Above: Squash blocks installed to support load from above. Right: Load from above without squash blocks or blocking panels caused this web to buckle.
Ceramic Slab Countertops
The kitchen and bath industry has exploded with new, exciting products during the past few years.
The kitchen and bath industry has exploded with new, exciting products during the past few years. The latest, Granito Ceramico -- literally, "ceramic granite" -- hails from Italy.
Made from kaolin (a clay), quartz and feldspar, Granito Ceramico from Mirage (www.mirage.it) is created like any other ceramic -- all its components are amalgamated, pressed and melted at high temperatures to produce a homogenous material. Granito Ceramico differs from other manufactured surfaces in that it has no cements or resins.
Unlike most ceramics, Granito Ceramico comes in 50x71.2-inch slabs that are 0.4 to 1.2 inches thick -- not your typical tile. It looks like granite or natural marble slabs, with random veining, but has greater heat and stain resistance, durability and imperviousness than most natural stone, according to the company.
Granito Ceramico can be used for seamless countertops, floors and stairs and in wall applications, and it cuts with stonecutting machinery.