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What's The Difference? Porcelain Paving vs Natural Stone

Posted on 6th September 2022

When it comes to garden landscaping projects, porcelain paving and natural stone slabs are two of the most popular choices.

Natural stone such as sandstone, limestone, granite have been used in buildings across the world for centuries. Known for their timelessness and durability, it’s clear to see why they are such a popular option.

However, porcelain paving slabs are still relatively new to the product but have been taking it by storm. Man-made and manufactured to replicate the characteristics and look of natural stones and wood, they are becoming the new and improved alternative to natural stone.

To the eye, both materials look similar but there are some notable differences between them. Let’s take a look at what sets porcelain paving apart from natural stone.

Appearance

Due to the fact natural stone is quarried, this provides the material with a unique finish and plenty of design variations. With natural stone, you will be able to notice the colour gradients and swirls in granite, slate, travertine, sandstone, and limestone.

Every natural stone tile is different and no two will ever be the same. The variation between the colours and textures of the slabs provides a traditional look.

‍In contrast, porcelain paving is manufactured to adhere to the highest quality standard present on the market today. The slabs are made from fine clay and sands and fired in a kiln at extremely high temperatures.

The controlled manufacturing process of porcelain paving is consistent, which means that every tile boasts high durability. Designed to mimic the look and feel of natural stone with inkjet printing technology, each tile looks similar and therefore presents a uniform finish. *Need to make a point about the pattern variation, for instance the lower price porcelain with have fewer patterns printed so there will be more repetition across the paved area. The more expensive have more patterns (the reason for the higher price point) so for over I larger area you are less likely to have pattern repetition, again this is to mimic the natural stone or wood better.*

Even better, you can achieve a wide range of designs and styles with porcelain paving slabs, from classic to traditional and modern to contemporary.

‍Installation & price

Sometimes natural stone can be more expensive than porcelain paving. The reasons for this can include the cost of the raw materials, production, and transportation of the product.

Installing natural stone isn’t always cheap either. Stone has a texture and natural irregularities in its composition that require a varying base depth, due to the inconsistencies in the thickness, which can add to the cost of the labour needed for installation.

On the other hand, porcelain paving tiles are more consistent and easier to work with. Each slab is manufactured evenly with adequate calibration and a high level of precision and this makes for easier installation.

Water absorption & moisture resistance

‍Porcelain paving was designed to solve one of the most common problems natural stone encounters: porosity.

An added benefit of porcelain is that it is non-porous and demonstrates a low water absorption rate compared to natural stone. Therefore it is perfect to install on your patio, pathways, and around swimming pools.

Natural stone surfaces have tiny holes and other small imperfections that make it more susceptible to moisture and staining. Stone can be protected with a premium sealant, however this will only add to the cost of maintenance.

Maintenance

‍What’s more, porcelain tiles are manufactured to require minimal upkeep. Due to their durable composition, they are UV-resistant and will not fade in direct sunlight. They are also resistant to frost, cracks, scratches, abrasions, moss, and algae.

Meanwhile, real stone can require lots of maintenance depending on the type you have. Sandstones and limestones often need to be sealed and cleaned every few years. Granite is one of the most durable options for natural stone and does not require as much maintenance.

Why choose porcelain over natural stone‍

In case we haven’t yet managed to convince you that porcelain paving is the material you need for your garden landscaping project, here are a few more reasons to choose it.

Cleaning the slabs of spills and debris is as easy as wiping them clean with a mixture of soap and warm water. The surface of porcelain is also dense and durable, therefore damage from pressure washing is not a risk.

Due to the moisture and water resistance, porcelain paving slabs will not stain from salt, leaves, moss, and other natural materials found in a garden.

Porcelain paving is also a more environmentally friendly product than natural stone because it is made of recycled materials and uses efficient technology in the manufacturing process.

Porcelain paving is the right investment for you and your home improvement project, get in touch with us and we will be happy to help with any queries you may have.

With valuable experience, we are able to help you achieve the perfect patio, garden, or home interior with our products.

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