Porcelain paving slabs, sometimes referred to as outdoor porcelain tiles, are very similar to porcelain tiles used for interior walls and floors. They are made using the same materials and processes but tend to be thicker than tiles at 20-25mm. To make porcelain paving slabs, ground sand and feldspar are combined with very fine clays before the mixture is compressed at high pressure and fired at up to 1200 degrees centigrade. The high firing temperature causes vitrification, a process where the silica in the mixture turns to glass, sealing any air pockets in the body to produce an extremely dense slab with a water absorption rate of 0.5% or less. Porcelain paving slabs use digital printing to apply a design, colours patterns and even natural wood and stone effects, before the final firing process.
Porcelain paving slabs are stronger, denser and absorb significantly less water than equivalent natural stone and concrete paving slabs. These attributes make them frost resistant, more durable, scratch resistant and easier to clean and maintain than other types of paving. The manufacturing process also ensures accuracy and conformity, resulting in very little variation in size and shape and this makes porcelain paving easy to lay and grout lines can be narrower which improves the appearance.
The design on porcelain paving slabs is printed using special inks. The design possibilities are endless, particularly with modern digital printing techniques, and this means that porcelain paving is available in a huge variety of patterns and effects mimicking natural materials. Stone and wood effects are particularly popular but patterns and plain colours are also widely available. Porcelain paving slabs feature either a flat and lightly textured surface or a riven surface to mimic natural stone or the grain of timber. Like other types of patio paving, porcelain is available in a variety of individual sizes and project packs.The modern appearance of porcelain paving means that simple laying patterns, often using one size of paving slab, are popular.
Caring for porcelain
One of the most appealing features of porcelain paving is its durability, unlike porous concrete and natural stone, porcelain paving does not require sealing to prevent staining and an occasional light scrub and rinse will keep the paving looking like new for years’.
It is not necessary to seal porcelain paving, it is resistant to staining, no more issues with split wine, hot fat from BBQs and acidic bird droppings, simply wipe them away. Porcelain paving will not fade in sunlight and is frost resistant. We give all our clients a maintenance and after guide.
Benefits of Porcelain
Choice – The design or pattern on porcelain paving slabs is digitally printed and it is available in a huge variety of colours, patterns and natural effect finishes. Furthermore, porcelain wall cladding can also be purchased to match or contrast with paving slabs
Durability – Porcelain paving is very dense, and this gives it great strength while being resistant to stains, moisture, sunlight and frost.
Maintenance – Porcelain paving does not need to be sealed like many types of concrete and natural stone paving because it is resistant to dirt and staining, requiring only light washing to keep it looking as good as new.
Quality – The manufacturing process for porcelain slabs ensures that there is very little variation in size and shape, this makes them easier to lay and narrower grout joints can be used.
Weight- The strength of porcelain paving means they are generally thinner than equivalent concrete and natural stone slabs and this can make them lighter and easier to install.