Good question! After all, the one thing we don’t need in a country renowned for its rain are pavers which get slippery when wet. The good news is that porcelain pavers are more than capable of coping with this inclement weather of ours. In fact porcelain paving can be highly slip resistant. This is because it is far less porous than many types of natural stone so when it rains, it absorbs less moisture. Water remains on the surface and rapidly evaporates leaving your porcelain pavers drier and less slippery. Remember though that texture will be an important element when it comes to slip factor. An ultra smooth polished surface will by its nature be more slippery than one that is more textured.
Do they crack easily?
Because they are created under high pressure and high temperatures porcelain slabs are strong and therefore won’t crack easily, not even when there’s frost. Water which is frozen expands. Imagine then that a paver which has absorbed a lot of water is suddenly hit by plunging temperatures. The water within expands and the paver will crack. Porcelain pavers on the other hand are frost-tolerant to a great degree as they are impervious to water absorption and resistant to thermal shock, meaning they don’t crack easily at all.
Do they get hot in the sun?
Many surfaces will get hot under foot after baking in a hot sun which denies you the pleasure of walking barefoot in the garden on those few days you can! But worry not with porcelain pavers. This is a material which is often much cooler to the touch than other materials and they are therefore perfect for poolscapes and patios. For even cooler results, choose a lighter colour that will deflect the heat rather than absorb it.
Also, because the colour has been fused through a vitrification process, forming a liquified glass glaze it is an integral part of the surface which means there’ll be no fading or discolouring even under the most intense sunlight.
How long do they last?
Vitrified porcelain paving is in fact a type of tile which is made from extra pure kaolin clays and minerals such as quartz and feldspar. It’s fired at very high temperatures of around 1,200 degrees Celsius, which makes it very hard and extremely durable. The excellent compressive strength of porcelain pavers combined with their ultra low moisture absorption adds up to a dense surface that will resist staining as well as moss and mould growth. Their composition means they have been precision engineered for reduced breakage and can withstand loads up to 2,200 lbs. (over one ton!) so they are extremely strong and resistant to breakage. With all this going for them and of course with a little looking after – although they are low maintenance – they should last for decades.
Are they easy to maintain?
To keep your porcelain pavers looking good all you need to do is sweep away accumulated dirt and other debris and that’s about it. But if you want to give them a bit more TLC you can also clean them by mixing in a quarter cup of white vinegar with about two gallons of water, or you could use a special porcelain tile cleaner to give them some extra sparkle. Textured porcelain by its very nature is harder to maintain than polished porcelain and needs more frequent cleaning.
Things you shouldn’t do to porcelain paving are;
- Cleaning with ammonia or with cleaners that contain any bleach and/or acid for cleaning. Acid and ammonia based cleaners may alter grout colour.
- Use oil-based detergents, wax cleaners, or sealants.
- Do not use agents that contain any dyes or colours on unglazed porcelain tile.
- Do not use steel wool pads, because the loose steel particles may cause rust stains in the grout.
Does porcelain paving stain?
Compared to other types of stone or concrete porcelain pavers are pretty much stain resistant however there are instances where staining can occur. For this you’ll need to deal with the staining using a PH neutral cleaning solution. If your pavers are textured or unpolished you will have to leave the cleaning solution on the surface for 10 minutes or so, then rinse thoroughly to get rid of all residue.