Without doubt, porcelain is one of the best material options you have for your outdoor landscaping project or internal renovation project And when it comes to selecting the right tile, you have to find a balance between function and and design.
Apart from aesthetics, it’s also important to consider other characteristics of a porcelain paver. These include maintenance, abrasion resistance, and slip resistance.
Porcelain has many benefits for example: Heat Resistant, Frost Proof, Stain & Acid Resistant, Durable, Hardwearing, Long Life Span, Easy Maintenance. It can be used across multiple settings* from internal wall & floors to external patios, driveways and even wall cladding.
Full Body Porcelain, Coloured Body Porcelain, Glazed Porcelain these are types of porcelain often mentioned when purchasing tiles, but lets start with some myth busting to avoid any confusion:
What is Full Body Porcelain? These are unglazed products essentially manufactured in the same way as all porcelain they simply have no glazing or decoration process. They are often considered the premium of all porcelain tiles or porcelain paving. This is what provides them with that rustic and more natural look, as well as a matt and often textured finish. They are extremely hardwearing and installed and maintained correctly will last a lifetime. They are a very high performance product and can often be found in very high floor traffic areas and commercial applications and are usually much more expensive than coloured body or glazed porcelain.
But here comes the twist- Almost all porcelain paving products sold in the UK that are marketed as full-body porcelain are actually coloured body paving.
The majority of pavers that are sold and used for outdoor purposes are colour body & glazed porcelain. This is because the cost of true full body porcelain is higher and therefore the cost to the end user would be very prohibitive and further more the use of full body is not necessary for the majority of residential applications.
Top Tip – How do I tell if I’m buying coloured body or full body porcelain?
If the product is not uniform throughout or has any form of detailed decorative effect then it is not full body porcelain. However this does not detract from the technical performance of the product for 99.9% of installations.
What is Coloured Body Porcelain? This type of porcelain uses very high performance base materials, is fired at exactly the same temperature as full body porcelain and has a decorative nature to increase aesthetic options available. Generally the body of the porcelain will be similar or the same as the overall finish which means in the unlikely event any chips/ damage occurs they will not be noticeable also often referred to as technical porcelain. This porcelain combines the high performance technical characteristics required for a heavy duty external paving slab whilst offering infiniate design options.
What is Glazed Porcelain –
Glazed porcelain is one of the most common porcelains available. The notable difference is the body of the tile will often be a whiter or light grey colour and of course has a glazing process which is often finished with a design to replicate a natural finish again for 99.9% of domestic application glazed porcelain is a perfectly suitable material.
Recap: If the product is not uniform throughout or has any form of detailed decorative effect then it is not full body porcelain. However this does not detract from the technical performance of the product for 99.9% of installations coloured body and glazed porcelain are perfectly suitable products.
There are different types of quality regarding porcelain and what you are looking for is:
The breaking strength – many of our porcelain pavers have a superior breaking strength in excess of 14K newtons meaning installed correctly you can use these pavers not only for domestic patios, but forecourts, driveways commercial and residential areas.
The slip resistance R11 is often quoted on floor tiles and paving this is a German Test for slip resistance called a Ramp Test. The preferred test by the HSE in the UK is the Pendulum Test and your paving should be a minimum of 36+ PTV (Slider 96)
For use in high traffic wet areas i.e swimming pools theban additional consideration should be made with regard to the pendulum value in that the test must result in or a Pendulum TRL (slider 55) of 36+ for wet barefoot areas, to achieve a very low slip potential environment
Aesthetics the design on the porcelain (the finish) can determine the quality of your paving HD finishes or replications of natural stone usually reflect the overall quality of the product regardless of whether it is coloured body or glazed porcelain.
Rectification: Porcelain tiles & outdoor porcelain paving can be rectified or non rectified. This is an additional manufacturing process whereby the product is calibrated and has perfectly straight edges. Not all porcelain needs to be rectified and it really is down to personal choice.
Firstly your porcelain tiles and paving should clearly adhere to which is EN 14411
There are also standards throughout Europe for determining the dimensional characteristics (length, width, thickness, straightness of sides, rectangularity, surface flatness) and the surface quality of tiles.
ISO 10545.2 is the standard for dimensions on porcelain tiles. The ISO required value for bowing / warpage is ± 0.5%. This means on a larger 1200x600mm porcelain tile the bowing can be upto 6mm and still conform to the correct standards. Whilst most manufacturers have higher standards than the ISO standards and this amount of bowing would be very rare.
You also need to be aware that sizing of slabs is nominal size, so a product advertised as 600x600mm after rectification for example may well be 597x597mm.
Porcelain is fundamentally manufactured in the same way. The difference is predominantly whether the product is unglazed or glazed. Unglazed porcelain is more expensive and has limited design options. Coloured Body & or Glazed Porcelain has infinite design options. The key to choosing the correct product is considerations around functionality, design requirments and overall durability.
Here at Premier Porcelain we have many years experience in the manufacturing, sourcing and importation of ceramic and porcelain tiles contact our team today at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on our products and services.
Premier Porcelain – Create Unique Spaces