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Everything you need to know about porcelain patios

Heather

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Heather

Last updated Thursday 17th June 2021

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They’re strong, look great, and can be easily maintained, so it’s easy to see why porcelain patios have been surging in popularity. However, is this material all it’s cracked up to be?

If you’re considering some new landscaping in the garden or would like to update your patio in line with a new extension/renovation, then here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about using porcelain in your next big project.

Benefits of using porcelain

  • Looks very modern and stylish
  • Comes in a wide variety of colours
  • Less susceptible to wear and tear
  • Easy to keep clean throughout the year

It’s easy to see the number one reason why everyone loves porcelain - it looks gorgeous.

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Because of how even the slabs are produced, contractors can create thin joints, which lend the material to a modern, stylish finish. What’s more, because the material is man-made, it comes in plenty of different colours and finishes. Meaning, no matter what look you’re after, porcelain could provide the results you’re looking for.

This makes porcelain a great material to use when combining inside and outside spaces. Our designers have often paired interior porcelain tiles with a porcelain patio, as it creates the feeling your space is continuing out into your garden when you open up either slide or bi-fold doors.

What’s more, porcelain brings more to the table than just its good looks. Created from a ceramic that’s fired to very high temperatures, porcelain is an incredibly tough material. This durability, combined with its low porosity, mean it’s very easy to maintain and keep looking clean.

Disadvantages

  • More expensive than other options
  • Difficult to install

Porcelain isn’t a cheap material and you should expect to pay a premium, not only for the material itself but also for installation. This is because porcelain isn’t an easy material to work with. Because it doesn’t absorb water, this poses challenges during the bonding process, which happens during the paving.

As it’s trickier to install, this also means creating a porcelain patio isn’t suitable for DIY. Therefore, if you’re looking to keep costs to a minimum, porcelain might not be the material for you.

Instead, you might consider cost-effective alternatives such as Chinese limestones or Indian sandstone.

Installation

As we mentioned above, porcelain is difficult to install and should be left to a professional. This means your first priority should be making sure your contractor/landscaper has the necessary skills to fit your patio. At Resi, we always recommend properly vetting your contractor - even when they come from our Connect service. Make sure they visit your site and allow you to talk to previous customers.

Once you have the right professional on board, they’ll first assess the base to make sure everything is even and ready for your tiles. They’ll then likely install a concrete slab and use tile adhesive or slurry to bond the porcelain paving into place.

Because creating a concrete slab is expensive, another method they might use is creating a bond bridge. This is where a cement-based adhesive is applied to the base of each tile before its placed into a bed of grit, sand, or cement mortar.

Top installation tip: make sure your measurements are accurate before ordering your tiles. Because it’s so tough, a special blade is needed to cut porcelain to size. Ideally, the fewer cuts needed, the better. Getting your measurements wrong can be a costly and time-consuming issue to fix.

Maintenance

One of the benefits of choosing porcelain is that it’s very easy to keep clean. However, you’ll still need to do a little maintenance every once in a while, such as…

  • One or twice a year use a power washer to clear away any dirt
  • If you find organic matter building up, such as algae, purchase a proprietary cleaner to remove these stubborn marks
  • New grouting might need to be installed after 3-5 years

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