Porcelain Pavers Pros and Cons + Are they Worth It?

Homeowners are increasingly preferring porcelain pavers over concrete and sand for their patios, driveways, and walkways. They’re considered a good choice for different types of hardscapes due to their durability, visual appeal, and slip resistance. And despite a few downsides, namely brittleness and difficulty to install on-grade, porcelain pavers are definitely worth the investment.

Are porcelain pavers good for patios?

Porcelain pavers are a great choice for patios since they’re durable, fade-resistant, and water-resistant. Porcelain avers are usually kiln-dried at high temperatures, making them tough and able to withstand high traffic infrequently used patios.

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Meanwhile, even if your patio doesn’t have a solid roof cover, the floor won’t show signs of fading if it’s covered with porcelain tile that’s resistant to the sun’s UV rays. And during extremely cold weather in winter, porcelain is unlikely to crack due to the freezing conditions.

Advantages of Porcelain Pavers

There are several advantages to installing porcelain pavers as your patio flooring. They’re durable, relatively cheap, visually alluring, and slip-resistant. Porcelain patio tiles are also resistant to damage from extreme weather, require minimal maintenance, and are easy to install.

Are Durable

Porcelain pavers are made to be strong and durable. To make porcelain, special clay and additives are kiln-dried to temperatures of 1200-1400 ° F. The result is a tough, wear-hardy material that can hardly absorb water.

Due to its high compressive toughness, porcelain has excellent load-bearing capabilities and can easily withstand up to 2,000-pounds of weight. Meanwhile, its low water absorption properties mean that porcelain is unlikely to crack due to frozen water within its structure. By comparison, natural stone pavers readily crack during winter when the moisture they’ve absorbed freezes during the colder months.

Are Visually Appealing

Porcelain pavers are stylish and come in a wide variety of designs and colors. With porcelain, you can try out different design ideas to create a unique-looking hardscape surface. You can even go for porcelain pavers that are textured to mimic the look of natural stone or wood surfaces.

Are relatively affordable

Porcelain pavers are relatively budget-friendly since they cost less than natural stone per square foot. It’s for this reason that some homeowners prefer to install textured porcelain pavers that mimic natural stone instead of investing in real natural stone like travertine or marble. Take note, though, that porcelain pavers are still relatively pricier than concrete.

Are Slip-Resistant

Porcelain pavers are usually textured to enhance grip and prevent users from slipping on them. That’s why porcelain pavers are recommended for use in wet outdoor areas such as beside the pool or on walkways that are near to sprinklers. Kids are also less likely to slip and fall when playing on porcelain-paved patios, walkways, and driveways.

Have Minimal Maintenance Requirements

Porcelain’s low-water absorption also means that you won’t have to deal with mold and moss, which thrive in damp conditions. It’s also rare to spot permanent liquid stains on porcelain pavers. Porcelain also has low sensitivity to chemicals, thus you can clean the surface using chemical cleaners without worrying about the possibility of chemical abrasion.

Efflorescence, which is a common phenomenon on porous paving materials like concrete, doesn’t occur on porcelain surfaces. Dissolved salts can’t move through the dense porcelain structure to form an unsightly coating on the surface. Efflorescent-free porcelain maintains its clean look without the need for regular cleaning and maintenance.

Note: Since porcelain is waterproof, you also don’t have to seal coat it like concrete. It’s expensive to reseal paved surfaces every time the old layer of seal wears off.

Are Lightweight

Owing to their lightweight nature, porcelain pavers are easy to work with. Most types of porcelain pavers are made to a thickness of 3/4-inches, making them significantly lighter than natural stone pavers or concrete blocks.

Porcelain paving tiles are easier to transport to the construction site. They’re also easier to carry and move around during installation; as opposed to carrying natural stone pavers, which is a laborious task due to the increased weight.

Are Weather-Proof

Porcelain pavers are unlikely to be affected by extremely low or extremely high-temperature conditions. They’re able to stay frost-free and resist cracking, even at temperatures as low as -60 ° F. This can be attributed to porcelain’s non-porous nature.

Note: During winter, you can pour de-icing salts on your porcelain hardscape without any negative consequences.

Meanwhile, even when it’s very sunny, porcelain pavers will resist fading/discoloration due to the vitrification process that’s used to give them their color. By comparison, concrete surfaces will readily fade under constant exposure to sunlight.

Disadvantages of Porcelain Pavers

Despite having several benefits as detailed in the previous section, porcelain pavers have some downsides. They’re hard to cut through, difficult to install on grade, cost more than concrete, and are brittle.

Are Difficult to Cut Through

Porcelain is a hard and dense material and is thus hard to drill through. You need specialized drilling equipment such as diamond drill bits or a wet saw to easily cut through porcelain pavers. You also have to use the proper drilling techniques when cutting through the porcelain to avoid cracking the pavers.

Are Difficult to Install On-Grade

Porcelain pavers have a thinner cross-section compared to concrete pavers, thus requiring extensive area preparation when being installed on grade. For starters, you need to install gravel and sand bedding to the appropriate depth, depending on the amount of weight you need the hardscape to withstand.

The bedding then needs to be properly compacted and leveled for optimal stability, before you can lay down the porcelain pavers. For porcelain driveways, a gravel and sand sub-base may be too structurally weak and you may need a concrete sub-base. That’s unless you’re using 1 1/8-inch thick porcelain pavers instead of the ¾-inch thick ones.

Are Pricier than Concrete

Despite being more affordable than natural stone paving blocks, porcelain pavers cost more than concrete pavers. However, considering the longer lifespan and lower maintenance requirements of porcelain over concrete, you can argue that porcelain pavers offer more value for money over the course of their lifetime.

Are Brittle

Porcelain’s tough and dense structure is also what makes it brittle. As such, they’re more likely to break under impact by a hard object. They’re also likely to break if dropped during transportation or installation.

Lowers Home Resale Value

Porcelain pavements are considered less valuable than natural stone hardscapes. As such, having porcelain on your driveway or patio may have a negative impact on your property’s resale value.

Where can you install porcelain pavers?

Due to their numerous desirable qualities, porcelain pavers are a versatile flooring option and can be used in many areas inside and outside the house. You can use porcelain pavers with thick cross-sections (1 1/8-inches) on your driveway, while thinner ones (3/4-inches) will work fine on patios and walkways.

Since they’re available in various shades, you can use bright-colored porcelain pavers in your patio to reflect heat from the sun. This helps to regulate the temperatures inside the patio, making it more comfortable during hot summer days.

You can also use porcelain pavers can also be used to cover degrading concrete or wooden decks. In fact, matching porcelain tiles in your home’s entryway with porcelain pavers on the deck creates a seamless transition.

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