Lockdown and the inevitable increased amount of time spent at home has focused many of us to consider upgrading our garden spaces with one of the most popular areas for investment being the patio.
Choice of material
Having decided on size and purpose, attention turns to material choices. Historically a natural stone would have been thought of as providing a premium look, and this remains a very valid and aesthetically pleasing choice. For those looking for a modern alternative with both a premium feel and practical benefits, porcelain tiles are the latest option and come with a whole range of advantages.
Porcelain tiles are exceptionally strong and durable. Severe weather, spills, encroaching vegetation, mould and mildew become things your less fortunate neighbours are left to contend with as this material is almost maintenance free. A quick power wash being all that is required on a fairly limited basis to keep your patio looking as fresh as the day it was laid.
Further porcelains robust characteristics and durability also mean that your tiles won’t fade in the sun or be susceptible to scratches, no need to worry that using your patio space will spoil its good looks! Outdoor grade tiles can have non slip finishes for safety in our British climate.
Manufactured by hard firing in a kiln at a high temperature, porcelain is naturally poor at absorbing water. There is no requirement for either expensive sealants or treatments to prevent water soaking into the pavers which could cause damage to the structure of your patio and problems from the freeze thaw action of frost.
Whilst the imperfections of natural stone paving are beautiful and can provide a talking point with your guests, if you are looking for a sleek and uniform look porcelain should be your material of choice. With an ever-increasing number of fantastic and eye-catching finish options available, some even mimicking wood, stone or concrete it is often hard to tell the porcelain alternative apart from the real deal!
Many suppliers are offering porcelain tiles made from recycled content, and some are using kilns that run on solar power, and they are often manufactured in Europe rather than natural stone quarried and transported from much further afield.
What’s the catch?
So, with amazing benefits like these, what is the catch I hear you ask? Well, there are two main problems that I can think of and we have a solution for at least one and some thoughts on the other!
Firstly cost, porcelain slabs as a general rule of thumb are the more expensive alternative, (but comparable to natural stone) the phrase you get what you pay for springs to mind and it is worth remembering that the initial outlay is only part of the life-time cost, with elegance, maintenance and longevity also being key factors to consider.
Secondly being harder than natural and other man-made materials porcelain tiles are more difficult to cut and because of this many installers are reluctant to tackle porcelain projects which if as you’ve been reading this and you have already fallen in love with the idea is a bit of an issue. Fear not here at Cotswold Estates and Gardens, ever keen to keep up with the latest developments in garden design and their requirements we have invested in a Clipper Stone Saw specifically for such projects. This machine coupled with a skilled operator makes the notoriously tricky porcelain cuts a thing of the past enabling Cotswold Estates and Gardens your contractor of choice to deliver high quality and beautifully laid porcelain projects!