What is Vitrified Porcelain Paving?

Vitrified porcelain paving is a rapidly growing favourite with those who want a fantastically hard working product that’s also sleek and modern.

When we think of porcelain we imagine something fine and delicate but in fact, when used for paving projects it can be extremely hard and durable. This is because it has undergone a process called vitrification.

Vitrified porcelain tiles are made using a combination of extremely pure kaolin clays and minerals such as quartz and feldspar, which is hydraulically pressed at a high-pressure load and then baked at ultra high temperatures. The word vitrification is taken from the French for glass and you can see why from the finished result. The temperature they are baked at has to be high, reaching a sizzling 1200°C, hot enough to melt the kaolin content and once the ingredients are molten they turn ‘glassy’ when cooled, which gives them their beautiful sleek appearance.

Vitrified porcelain has become increasingly popular for outdoor projects thanks to advances made in this vitrification process which has improved their performance and have made them an even more attractive proposition than ever.

The vitrified porcelain paving that is now produced is exceedingly strong and it also has a very low porosity of 0.5% or less which means it is resistant to frost and therefore won’t crack after coping with long icy winters. Aesthetically it is very uniform in both colour and texture which makes it highly versatile. Put simply, it looks good almost everywhere.

Is vitrified the same as porcelain?

Vitrified and vitrified porcelain both go through a similar process and that’s where they derive their unique properties. The result is a strong, hard-wearing material with low-porosity, which are some of the most desired qualities you might want from a paver.

However where vitrified porcelain differs from other vitrified products is in the composition. True porcelain is composed of extremely pure kaolin clays and minerals such as quartz and feldspar and is usually fired once as a biscuit. Ceramic vitrified paving on the other hand can be made using non white clays with no feldspar, it will possibly have a glass applied after firing and have a second firing to set the glaze.

Another difference is that porcelain pavers are fired at around 1200°C while ceramic tiles have  slightly lower firing temperature of around 1000°C to 1100°C.

Modern vitrified porcelain matches other vitrified ceramics for all their amazing characteristics. They are highly water-resistant as well as being moisture resistant. The great thing about this is that it means porcelain slabs will not stain and there’s no need to apply a sealant. That means minimum cleaning. A quick wipe over with some warm and soapy water will be sufficient to  remove any debris or organic matter such as grass, soil and leaves. There’ll be no mildew or moss. Spilt liquids and oils cannot penetrate the surface of vitreous porcelain which makes it perfect for driveways and BBQ areas and because it is so durable you can, if you wish, use a pressure washer without fear of damaging the surface.

Another attribute they share is the fact that they are eco friendly. In these days when it is so important to think of the environment, laying beautiful pavers that will also increase your green credentials can’t be bad. The reason why they are more eco is because they are made from natural raw materials with minimal waste. In fact, even the minimal waste is recycled back into the manufacturing process. Porcelain garden slabs also contain no waterproofing agents, varnishes or resins that can be harmful to the environment.

Is vitrified porcelain slippery when wet?

Vitrified porcelain definitely has the edge when it comes to being non-slip. This is because it is less porous than natural stone. The consequences of this is that when it rains, porcelain pavers absorb significantly less moisture than stone paving slabs would. Instead, that water stays on the surface of the porcelain tile and evaporates quickly, leaving your patio dry and relatively slip resistant.

How do you clean vitrified porcelain paving?

Your vitrified porcelain pavers couldn’t be easier to look after. Unlike other materials which can become stained when in contact with leaves, moss and other debris, porcelain is stain resistant. All you need to do is brush the surface then use warm soapy water. You don’t need any special detergents or bleach to bring them up to look like new, just your usual washing-up liquid will do the job. A little elbow grease will scrub away any tenacious dirt or residue.

Are vitrified tiles suitable for outdoor use?

The answer is absolutely! Here are the reasons why…

  1. It’s weatherproof

There’ll be no water sloshing around the surface of your porcelain paving as when it rains the water quickly evaporates.

  1. Non porous

Porcelain paving slabs are completely non-porous – this means that porcelain patio tiles require very little maintenance as none of the elements will affect the tiles.

  1. Resistant to frost and thermal shock

What this means is that your paving won’t crack when it is subjected to freezing cold winters.

  1. High resistance to loads

It’s such a hard material that it won’t shatter under the weight of heavy loads such as motor vehicles.

  1. Scratch resistant

Porcelain patio slabs are scratch-resistant which makes them the perfect paving option for high footfall paths, but also outdoor dining areas with garden tables and chairs.

  1. Resistant to high traffic

Again, the porcelain slab’s durability will mean it will continue to look great even with constant to-ing and fro-ing.

  1. High anti-slip resistance

Because the paver absorbs moisture, there’s less risk of the surface becoming slippery which makes it perfect for outdoors projects such as patios paths and pool surrounds.

  1. Resistant to the attack from acids and cleaning products

The highly fired surface won’t lose its lustre as the result of harsh cleaning fluids or accidents.

  1. Stain resistant

Spilt liquids and oils cannot penetrate the surface of porcelain outdoor slabs

  1. Resistant to attack from moss and mould

Any fungus growth can just be wiped away too.

  1. Retains its characteristics and colours

Porcelain pavers won’t change their colour or texture over time unlike some types of natural stone which weather as they age.

  1. Consistent thickness

This makes them easier than some pavers to install.

  1. Easy to clean, low absorption

Cleaning couldn’t be easier.

  1. Brings the outside in

You can create a harmonious flow from the indoor kitchen to an outdoor dining area  as you can match your outdoor porcelain tiles with an indoor tile.

  1. Contemporary appearance

Slabs are of a consistently accurate size as a result of being produced in a factory. This allows them to be laid with thin joints. These thin joins create a very desirable and modern appearance to your garden.

As you can see there are so many reasons why you may want your next outdoor paving project to involve vitrified porcelain paving. It’s a big hit aesthetically and scores top marks for durability.

It’ll work whether in a low, medium or high footfall area, be resistant to scratching, chips and other damage, plus, if looked after properly, will retain its beautiful appearance for a long time.

So if you want to find out more you can contact one of our experts and they’ll be only too happy to talk you through your options. At The Premium Paving Company we have the technical knowledge and experience to advise you should you need our guidance.

We’ll help you if you need to find out whether vitrified porcelain will be perfect for you and your budget and can guide you through the process of installation. One thing is certain – we want you to love your new paving and are here to match you with the right product.

You can also be assured that when you buy your beautiful porcelain pavers from us they will be ethically sourced and sustainable. For further information about vitrified porcelain do not hesitate to contact us today.

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