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porous tile soaking up water

Porous

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 1/21/2021

Whether you’re taking on a big project like renovating your kitchen or a smaller job like painting a bedroom, understanding the materials that you’re working with is an important step to a successful final product. There are many factors to consider, but one that sometimes gets overlooked is whether a material is porous or non-porous.

Definition

If the material you’re working with is considered porous, its composition is full of small holes and pockets, instead of being formed solid. A porous material, like marble or wood, is often considered soft and permeable, making it less resistant to liquids, stains, and scratches than a non-porous material, such as slate or glass. Porous materials are often easier to work with because they tend to be lighter and more pliable (but this is not always the case).

Some Things To Consider When Selecting A Material

Depending on the project, the materials you end up working with will often come with different options in regards to their composition. Here are a couple things to keep in mind when choosing between a porous and a non-porous material:

  • Non-porous materials tend to be easier to clean and maintain, making them a great option for kitchen counter surfaces and other highly trafficked areas. Because they are easier to clean, they are considered to be more sanitary.
  • Porous materials tend to absorb liquids and other deposits. As a result, they often need to be sealed to prevent moisture and stains from ruining the surface. Typically, it is easier to apply paints, adhesives, and other finishes to porous surfaces.
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