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How to Lay A Porcelain Patio

How to lay porcelain paving

Advice and Guidance From Industry Experts

How To Lay A Porcelain Patio


Porcelain paving has become an extremely popular product over the last five years. In fact it is one of our best selling products due to its low maintenance nature and modern look. 

If you have never laid a procelain patio before, don't fear! We have put together this handy little guide with expert installers advice including tips and tricks for the perfect cut! 


Excavation & Sub-base

If you have ever installed a different type of product to a patio area then you will already have the basic knowledge on how to excavate and install your sub-base as installing Porcelain are the same as other materials.

You will first need to excavate. The depth should be based on the 3 things: 

  • The sub base & sand thickness
  • The mortar thickness
  • The paving slab thickness

Once you have taken this into account you can work out the sufficient sub-base amount needed. There are many sub-base calculators out there that you can use to help work this out however, for most patios a 100mm sub-base should be fine. Always take into account the frequency load and ground conditions. 

If you need to excavate your ground prior to adding your sub-base then you need to know the above 3 steps to work out your depth to excavate.

If you are laying the patio on an existing foundational structure, always make sure that its a minimum 150mm below the damp course to prevent problems with damp rising.


Edge Retraints

After excavation we recommend installing edge restraints that are robust before you start installing the sub-base. If you are looking for a more finished look then you could cretae a border  instead of using edge retraints using a different product which would frame the patio to make it stand out


What sub-base material should you use?

We recommend your sub-base material to be well graded (40mm to dust) Type 1 quality and installed in layers no thicker than 75mm, or twice the nominal aggregate size.


Laying Your Paving

You really want your paving to be as rigid as possible, so our top tip is to install on a full morter bed and never, ever on a five spot bed or any other alternative.

We advise laying your porcelain slabs on a full, wet, workable mix motar bed.

1:4 cemment / sharp sand

The mortar bed should be laid on top of the sub-base at a thickness at around 15mm to 30mm. 


If you want to increase the adhesion of the mortar bed which will prevent seperation then we recommend a flexible bonding agent compound such as Marshalls Paving Pimer. This will prevent seperation and should be applied to the back of the Porcelain flag before installing it onto the mortar bed you previously created.

Once the mortar is installed and you have primed your flag you will need an appropriate rubber maul to gently tamp the flag down onto the mortar bed. This is when adjustments may need to be made to make sure that the slabs are fully supported and do not move. You will also need to make sure that the desired levels are maintained and the falls are achieved where planned.


Cutting Porcelain Slabs

Cuttine Porecelain paving is not like cutting other materials and requires skill. We always advise that you wear the appropriate PPE and use dust supression when using any power tool to cut paving.  You will then need to purchase the right prorietary balde that is specifically designed to cut porcelain. The best type of saw to reduce vibration is a table saw with a water suppression. This gives the best straight cuts with porcelain. We understand that not everyone has this type of saw so advise that if you are going to use a power saw that you put the slab onto a polystyrene or a bed of sand when cutting as this will reduce the vibration levels, and lower the risk of the poreclain shattering.

There is always going to be tricky cuts with any patio installation so we advise to measure twice and mark out carefully the section that you are going to cut.  You will need a lot of patience and a steady hand as you begin to slowly angle grind the cut. If you want to be extra safe we also recommend cutting through both ends of the porcelain and then do a full run-through as this will avoid unnecessary breakages.


Jointing a porcelain patio

Jointing a porcelain patio is also a little different than jointing an average patio paving product. Most good suppliers now will send out the porcelain jointing material with the product that you have chosen. We recommend that you use this product to fill the joints as it is specifically made for the poreclain product

If you are looking to achieve a uniform look with the joints then we recommend using spacers. Widths should never exceed 3-5mm wide.

Warning! Never use dry or even semi dry sand and cement mixes to brush into the joints. They don not give a rigid joint and will most likely stain the paving.

Now you have excavated, added your sub-base, primed your paving and laid it onto the mortar, its time to make sure that any excess mortar between the joints are raked out. We recommend doing this to the base level of the slab with a suitable tool. This will make sure that when adding your jointing materials that it fills all of the joints down to the same depth and width per flag, making the install as rigid as possible. When installing the jointing compound always follow the instructions that are supplied with the product. 

To help the jointing material go into the joins with ease, you could create a slurry. To do this add extra water to the jointing compound. This hsould allow an east flow when brushing into the joinnts. For an even smoother finish why not let the jointing compoud drain for a minimum of 2 hours allowing it to cure before striking it off.


Cleaning your newly installed patio

To complete the installation you will want to clean off any excess jointing material. To do this, gently spray the surface of the paving with water and then brush off with a soft-bristled brush.


Why should you buy Porcelain?

There are many reasons why you should buy porcelain paving for your patio project, and not just because of its low maintenance qualities and modern look. Here are just some of the reasons we believe why your should buy porcelain:

  1. Many porcelain products and colours to choose from
  2. It is frost resistant for those cold winter months
  3. It needs less cleaning as it stains less and has less algae compared to other products. This is due to is low water absorption rate.
  4. It’s strong and hard-wearing
  5. A great long lasting investment.

Here a list of just some of the porcelain paving products that we have on our site: 

Thank you for reading our "How to lay a porcelain patio" blog. Check our blogs page for more landscaping advice and tips.

How to Lay A Porcelain Patio How to Lay A Porcelain Patio How to Lay A Porcelain Patio