Porcelain Pavers

Porcelain Pavers

Porcelain pavers are unique paving slabs made from the highest-grade porcelain. As an alternative to concrete and natural stone products, they have been successfully installed in some of the most climatically challenging environments around the world, including here in Canada. Most of the porcelain pavers you will find for outdoor hardscape applications are through bodied Porcelain. They are made by using sand, clay, and other natural material in their composition and heated at high temperature during the manufacturing process, yielding a tougher variety of porcelain, which is very strong.

One key advantage that porcelain pavers have over other stone pavers or slabs is they are thinner but much stronger. The typical porcelain paver for outdoor applications is 20 mm thick and can span a distance up to 24” between supports. The fact that they are thinner means they are much lighter, usually weighing in around only 9 lbs per square foot. This means working with them will be easier, and when using them for a rooftop deck there will be less load on the structure. This may not be as big of an issue for a commercial application that is designed to support greater loads, but for the typical home application, where a homeowner is looking to add a rooftop patio, the savings in weight can be key.

Don’t let the fact that porcelain pavers are thin fool you into thinking they are not strong. I certainly do not want to get into a lot of technical data and numbers. But for an easy comparison, a poured concrete slab will have a strength rating of between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds per square inch. An interlock brick paver will usually be slightly higher than 8,000 pounds per square inch, while porcelain pavers run over 40,000 pounds per square inch! I have actually seen a Chev Tahoe parked on and supported by 4 porcelain pavers supported by pedestals in each corner.

One of the biggest misconceptions about porcelain pavers is they are slippery – especially when wet. First, it is important to know that porcelain pavers as described are extremely hard and let in little to no water, which means any water that lands on the paver stays on top – unlike stone or concrete pavers where some of the water would be absorbed. This is great for keeping the porcelain pavers clean and stain free, but does it make the porcelain paver slippery?

A skid-resistance scale is used to determine the degree of slippage on a porcelain paver surface. When assessing different paver surfaces, wet and dry conditions along with the speed of the subject are considered.

  1. Slip Resistant: Coefficient of friction is 0.60 or greater (wet). Meets or exceeds general safety and health regulations, ADA and OSHA requirements.
  2. Conditionally Slip Resistant: Coefficient of friction is 0.50 to 0.59 (wet). Meets or exceed general safety and health regulations and OSHA requirements.
  3. Questionable: Coefficient of friction less than 0.50

One important thing to note is that the more textured a tile is, the less slippery it is. Most of the outdoor porcelain paver manufactures recognize the importance that their products are not slippery, so they are manufactured with a higher coefficient of friction.

Another question we see often is, do porcelain pavers get hot? The short answer to that is it depends. Like all materials, porcelain pavers will absorb the heat of the sun, so depending on how long the paver is exposed to the sun and how dark the colour is will determine how much the it will heat up. One thing that is for certain, porcelain pavers or any stone paver for that matter, will not heat up as much as composite decking boards.

Porcelain pavers are available in a multiple of colours, textures, styles and sizes making them the perfect choice for any stone deck or patio project.