At The London Tile Co. we know that there are many benefits to using tiles in your kitchen or bathroom, but what about outside?
We stock a wide range of 20mm thick porcelain tiles for external uses, often referred to as porcelain paving slabs. But how can you know if porcelain paving slabs are for you? We’ve run through the pros and cons of using 20mm porcelain tiles for your garden or project, presenting both sides so you can make your own decisions.
Pros of Porcelain Paving
- Long lasting – Porcelain is strong and hard-wearing meaning that it will last for years and often still looks the same as when it was installed. Being non-porous means that our porcelain floor tiles are naturally stain resistant, and will keep their looks and charms with the very basics of cleaning.
- Tough – During the manufacturing process our outdoor porcelain slabs are baked at extremely high temperatures, turning them into a glass like material. Once cooled, the tiles are so dense and so hard that they can only be cut by diamond! This process is called ‘vitrification’ and our vitrified porcelain paving are some of the hardest tiles around!
- Range – Thanks to advances in porcelain inkjet printing technology you can now get porcelain paving that looks a lot like the material that inspired it – great news if you want a stone, cement or wood effect outdoors.
- Frost proof – Because porcelain has extremely low porosity the tiles are unaffected by changes in temperature which can sometime cause damage to natural products. They don’t expand or contract, and they don’t bend and warp like real wood does.
- Engineered – Most porcelain paving is both calibrated and rectified, meaning that the sizing is consistent throughout the batch and the edges will be extremely sharp and square, perfect for creating contemporary narrow grout joints. This is doubly true if you choose a range with machine rectified straight edges!
- Low maintenance – Stone and decking will require regular sealing and sometimes specialist cleaning products. Porcelain paving does not need sealing and can be cleaned with a basic brush & mop or a pressure washer. For tiles you don’t have to think about or maintain, we always recommend porcelain.
- Fade resistant – Porcelain is unaffected by the sun so the colour will not fade or change over time, the slabs are also resistant to staining as mentioned above. You never want to step outside and be underwhelmed by your outdoor area, especially when you’ve gone for a marble effect or stone effect tile. Porcelain ensures this never happens.
- Slip resistant – Because porcelain paving is man-made, a textured surface can be added to create an anti-slip finish. All of our outdoor tiles have a minimum R11 slip resistance rating. The non-porous nature of porcelain also makes it resistant to moss & mould growth, another factor that can cause outdoor flooring to become slippery.
- Contemporary – Porcelain provides a much more contemporary and clean look to traditional concrete or stone slabs. With the advances in print technology and 3D textured surfaces, it’s hard to tell effects from the real thing. For example, you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between wood effect or stone effect porcelain tiles from their naturally occurring counterparts!
Cons of Porcelain Paving
- Cost – Porcelain paving is generally more expensive than the cheapest stones and concrete slabs when you initially purchase, but is competitive against the top end stone and concrete slabs. The low maintenance and long lasting nature of porcelain paving makes porcelain lifetime cost very cost effective.
- Installation – Finding the right installer can be tough. While porcelain paving is often sold alongside other paving materials, it is still more like a tile than a paving slab and therefore needs to be installed in a different way, making it a little harder to find someone who will install the tiles correctly. Installing them incorrectly could lead to damage and expensive repairs.
- Natural – While there are many ultra-realistic porcelain paving options out there, some people will always prefer the natural feel and want real stone and real wood flooring. Whilst the benefits of using porcelain tiles outweigh the costs, it is not a naturally occurring material and is man made.
- Cutting – Because porcelain is a very hard material it can be harder to cut than natural stone, often requiring specialist diamond encrusted blades and machinery to cut through the extra thick and dense porcelain tiles.
- Fixing costs – Installation costs for porcelain paving are generally a little higher than for cheaper concrete and stone slabs as the tiles need to be laid and installed correctly. We have a fine range of paving support pedestals in stock to aid this. To reduce installation costs try to design the paved area to minimise cuts where possible.
While we have tried our very best to be unbiased and provide plenty of both pros and cons, we have to admit that it was a struggle to balance the two. The benefits of using porcelain for your outdoor floor tiles far outweigh the negatives.
If you’d like to see for yourself before you decide, order a sample of our porcelain paving, you can even order free cut samples of our PorcelPave and the innovative Valverdi Indoor-Out ranges. Order online today and see the benefits for yourself.
If you have any further questions about our porcelain outdoor tiles please get in touch with our Customer Service Team.