Porcelain paving is formed by baking a mixture of clay, sand and other minerals that are shaped by dry pressing and then fired in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C producing an incredibly durable and non-porous material. Being resistant to water absorption ensures that porcelain paving requires very little maintenance. It is harder, stronger, and more durable than any natural stone – even granite – and has superior chip resistance. It is so strong that it is frequently used in car and boat showrooms as well as on external driveways. Porcelain paving features a consistent, printed surface that beautifully emulates the appearance of natural stone.
As porcelain is a man made product the tiles are manufactured in large batches. This means that there is “batch variation”. Please see below for more information.
Porcelain paving – Most commonly found in contemporary settings, with its refined and consistent finish. Porcelain paving tends to come in one size (size dependent on the range), however in a few ranges there is the option of creating a 3 size mix (please see Oslo or Bruges range). Over the years, porcelain has improved massively in appearance and quality so you can re-create that more natural looking patio.
Natural stone – Maybe the biggest reason for you to choose a natural stone product would be down to the authentic aesthetics. Natural stone suits traditional outdoor décor with its rustic, textured surface. For something a little more modern but not as contemporary as porcelain you can also get Sawn Stone Paving. Natural stone is available in a mixture of sizes or a single size which also creates a more natural look.
Porcelain paving – is non-porous, which means they absorb less that 0.05% of surface water. This is important because any moisture will not be absorbed and instead remains on the surface where it will evaporate or be wiped away. Ultimately this means that our Porcelain paving are frost-resistant, moss and algae-free, and stain-resistant as nothing will soak into the tiles. As a result you won’t need to buy protective sealants.
Natural stone – is almost as durable as porcelain paving. However, there is one caveat: natural stone can be highly porous, so take this into account if the paved area is exposed to the elements and/or has an entertaining area as it could mean more maintenance for you. All natural stones vary in regards to porosity. Our natural stones have been tested to make sure the porosity rate is not too high. To slow down the natural weathering process we recommend that you seal your paving and if you stay on top of your sealant routine, you will end up with a stunning natural stone patio that stays gorgeous, year after year.
Porcelain paving – Our porcelain tends to come from countries within Europe (usually Italy or Turkey) so the amount of energy it takes to transport over to the UK is lower than Natural Stone which tends to come from countries like India or Brazil. Porcelain is created using raw materials with minimal waste that is recycled straight back into the manufacturing process. It also contains zero waterproofing agents, resins or varnishes.
Natural stone products – This requires polishing using lead which gives off gases when exposed to flame. Natural Stone tends to come from countries like India or Brazil which means a longer travel time using more fuel for transportation.
So, if you’re a person who cares for the environment and strives to make a more sustainable choice wherever possible, porcelain is by far the better choice!
The laying techniques of porcelain paving depends on the thickness of the tile being used. The main difference is that porcelain, as a non-porous material, doesn’t bind to mortar as easily as natural paving slabs. As such, porcelain requires the use of a TILE ADHESIVE to help secure the slabs to the laying course. Please see our LAYING TECHNIQUES for more information.
Porcelain tiles are manufactured in large batches. This is common in the landscape industry and includes other products for example Bricks, Block Paving and Concrete Slabs. The resultant variation in colour is created by microscopic variations in the quantity of inks blended together, and the temperature of the Kiln. These “Batch Runs” are well documented and all of the boxes show the reference number.
1. For orders from stock please ensure that all the pallets of tiles are mixed together when laid.
2. Ensure all the tiles you have receive have the same batch number/code. Once laid we cannot accept responsibility.
3. If not all the same, ensure the batches are mixed to minimise any potential obvious colour variation. Again, once laid we cannot accept responsibility.
Keep a few spare tiles in a safe area to use in case of damage.
Unlike any natural stone or concrete, porcelain tiles are non-porous which makes these tiles stain-resistant and easy to clean. Does your garden suffer from algae? The low-porosity of the porcelain tiles makes them resistant to any lichen and mould. Strong and durable, these tiles will not weather and maintain their original look! If you want to create a modern and long-lasting patio or driveway, porcelain is the way forward!
Benefits of Using Porcelain Tiles Outside:
- Strong – porcelain is extremely strong, meaning that it can handle heavy patio furniture and foot traffic.
- Hard-wearing – the tiles are long-lasting so they will look fantastic for many years to come.
- Frost proof – as the tiles do not absorb water, they will not be affected by frost or harsh weather conditions.
- Impervious – this means that the tiles are resistant to staining as well as moss and mould growth.
- Fade proof – there will be no change to the colour of the tiles, no matter how much sun they are exposed to.
- Slip resistant – the external tiles have a R11 anti-slip finish that makes them perfect for outdoor use.
- Low maintenance – unlike natural stone paving, porcelain tiles do not need to be sealed and are easily cleaned.
- Calibrated – for straight edges and even thickness.
- Modern & stylish – available in a range of colours and designs including cream, black, slate, wood or concrete effect.
If the product is in stock we usually can deliver 5-7 working days from order.
Order time for Non Stock porcelain is normally 3-4 weeks, please check when ordering.
Porcelain orders have additional delays in August as the Italian factories are closed for holidays.
It is recommended you purchase between 5 to 10% more than the calculated area, to ensure you have a sufficient tiles for cuts. The exact surplus will vary dependent on the size and the complexity of the project. If you do have to order additional material there may be a high cost to cover the additional haulage charges.
10mm and 20mm thick porcelain are suitable external use. Please check the laying guide on our TECHNICAL PAGE as the technique for laying is different.
When browsing for tiles you’ll likely come across the “R” rating system. This is the letter R followed by a number (13, 12, 11, 10 or 9). External porcelain should have a rating of R11 or higher. All of our porcelains have a grip rating of R11 so are suitable for external use.
The ‘R’ rating system indicates an anti-slip finish. This letter and number combination indicates the level of the anti-slip finish. The ‘R’ stands for ‘ramp test’, with the subsequent number indicating its anti-slip grade – 13 being strong, 9 being slight.
As porcelain is non-porous it does not require sealing.
Before sealing your paving, allow a minimum of 6 weeks to work any natural salts out of the stone first and to see if any efflorescence appears. The longer you leave your paving before sealing, the more likely the efflorescence will have come out and the paving settled. Sealed too soon and any problems will be sealed in and very difficult to undo.
The efflorescence is natural and can be brushed away with a stiff brush. DO NOT WET THE PAVING as the salts will sink back into the stone.
As Porcelain tiles are manufactures in large batches which creates batch variation, unfortunately we cannot accept returns of tiles that have been especially ordered in as the batch will differ to other batches and we will not be able to sell them on.