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Porcelain Paving Installation

How to install porcelain paving slabs

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What base do you lay porcelain slabs on?

The installation method will differ depending on the type of base. Porcelain pavers can be installed on sand, gravel, grass, patios and driveways or as a raised paving solution.

How do I cut porcelain paving?

20 mm porcelain slabs must be cut using wet or dry tools with diamond discs specifically recommended for porcelain stoneware. Using water suppression and cutting at a high speed will give a clean cut.

What is lippage and how can I prevent it from occurring?

Lippage is an uneven surface of a floor in which tiles are at differing heights, creating a “lip” between tiles. This problem is most common when 50% offsets are used. To reduce this effect, try to avoid patterns with offsets in excess of 33%.

Patio Paving Installation (Wet Bed Installation)

This method is suitable for patio installation. Ensure no primer spills onto the faces of the porcelain slabs.

What you need

  • Paving slabs
  • Shovel or spade
  • Hardcore
  • Cement (for mortar bed)
  • Sand (for mortar bed)
  • Slurry-based primer
  • Rubber mallet
  • Broom

Installation Steps

Step 1

Patio paving installation digging
Mark out your chosen area and dig to a depth of roughly 100 mm. Lay a bed of hardcore, break it down in two layers and compact.

Step 2

Patio paving installation mortar bed
Prepare a mortar bed, roughly a 4:1 mix of sand to cement. Add the mix over the hardcore layer to a thickness of around 30 - 40 mm.

Step 3

Patio paving installation adhesion
Paste the bottom of the porcelain slab with a slurry-based primer (adhesion is needed due to the low porosity of the product). This adhesion will prevent lifting or separation in all weathers.

Step 4

Patio paving installation finished
After laying, tap into place with a rubber hammer. To fill the joints between the slabs, first wet the paving surface, then use a pointing material and sweep into the joints with a broom. You can neaten this by running a rounded surface along the joints.
Patio paving installation overview

Paving Installation on Grass

Allows for repositioning. For use by pedestrians or cyclists. No specific skills or equipment are required for installation. Ideal for use as garden ‘stepping stones’.

What you need

  • Paving slabs
  • Shovel or spade
  • Broom (to level the gravel)
  • Rubber mallet

Installation Steps

Step 1

Grass paving installation finished
Position the slabs onto the grass to find your favourite arrangement.

Step 2

Grass paving installation digging
Use a spade to cut the ground around the edge of each paving slab. Dig the soil to a depth of around 60 mm.

Step 3

Grass paving installation gravel layer
Add a layer of gravel (particle size 5-10 mm) into the holes to provide a firm, flat substrate. Use a broom or similar to level the gravel.

Step 4

Grass paving installation placing slabs
Place the slabs, making sure the top face is level with or slightly below the surface of the ground.
Grass paving installation overview

Paving Installation on Sand

Allows for repositioning. For use by pedestrians or cyclists. No specific skills or equipment are required for installation. If barefoot use is expected, use light colours only. Slabs are prone to move over time.

What you need

  • Paving slabs
  • Straightedge tool
  • Broom (to level the sand)
  • Rubber mallet

Installation Steps

Step 1

Sand paving installation level ground
Level the area for paving with the aid of a straightedge. If necessary use a spirit level.

Step 2

Sand paving installation measuring depth
A layer of sand at least 50-100 mm deep is recommended.

Step 3

Sand paving installation position slabs
Position the slabs with the aid of spacers so the joints are perfectly aligned. Level the surface with the straightedge.

Step 4

Sand paving installation filling gaps
Fill the gaps in with sand to prevent the risk of tripping.
Sand paving installation overview

Paving Installation on Gravel

Allows for repositioning. For use by pedestrians or cyclists. Method suitable for use on soil and also on flat roofs and solid screeds.

What you need

  • Paving slabs
  • Shovel or spade
  • Polymer sand filler (optional)
  • Sand (to level, optional)
  • Straightedge tool
  • Broom (to level the gravel)
  • Rubber mallet
  • Geotextile layer

Installation Steps

Step 1

Gravel paving installation digging
Dig the chosen area to a depth of 100-200 mm; if the paving adjoins grass or any other uncompacted surface, a containing curb (in stone, metal or PVC) should be used. Level and compact the surface with sand or soil. Use a geotextile layer to separate the substrate from the soil.

Step 2

Gravel paving installation level layer
Lay a level of gravel (particle size 30-40 mm) about 100 mm deep (a deeper layer means better drainage). Level with a straightedge and compact thoroughly. A mechanical compactor can be used if necessary.

Step 3

Gravel paving installation arrange slabs
Arrange the slabs; spacers can be used between slabs to maintain the joint width. Always leave a joint of at least 4-5 mm. A rubber hammer can be used for any adjustments.

Step 4

Gravel paving installation filler
Joints of 4-10 mm should be filled with a polymer sand filler (when rain is not forecast). Otherwise, leave the gaps empty or fill them with washed sand. When slabs are installed with very large gaps (40-50 mm), these should be filled with gravel of suitable particle size.
Gravel paving installation overview

Driveway Paving Installation (using adhesives)

System suitable for use on driveways. Make a careful assessment of the bearing capacity of the surfaces in relation to the expected loads and the characteristics of the substrate.

What you need

  • Paving slabs
  • Gravel / Hardcore
  • Outdoor porcelain adhesive
  • Paving spacers
  • Joint filler, cleaner and grout
  • Concrete
  • Bitumen membrane
  • Mesh

Installation Steps

Step 1

Driveway paving installation gravel layer
Prepare a compact layer of gravel and hardcore at least 100 mm deep (loose stone foundation) and cast a layer of concrete with a suitable thickness (usually about 150-200 mm) on top. If waterproofing is required, a layer of bitumen membrane can be added, with a polyethylene separator sheathing on top.

Step 2

Driveway paving installation rebar mesh
Create a substrate of 50-100 mm with a rebar mesh about halfway through its depth. Ensure a suitable pitch (about 2%). Comply strictly with curing and stabilisation times.

Step 3

Driveway paving installation glue slabs
Glue the slabs in place, coating both the back of the slab and the substrate. Use a high performance outdoor adhesive specifically for porcelain stoneware and follow the manufacturers instructions. Provide expansion joints as required by the specific context.

Step 4

Driveway paving installation finished
Create joints of at least 4-5 mm with the aid of suitable spacers. The joint filler must be a specific product for outdoor use, applied in accordance with the producer’s instructions. Clean after installation with a specific cleaner to remove all traces of adhesive and grout.
Driveway paving installation overview