facade, considering the region where the building is located is essential, whether using stone, ceramic, or any other material. Stone has played a special role in the building industry since ancient times and is currently used for creating luxurious and elegant facades but lacks uniform color; in contrast, the use of ceramic in facades, besides creating a sense of luxury, can produce a consistent and uniform appearance. Another aspect to consider in answering the question, "Is stone better than ceramic for facades?" is the overall cost, which we will discuss further by describing the features, advantages, and disadvantages of ceramic and stone.

The use of ceramic in building facades is one of the newest building materials and has brought a significant change to the construction industry. Ceramics are available in a wide variety of designs and colors and can create an attractive and beautiful facade. To determine whether ceramic is good for building facades, let's look at its characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages.

Advantages of Using Ceramic for Building Facades

  • - Limited Dimensional Tolerance**: Porcelain ceramics, due to the quality of their constituents and the production process, including Chamfering & Rectify procedures, have very limited dimensional tolerance.
  • - High Break Resistance and Modulus of Rupture**: Since porcelain ceramics are subjected to heavy press pressure in the dry press production method, they exhibit high break resistance and modulus of rupture, making them suitable for exterior facades.
  • - Wear Resistance: The very high density of these products makes them highly resistant to wear.
  • - Light Weight of Ceramic: The specific weight of natural stones used in building, such as travertine, granite, and marble, is about 2700-2800 kg/m3, while that of porcelain ceramics is around 2200 kg/m3, which is about 25% lighter. The thickness of stone used in facade work is about 20 mm or more, while porcelain ceramic is about 11 mm thick. For example, the weight of one square meter of granite stone with a thickness of 20 mm is about 56 kg, but for porcelain ceramic with a thickness of about 11 mm, it's around 24 kg, which is more than 50% lighter.
  • - Fire Resistance: Ceramics are generally known as fire-resistant materials and are classified as class A1, the highest reaction class to fire according to standards.
  • - Unlimited Supply: Porcelain ceramics, with modern production technologies, provide the possibility of high-volume production with consistent design and color for large projects.
  • - Color Stability and UV Resistance: Porcelain ceramics, being baked at high temperatures for a long time, do not fade or change in shine over time.
  • - Hygiene: Porcelain ceramics do not emit harmful chemicals, are highly stain-resistant, have a long service life, and do not expire.
  • - Beauty: Porcelain ceramics can be produced in any color tone and design, which contributes significantly to creating a modern and beautiful appearance for the building. They also match any environment, structure, and design.
  • - Ease of Repair and Replacement: Ceramic tiles are easier to repair and replace compared to stone.

Disadvantages of Using Ceramic for Building Facades

Now, we will examine the disadvantages of ceramic facades in answering the question, "Is stone better than ceramic for facades?"

  • - Poor Insulation Against Heat and Cold: Ceramic is not a good insulator against temperature changes.
  • - Reflectivity of Polished Ceramic: Polished ceramic facades can cause light reflection, which may not give a pleasant appearance to the building.
  • - Visibility of Joints and Lack of Continuity: The problem of visible joints in ceramic can reduce the aesthetic appeal of the facade.
  • - Limited Resistance to Weather Changes: Ceramics do not have high resistance to weather changes.
  • - Not Soundproof: Ceramic materials are not insulators against noise and sound.

Key Features of Stone for Building Facades

In addition to giving a natural appearance to the facade, stone also contributes to its strength. Stone facades have tiny pores that may not resist water penetration well. If not properly sealed, these pores can lead to freezing in cold seasons, causing cracks and damage to the stone facade.

natural and artificial stones are available for building facades. Compared to artificial stone, natural stone has limited design and color options. Given these characteristics of stone, we can provide a more rational answer to the question, "Is stone better than ceramic for facades?" However, individual preferences can have a greater impact on the choice of stone or ceramic for facades.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Stone for Building Facades

If a quality stone sample is chosen for the facade, it can perform better in terms of strength and durability than other materials. The natural and attractive appearance of stone is a focus for many architects; hence, some prefer stone over ceramic for building facades. Stone facades are done without gaps, adding to the beauty of the facade. There is also a perception that buildings with stone facades can be sold at higher prices.

Here are some disadvantages of using stone for building facades:

  • - Increased Dead Load: When stone is used in the facade, it increases the building's dead load. Therefore, architectural teams should discuss this with the client from the beginning, as the use of stone facades significantly affects the building's reinforcement. Moreover, due to the high weight of stone, it imposes more dead load on the structure.
  • - Suitability for Quick-Delivery Projects: Stone facades are not recommended for projects that need to be delivered quickly because, compared to ceramic facades, stone installation requires more time due to its dimensions and weight.
  • - Weather Sensitivity: Stone facades in regions with temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius, especially if not properly sealed, can crack and break due to the porous nature of stone. Stone facade construction requires skilled masons and the use of stone scopes, as over time, there is a risk of stone falling off. Also, special cutting tools and machines are needed for stone cutting.
  • - Important Points: Stone or Ceramic for Facades?
  •   - When using ceramic for building facades, it is advised not to use polished ceramics, as they can reflect light and not give a good appearance to the building.
  •   - Use full-body and porcelain ceramics in cold and humid areas to prevent moisture penetration in the facade, as water absorption in porcelain ceramic is very low, almost zero, which prevents cracking and breaking of ceramics. Also, the lifespan and durability of facades made with porcelain ceramic are increased.
  •   - Use waterproof grout during ceramic installation on the facade to prevent moisture absorption behind the ceramic.
  •   - It is recommended to use visible or invisible dry installation methods for installing ceramic on the facade.
  •   - Some stones are highly sensitive to water and lose their properties in contact with water, whereas porcelain ceramics have very low water absorption and maintain their properties when in contact with water.
  •   - Some stones naturally have pores, reducing their strength. In contrast, porcelain ceramics are highly dense due to high-temperature baking and have high strength.
  •   - Certain stones, especially those based on calcium carbonate and calcite, are highly sensitive to acid and even react with weak acids like lemon juice, showing corrosion on the surface rather than easily cleanable stains. But porcelain ceramics have very high resistance to acid.
  •   - Stones are anisotropic materials, meaning their physical properties may differ in different directions. However, the structure of ceramic is completely uniform and consistent in all directions.
  •   - Stones may flake over time and under different conditions, while ceramics do not have this issue.
  •   - Some building stones contain rock salt particles in their texture. Over time, as interstitial moisture evaporates, these salts may surface and cause efflorescence in the stone. This does not happen with ceramics.
  •   - Some stones contain iron, which can lead to bleeding in moist environments. This issue does not apply to ceramics.

Ceramic and stone facades have many advantages and disadvantages. By comparing them, one can determine whether stone or ceramic is better for building facades. Additionally, when choosing materials for building facades, one should consider personal preferences and other factors like facade construction costs, regional weather conditions, and the quality and characteristics of stone and ceramic facades. In this article, we have reviewed the features of both materials and explained their advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, choosing one of the two materials largely depends on the user's preference and the budget considered.