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Ultimate Guide to Porcelain Paving: Why It's Your Top Choice
  • Aarti Jain

Ultimate Guide to Porcelain Paving: Why It's Your Top Choice

Porcelain paving is the hottest-trending option for outdoor areas like patios, paths, and driveways. Porcelain is very dense and complex, making these tiles very long-lasting. They won't break or get damaged easily by harsh weather or heavy foot traffic.

Porcelain paving comes in various styles and colours to suit any home. The tiles can mimic the look of natural stone like slate or granite. But unlike real stone, porcelain is low-maintenance and stain-resistant. It's also non-porous, so it won't get slippery when wet.

Installing porcelain paving is relatively straightforward for an experienced paver. The tiles just get laid onto a solid base like concrete or compact gravel with a unique adhesive. Porcelain paving is an affordable option for creating long-lasting outdoor floor. In this article, we're going to cover the fundamental information related to porcelain paving. So, before delaying further, let's get started!

How is Porcelain Paving Formed?

Porcelain paving tiles are made from a unique blend of clays and other natural materials fired at extremely high temperatures. This manufacturing process gives the tiles their incredible strength and durability. Let's take a look at how it's done.

The Raw Materials

The main ingredients in porcelain paving are clays like kaolin, feldspars, and silica. Mixing small amounts of colourants and other additives to achieve the desired shade and properties.

These dry materials get finely ground into powders and combined in the correct ratios for the recipe. The liquid is then added to form a malleable clay-like mixture.

Forming the Tiles

There are two standard methods used to shape the clay mixture into tiles:

  • Dry Pressing: The clay is compressed into a steel mould under immense pressure to produce the tile shape. This technique is very efficient but limits tile size.
  • Extrusion: The clay is pushed through a die to form long rods of the desired shape. These rods are wire-cut into tiles, which allows for larger dimensions.

Once formed, the unglazed tiles are known as "bisque" and must be dried thoroughly before firing.

The Firing Process

Firing transforms the bisque tiles into rock-hard, non-porous porcelain paving material. It occurs in huge roller kilns at scorching temperatures around 1200°C.

During firing, the clays vitrify, meaning they partially liquefy and recrystallise into a dense, glass-like structure. Any remaining moisture evaporates, leaving a solid, solid mass.

After the lengthy firing cycle, the oven slowly cools down before the tiles can be unloaded.

Glazing and Printing

Most porcelain paving tiles receive some form of surface treatment or decoration. Common methods include:

  • Glazing with liquid glass, which permanently bonds to the surface
  • Digital printing with hardy stains and pigments to achieve realistic stone or wood effects
  • Surface texturing like shot blasting for enhanced slip resistance

This meticulous production process transforms the natural clay materials into the sleek, long-lasting porcelain paving tiles we see today. Each manufacturer closely guards the exact recipes and techniques.

What Colours Does Porcelain Paving Come in?

One of the prominent advantages of porcelain paving is the vast array of colours it comes in. From cool greys to warm earthy tones, there's something to complement any home's style. Here's an overview of the different colour options we offer:

Beige Tones

Beige porcelain paving is a popular choice for a classic, natural look. Some of the beige shades we stock include:

  • Hammerstone Beige - A pale sandy beige with a lightly textured surface.
  • Egyptian Limestone - Replicating the warm hues of limestone with subtle veining details.
  • Cosmic Ivory - A creamy ivory tone that pairs beautifully with grey or white.

Grey Hues

Grey is very on-trend for contemporary paving. Our grey porcelain range includes colours like: 


Crisp Whites

White porcelain paving makes a stylish statement for a bright, fresh patio space. We offer:

  • Swiss White - A pure brilliant white with a smooth, flat surface.
  • Quartz White - A white base with delicate quartz veining patterns.

Sleek Blacks

At the darker end, black porcelain gives an ultra-modern vibe. Options include:

Warm Multicolours

  • Raj Green - This unique porcelain perfectly captures the warmth and colour variations of natural Raj Green Indian sandstone. The mustard, terracotta and green hues blend beautifully.

With such a broad palette to choose from, you're sure to find porcelain paving that perfectly suits your vision. The colours can even be mixed and matched for bespoke designs.

Pros and Cons of Porcelain Paving?

Porcelain paving is an evolving option for patios, paths and driveways. But like any paving material, it has its advantages and disadvantages. Here's a look at the key pros and cons to consider.

The Pros of Porcelain

Low Maintenance

One of porcelain's biggest benefits is its low maintenance. The tiles don't need sealing and are extremely resistant to stains, moss, algae, and chemicals. Just an occasional clean with a pressure washer is enough to keep porcelain paving looking fresh.

Durable and Long-Lasting 

Porcelain is one of the most challenging and hard-wearing paving materials available. The tiles are dense, non-porous, and frost-resistant and can manage heavy foot traffic as well as all weather conditions without cracking or fading. With proper installation, porcelain paving can last 20 years or more.


Many porcelain tile finishes have a raised textured surface that provides effective slip resistance, even when wet. This makes them safer to walk on than smooth paving options like natural stone.

Design Variety

From replicating natural stone to wood-effect patterns and solid colours, porcelain offers an almost limitless array of design choices to suit any home's style. The tiles can be laid in distinctive patterns, too.

Consistent Quality

Unlike natural stone paving, where every slab is unique, porcelain tiles have a consistent finish from batch to batch. It's easy to find perfect matches even years later.

The Cons of Porcelain

Higher Initial Cost

While the upfront installation costs of porcelain by a professional may seem high, it is a worthwhile investment compared to cheaper alternatives that may not last as long. Porcelain is a high-quality, durable material that can withstand wear and tear, ensuring you won't have to replace it frequently. Although the initial costs are higher, porcelain's longevity and low maintenance requirements make it a more cost-effective choice in the long run, ultimately saving you money over time. 

Potential for Cracks

Although highly durable, porcelain paving can crack if laid over an unstable base or ground that shifts and moves over time. Using a qualified installer is crucial.

Care Needed

The tiles may need to be regularly cleaned to maintain their fresh appearance, especially in shady areas prone to algae and moss growth. Sealants and colour enhancers can help.

Limited Recycling Options 

Broken or discarded porcelain tiles can be challenging to recycle compared to other paving materials like concrete.

Despite the higher initial investment required, the low maintenance, fade resistance, enduring quality, and design flexibility make porcelain an excellent paving choice for many homeowners.

How to Lay Porcelain Paving?

Porcelain paving can give your outdoor space a new look that lasts years. While it's best left to experienced professionals, here's an overview of the critical steps in laying porcelain paving tiles.


Planning and preparation are key steps for a successful porcelain paving installation:

  1. Measure the area carefully and order around 5-10% extra tiles for cuts and breakages.
  2. Ensure the ground is stable, well-draining and sloped slightly away from buildings.
  3. Excavate the area to the required depth, typically 150-200mm deep.

Creating a Solid Base

A strong, level base is vital for porcelain to be laid correctly:

  1. Lay and compact a sub-base layer of hardcore like gravel or concrete.
  2. Cover with a sharp sand bedding layer around 30-50mm deep.
  3. Use a straightedge and level to ensure a flat surface.

Laying the Porcelain Tiles

With the groundwork done, the porcelain tiles can be installed:

  1. Mix the tile adhesive as instructed, using a slurry consistency.
  2. Spread adhesive onto an area no more significant than can be tiled in 30-45 minutes.
  3. Lay the tiles with spacers to create even gaps of around 5-10mm.
  4. Tap the tiles level with a rubber mallet, frequently checking for lippage.
  5. Allow tiles to set firmly before moving to the next section.

Grouting the Joints

Grouting locks the porcelain tiles in place and fills the joints:

  1. Apply the grout using a rubber float, working it into the gaps at a diagonal angle.
  2. Allow the grout to be firmly set but not fully cured before cleaning off excess.
  3. Buff the tiles clean with a microfibre cloth for a neat finish.

Final Touches

To complete the job to a high standard:

  1. Leave the freshly grouted patio for at least three days before use.
  2. Apply a paving sealer to protect against stains and make cleaning easier. 
  3. Fill the expansion joints between the paving and walls with a flexible mastic.

While this covers the basics, laying porcelain paving is precision work best handled by professionals. They have the tools and experience to ensure a flawless installation that will look fantastic for decades.

How to Keep Porcelain Paving Clean?

Porcelain paving is incredibly durable and stain-resistant, but regular cleaning is still required to keep it looking pristine. Following some simple tips makes it easy to maintain that fresh, just-installed appearance for years to come.

Regular Basic Cleaning

The key to effortless porcelain paving maintenance is staying on top of it:

  • Utilise a stiff bristle brush to sweep the patio regularly, clearing away any loose dirt or debris.
  • For a deeper clean, use a patio cleaner solution and a sturdy brush to scrub the tiles.
  • Rinse with clean water to avoid leaving any residue behind.

Dealing with Stains

Despite its stain resistance, stubborn marks can still develop on porcelain over time: 

  • Make a paste with biological washing powder and a little water for general stains. Scrub it into the affected tiles and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing.
  • Grease or oil stains may need an alkaline degreaser or undiluted bleach applied carefully. 
  • A dedicated efflorescence remover product (salty white blooms) is used for efflorescence.

Patio Black Spot Remover is a powerful solution designed to eliminate those unsightly black spots and fungal growths that can appear on paving over time. Its specialist formula contains a blend of biocides that get to work by breaking down and killing off algae, mould, mildew, and lichens. Simply dilute the concentrated liquid as instructed, then apply it liberally over the affected areas using a watering can or sprayer. Allow it to dwell briefly before scrubbing with a stiff brush to agitate and lift the spots and staining. Stubborn areas may require a second application. Rinse thoroughly after use to reveal pristine, freshly cleaned paving restored to its original vibrant colours. Patio Black Spot Remover is fast-acting yet safe for use on porcelain, natural stone and concrete paving when following the instructions.

Removing Moss, Algae and Weeds

Shaded areas are prone to organic growths developing on damp porcelain tiles:

  • Use a stiff brush and patio cleaner containing algaecide to remove moss and algae.
  • Carefully apply weed killer to any weeds growing in the joints, avoiding the porcelain tiles.
  • Pressure washing on a low setting can blast away remaining growth.

Maintaining the Joints

The filled joints between porcelain tiles are often overlooked but need some care:

  • Inspect the joints annually and re-grout any areas that have cracked out.
  • Use a grout reviver product and a stiff brush to avoid dirt and stains from the grout.
  • Seal the grout with a grout protector to prevent future staining.

Protection and Enhancements

While not essential, a few added steps can protect porcelain and boost its appearance:

  • Apply a paving sealer annually to make cleaning easier and prevent staining.
  • Use a paving-enhancing treatment to enrich the tile colours and finish.
  • Fix loose tiles that could cause trip hazards by re-laying with fresh adhesive.

With regular sweeping and the occasional deeper clean, porcelain paving can retain its beautiful look with ease. Just be sure to use the right products and tackle any issues promptly.

Where are the Best and Worst Places to Use Porcelain Paving?

Porcelain paving is a luxurious and hard-wearing choice for outdoor spaces. Its natural beauty and durability make it well-suited for some areas while less practical for others. Let's explore the ideal and alternative locations for Porcelain tiles.

Best Places for Porcelain Paving

  • Driveways: Porcelain's density and strength allow it to withstand vehicles' immense weight and pressure. Laying Porcelain paving for a driveway provides an elegant, low-maintenance surface that won't crack or become unstable over time.
  • Patios and Paths: These are prime spots to showcase Porcelain's aesthetic appeal. The distinctive natural patterning and colours elevate any patio or garden path area. Porcelain's slip resistance is also advantageous for well-trodden zones.
  • Pool Surrounds: Porcelain's non-porous nature makes it ideal for poolside paving. It won't absorb water or chemicals, and its excellent surface is pleasant underfoot on hot days. The style and durability are perfect beside pools.
  • Indoor Floors: While more expensive, Porcelain's unbeatable durability also translates well indoors. It makes a stunning, long-lasting floor for hallways, kitchens, or anywhere else that requires rugged, easy-to-maintain stone floors.

Alternative Options for Porcelain Paving

  • Shaded Areas: Porcelain is not ideal for shady, damp spots where moss, algae and lichens can grow more easily on the surface. These areas are better suited to materials like porcelain.
  • Smaller Budgets: Porcelain paving is a premium product, so it is more expensive. Attractive yet cheaper options like concrete or quality porcelain tiles may be preferable for tighter budgets.
  • Less Challenging Installations: Laying Porcelain paving is complex physical work requiring skilled tradespeople. Lightweight alternatives like resin-bound gravel are more accessible to install for more straightforward projects or DIYs.

When properly sealed, Porcelain is low maintenance in the long term despite its upfront costs. Its prestige, versatility, and incredible life expectancy make it an outstanding investment wherever it's used appropriately based on site conditions and homeowner needs.

Design Inspiration and Trends

Porcelain paving tiles offer endless design possibilities to create stunning outdoor living spaces that are truly an extension of your home's interior style.

  • Going for 600x900 format porcelain pavers to minimize grout lines for a sleek, modern look
  • Using wood-look porcelain planks that realistically mimic popular hardwoods like oak, walnut or cedar
  • Creating outdoor "area rugs" with decorative porcelain tile inserts or contrasting borders
  • Laying porcelain in trendy herringbone, chevron or versailles patterns instead of straight stacked
  • Combining light and dark porcelain tones for a high-contrast, eye-catching patio
  • Installing porcelain with a vintage, timeworn look featuring hints of natural aging
  • Echoing indoor tile styles outside by using matching porcelain floors/pavers
  • Utilizing textured/slip-resistant porcelain made for poolside and wet areas
  • Leveraging porcelain's easy-care nature by forgoing grout with tight-fit installations
  • Incorporating accent porcelain borders, mosaics or medallions as design focal points
  • Mixing multiple complementary porcelain colors/textures for a custom, encaustic tile look

The virtually limitless patterns available in porcelain allow you to get creative with layouts for eye-catching traditional or modern flair. With porcelain's versatility, your outdoor oasis can be customized to your unique taste and vision.

The Final Say

Porcelain paving slabs offer the ideal blend of incredible strength, minimal maintenance and jaw-dropping beauty to elevate any outdoor space. The possibilities are limitless when it comes to patterns, textures, colors and sizing. With porcelain's unmatched durability and design versatility, it surpasses all other patio materials. Create a magazine-worthy outdoor living area that's built to last.

Ready to bring your dream patio or deck to life? Get started today by browsing inspiring porcelain paving options on our website and visualizing your stunning new outdoor oasis!

Aarti Jain

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