Last Updated 19th July 2019
We've put together some of the most common questions we get asked about porcelain paving and the answers to them below. For more information regarding installation and maintenance see the External Porcelain Installation and Fact Sheet.
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What is porcelain paving?
Porcelain paving is identical to indoor porcelain tiles but have two key enhancements; they should be double the thickness (18-20mm) and have a slip resistant surface to make them suitable for external use. They are available in a range of designs and can even replicate the look of natural stone, wood or cement. Porcelain paving is frost proof, stain resistant, colourfast and fade proof. Is is extremely hard wearing and resilient.
How is porcelain paving made?
Porcelain is a man-made material created by pressing and firing natural clays and minerals at very high temperatures (up to 1300°C) until they undergo a process called vitrification which is a transformation into a non-crystalline amorphous solid, a type of glass. Vitrification is what makes the product so hard and impermeable to water.
What is porcelain paving made from?
Naturally occurring clays, quartz, feldspar and silica are processed into a fine powder to create the body of a porcelain tile.
Is porcelain paving strong?
Thanks to the vitrification process porcelain is extremely hard, in fact it is close to diamond in hardness. It is very difficult to chip or scratch porcelain paving once installed.
Are porcelain paving slabs slippery?
All Green Garden Paving porcelain paving has an added anti-slip finish added to the surface of the tile to ensure it is suitable for use outdoors. Each range at GGP has a slip resistance rating to help you choose the right one for your project.
What do the slip resistance ratings mean?
For more information regarding slip resistance ratings please see our Slip Resistance Ratings information page.
Does porcelain paving stain?
Due to the vitrification process, porcelain paving has extremely low porosity, meaning it is far less likely to stain than other more porous materials. Marking to the surface of porcelain tiles can normally be easily removed Ã the external porcelain cleaning guide from LTP.
Does porcelain paving fade?
Porcelain paving is fade proof and colourfast, meaning it will look the same for many years to come.
Can you seal porcelain paving?
Porcelain does not require sealing, however you can use a protective coating such as LTP Porcelain Tile Protector to make it easier to remove grout residues or organic matter.
How to clean porcelain paving?
Generally your porcelain paving should only need a sweep and mop to keep it looking its best. If there are marks from grout, rust or organic matter on your patio get in touch with our team to find out the best product for removing them or check out the external porcelain cleaning guide from LTP.
Are your porcelain paving slabs calibrated?
All of our porcelain paving is calibrated for even thickness. Valverdi indoor tiles are 9 mm or 10mm and outdoor tiles are 20mm thick. PorcelPave tiles are either 18mm or 20mm thick.
Are your porcelain paving slabs rectified?
When tiles are rectified the edges are cut or ground down to create a straight and even edge, allowing you to fix with neat and narrow joints. Most PorcelPave tiles have rectified edges, see the PorcelPave brochure for more information about specific ranges.
How accurate are the sizes of your porcelain paving slabs?
All sizes listed on our website are nominal. During the manufacturing process tiles can be pressed, fired, cut, polished and ground depending on the finish of the tile, so actual sizes will vary slightly within and between batches. All PorcelPave and Valverdi are calibrated to the same thickness. All Valverdi and most of our PorcelPave ranges are also rectified which means the tiles are all exactly the same width and breadth, although this could vary between different batches. This will result in a more consistent grout width and allow a narrower joint (we recommend a minimum 4mm grout joint). If using plastic pedestals such as Eterno Ivica, a rectified tile provides a much better finish and joint widths can be reduced to 2mm. Non-rectified tiles will vary in size within a batch and this will require a much wider grout joint to ensure tile size variations are less obvious. Please get in touch if you require after further information about the size of the tiles before ordering.
Are your porcelain tiles vitrified?
Yes, all Valverdi and PorcelPave tiles are vitrified. The vitrification process takes place during the manufacture of the tiles; they are heated to extremely high temperatures and become glass-like. Vitrification reduces the porosity of the tiles making them impermeable to water, which makes them frost proof and resistant to staining. Natural stone paving is not vitrified.
Is porcelain paving expensive?
Porcelain paving and installation can be more expensive than natural stone or concrete pavers, however because it is very low maintenance you will save on sealing and cleaning products in the future. Plus, because it is fade proof and stain resistant it will look great for many years to come.
How is porcelain paving installed?
There are several different installation methods when it comes to installing porcelain paving. Depending on your substrate and budget the slabs can be installed onto a solid base, sand & cement bed, adjustable pedestals, PorcelQuick Adpeds or an asphalt balcony/terrace. See our external porcelain installation page for more information about each method.
Can you lay porcelain using a wet bed method?
We do not recommend laying external porcelain using a wet bed mortar method. As porcelain tiles have a very uniform surface it is hard to overcome lipping when installing with the wet bed mortar method. Porcelain does not adhere to sand and cement mortar, so a primer is needed on the bottom of the tiles or within the mix which can be very messy and time consuming. We recommend either a solid base or a pedestal based system, such as PorcelQuick Adpeds. See our external porcelain installation page for more information about each method.
How to cut porcelain paving slabs?
Because porcelain paving is incredibly tough you need the right tools to cut it or drill holes in it. Diamond tools are the best option for cutting through thick porcelain paving. A large portable cutting wet saw bench would be ideal, or the new type of rail cutting systems with dry porcelain grinding blades, but make sure you use dust extraction for dry blades. 300mm petrol water fed cut off saws with porcelain specific blades can be made to work, but the cut quality is often poor and it is hard to keep the cuts straight. Use a blade designed for porcelain and keep it in good condition. Alternatively we can send your porcelain paving off for cutting and profiling.
How to grout, point or joint porcelain paving?
Grouting, pointing, jointing, whatever you call it the gaps between the tiles will need to be filled (unless you are using Eterno Ivica adjustable pedestals). We recommend using a tile grout as these have been specially formulated for porcelain. Brush in grouts do not reach the full depth of the slab and often do not adhere to the sides correctly.
Will all my paving be the same colour?
When bought from the same batch they will all be the same shade. However, a lot of our ranges mimic natural products which have natural variation of colour and patterning and this will show as a designed variability in surface effects and tones between tiles.
If installing Valverdi Indoor-Out tiles the Indoor and Outdoor tiles will vary in shade as they are made on different production runs and have different slip resistant surfaces, therefore they co-ordinate rather than match. Contact us for information regarding our current stock shades and calibrations.
Can I leave an exposed or cut edge?
These would leave a very hard right angle edge which would be dangerous. The exposed edges would also be prone to chipping. Unfinished cut edges do not look good. Use PorcelQuick stainless steel edgings in these circumstances to protect and cover the edges or we can arrange for the edge to be profiled if the tile is suitable for fabrication.
Can all porcelain paving have edge fabrication profiling?
Yes, but different manufacturing techniques mean some slabs do not look good with edge fabrication. Edge fabrication works well with through body porcelain, but some glazed porcelain doe snot work so well. Call us to check suitability of tiles for profiling or alternatively use PorcelQuick 316 stainless steel edgings.
Do porcelain pavers get hot in the sun?
Porcelain will heat up in the sun and retain the heat well, if you are worried about your porcelain paving becoming too hot, we recommend choosing a lighter coloured slab.
Can you use porcelain paving tiles inside?
Yes, but they do have some disadvantages when use internally. While all PorcelPave and Valverdi external tiles are checked for cleanability, their slip resistant surfaces do make them harder to clean than R10 finished internal porcelain. They will also be more expensive to fit and buy. We recommend using the dedicated internal Valverdi tiles for use inside.
Can I put a fire pit directly over 20mm porcelain?
All our 20mm tiles are fired to over 1350 deg C and can withstand a great deal of heat, however a fire pit can heat a part of a tile while other areas of the tile remain relatively cool. This can result in differential expansion between hot and cold areas and could crack the tile. Always protect the tile immediately under the fire pit from strong local heating.
At Green Garden Paving we are passionate about porcelain. As UK market leaders in the supply of porcelain paving, we stock a variety of vitrified products suitable for a range of landscaping and architectural projects. We have over sixty years experience in the tile industry, which gives us valuable knowledge and experience in working with porcelain. We believe that porcelain cannot be treated in the same way as traditional paving products, which is why we recommend different installation methods to many of our competitors who specialise in natural stone or concrete paving.
All external porcelain at Green Garden Paving is a minimum of 18mm thick with R11 rated slip resistance. We offer full or cut samples and delivery is free on all orders over £300 (ex VAT). Products are available from stock in our Hampshire warehouse, where you can also view our external porcelain display garden which has been installed using the PorcelQuick Adped system. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly team for advice.READ MORE