Porcelain Installation Guide

Installing Porcelain paving looks at first glance to be as simple as laying any other type of paving.

However, a key characteristic of porcelain is an exceptionally low water absorption value, so porcelain tiles will not draw in moisture to the same degree as other types of paving materials. This is a great benefit when it come to the surface resisting staining and staying looking clean.

However, this also means that the paving will absorb almost nothing from the bedding mortar and therefore has an effect on how well the bedding bonds to the tiles. Without help porcelain tiles will not form a strong, sustainable bond to the mortar and so In order to ensure a good, strong bond each paving element needs to be primed just before laying with priming slurry.

It's very easy to apply, just brush the slurry and adds only pennies to the installation cost.

 

A guide to laying Porcelain patio paving

Download our "How to" guide to ensure you maximise the durability and pleasure from your landscaping investment.

Download

 

TOOLS YOU WILL NEED

• A shovel
• Rubber mallet
• String line
• Spirit level
• Pointing iron
• Circular cutting saw
• Diamond circular cutting blade
• Gloves
• Facemask
• Eye protection


MATERIALS NEEDED


• Type 1 MOT (General Sub-base) stone
• All In Ballast
• Sharp Sand (concreting sand)
• Cement (OPC)
• Slurry Primer and SBR additive
• Flexible grout (swimming pool grade)

 

BEFORE STARTING

Once your porcelain paving been delivered to site, check it thoroughly for any breakages or chipping of the edges. Any damaged tiles should be put to one side as these can be used later for ‘in fill’ cuts.

If possible, roughly layout your proposed patio by placing the paving tiles as you plan the finished patio to be. This will highlight any potential issues and help to avoid surprises later during the installation process and will also confirm that you have enough paving to complete the project.


DIGGING OUT

First mark out the area to be excavated using string lines and pegs and allowing for a 150 - 200mm margin for kerbing or haunching should the patio edge not adjoin a solid construction i.e. house or garden wall.

You will need to dig out a total depth of at least 160mm below the proposed patio height to facilitate: 100mm (minimum) of compacted Type 1 MOT or GSB (General
Sub-Base) material, a 40mm bed (minimum) of bedding mortar and the thickness of the porcelain paving (16-20mm).

Building Regulations stipulate that the paving surface must also be at least 150mm below any damp-proof course (DPC) so as to protect your property from damp. Your patio will also need to have a fall in the surface, to facilitate water drainage, of circa 15mm for every 1000mm. This can be achieved by using a taught string line to guide alignment along the length of the paving.


SUB-BASE

A Type 1 MOT or General Sub-Base (GSB) aggregate is required to give strength and stability to your patio. Rake out the aggregate to create an even layer roughly 30mm below the string line. Using a vibrating plate compactor, consolidate the aggregate to a compressed height of 50mm below the string line.


BEDDING MORTAR

Using a mixer, make your bedding mortar using 4 parts of Sharp Sand to 1 part of Cement and add the SBR additive to the mix to assist in the bonding process. The mortar should be a firm consistency and not sloppy or runny.

Using a shovel or trowel, apply the mortar to the sub-base, levelling it out to about 15mm below the string line. Ripple or roughen up the surface of the bed to allow for compression of the paving tile during final placing and only spread enough mortar for one flag at a time. The bed must be full with no voids.
 

PRIMING THE PAVING

This is the most important difference between laying traditional concrete or natural stone paving flags and omitting this process will most likely result in failure of the porcelain paving tiles to adhere to the bedding mortar. A characteristic of porcelain is an exceptionally low water absorption value, so the tile will not draw in moisture to the same degree as other paving materials. Porcelain therefore will absorb almost nothing from the bedding mortar and will not form a strong, sustainable bond. In order to ensure a good bond each paving element needs to be first primed with a priming slurry. Use Pavestone Priming Slurry to ensure that a good bond is achieved. The Primer is powder-based which only requires water to be added to make a slurry paste. Alternatively, you can make your own using an SBR additive (available through most builders’ merchants). Simply mix to a smooth creamy consistency: 1 part SBR: 1 part water: 5 parts Ordinary Portland Cement (by volume). i.e. 25kg cement & 1 x 5ltr tub SBR & 5ltr water.
The slurry primer paste is then applied to the underside of the porcelain paving element using a wide brush until an even coat is achieved, just before placing the tile onto the
bedding mortar.


LAYING THE PAVING

Gently tamp down the ‘wet primed’ porcelain paving onto the mortar bed using the rubber mallet. Adjustment will be necessary to ensure that the paving is fully supported, does not rock or move and use a straight edge with a spirit level repeatedly to check that each paving element achieves the desired level and fall as per the string line.

Immediately wipe off any slurry primer that may have unintentionally found itself of the face of any of the paving as you will not be able to remove this once it has set.

When laying more than one pack of paving, lay tiles from different packs to eliminate colour banding and to obtain the best colour blend.

Use joint spacers or pieces of 6mm plywood to help maintain a regular joint width between the paving elements. NEVER butt joint the paving tiles.

 

CUTTING


Cutting should be carried out using water cooled and dust suppressing bench power saw fitted with a diamond blade specifically purchased to cut porcelain paving tiles. These blades have no gaps in the cutting edge i.e. an uninterrupted circular diamond cutting blade.

 

PORCELAIN TILE PROTECTOR


To protect the paving whilst grouting, use Pavestone Porcelain Protector. This is a pre-grout treatment, which protects the surface of the paving against stubbourn, dried on grout, residue, keeping your tile faces clean and without altering the characteristics of the porcelain tile face.
 

JOINTING

To ensure a good bond and professional looking joint, use Pavestone Tile Grout.

INTERNAL FLOORING

Pavestone 16 & 20mm external porcelain paving tiles are not suitable for use as internal flooring. However, Pavestone supply 10mm internal flooring in our Crosswood, Discovery, Dolomite and Pierre ranges, which are manufactured to withstand the domestic environment, household cleaning products and equipment.

Installing internal porcelain tiles is an entirely different process to that of installing external porcelain paving tiles.

Please seek further advise if you are uncertain as to how to lay internal tiling.

SEALING

Porcelain does NOT require sealing as it is already sealed at the point of manufacture.

 

PLEASE NOTE:

This is a simple guide to installing a Pavestone porcelain patio and should be used solely for guidance. If you have not been trained in laying porcelain paving or have not had past experience of laying porcelain paving we would recommend that you research the subject thoroughly prior to commencing. The internet is a good source for this research and in particular there are several YouTube videos that demonstrate good practice and the website www.pavingexpert.com also offers good advice and instruction.