If an Englishman’s home is his castle, then his garden must be, er, his garden, right? Well yes, but our backyards and gardens are so much more. With the increased popularity of alfresco living – especially in the heatwave we’re experiencing at the time of writing – they aren’t just the preserve of the green-fingered amongst us; they’re also a place for entertaining friends, relaxing with the family, or just enjoying the sun on your own in the evening.
So in other words, our garden spaces have become an extension of our homes. And as the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living continue to blur, it’s more important than ever to get the design spot on. So it’s bye-bye to bland concrete flags and ta-ra to tired timber decking; today’s designer spaces are all about outdoor tiles.
And not just any outdoor tiles, mind. Brand new for 2018, our 2 cm thick porcelain pavers are specifically designed for great British homes. So not only do they look great, they’ll stand up to everything our famous weather can throw at them. Here’s everything you need to know.
What are outdoor tiles?
In theory, you can use almost any porcelain tile outside as they’re frostproof by nature and shouldn’t crack when it’s cold. However, there’s a number of issues you might have with standard porcelain tiles. For example, they might not have an anti-slip rating and you’ll need to lay them onto a costly concrete base.
That’s where our new porcelain pavers come in. At 2 cm thick, these tiles are double the thickness of standard porcelain, meaning they’re incredibly hard-wearing and can be laid just laid a normal patio slab or garden flag. And as they’re specifically designed for outdoor use, they all come with a certified slip-resistant finish – more of that below. So when it comes to outdoor tiles, pick our porcelain pavers and you’re guaranteed good looks, durability and ultimate performance.
The benefits of 2cm porcelain pavers
If Top Trumps existed for exterior flooring, then our outdoor tiles would win hands down. But their handsome looks and superior performance are only half the story – there’s a whole host of reasons why our porcelain pavers make sense for your next garden project. Here’s a few reasons why you should consider them over slate slabs, timber decking or any other covering material.
Unlike timber or natural flags, porcelain pavers are incredibly resistant to moisture. This means that they’re very, very difficult to stain so there’s no need to worry about a spilt glass of wine or two! Or even worse, algae stains – yuck! And because water can’t penetrate the surface, your new flooring won’t rot like wood or crack during a harsh winter.
Really easy to clean
If you’ve lived with stone slabs, you’ll know they require a lot of TLC to ensure they look their best. Our outdoor tiles are the extreme opposite – a jet wash once a year with warm soapy water is usually all that’s needed. So that’s less time cleaning, more time chilling.
Unaffected by weather
You’ll be glad to know that our damp British weather won’t affect these tiles. But sometimes, the sun does shine here. And when it does, our porcelain tiles don’t mind – they’re completely resistant to UV rays so won’t fade over time unlike other materials.
Our porcelain slabs are ‘baked’ at really high temperatures which ensures their outstanding strength and performance – these tiles are durable enough to be used in ultra high-traffic areas. And they’re incredibly hard to scratch as well, which is pretty important when you’re dragging heavy garden furniture out from the shed!
If you’ve ever had timber decking then you’ll know how slippery the surface can sometimes be. Our porcelain paving slabs are a much safer alternative, especially when you consider our wet climate. They all have a slip resistance rating of R11 or above which means they’re suitable for outdoor use – after all, you can’t put a price on peace of mind.
Range of styles
Our porcelain pavers might be practical and hardworking, but that doesn’t mean they can’t look great. Far from it, in fact! Our small but perfectly formed range features designs in the latest trends such as concrete, stone and even wood effect slabs! And as they’re produced by the latest inkjet printing technology, you’ll get all the charm of the natural material without any of the drawbacks.
Easy to install
Unlike standard 10mm thick tiles, our porcelain slabs are 20mm thick which means they’re much easier to fit. While you can fix them to a concrete slab using normal tile adhesive, you can also dry lay onto gravel, sand or even grass – ideal for a quick DIY update!
According to designers, modern living is all about a seamless transition from inside to out. Some of our outdoor slabs come with matching indoor-only tiles, meaning you can co-ordinate your garden with the rest of your home for ultra-contemporary style.
Where to use outdoor tiles
Tiny terraces, gargantuan gardens or perfect patios – there’s nowhere our outdoor tiles won’t transform! Because they’re made from sturdy porcelain, they’re really versatile so you can now enjoy contemporary style almost anywhere outside.
Paths and Patios
Paths and patios are the ideal space to lay our contemporary slabs. After all, first impressions count for everything; with our porcelain pavers, your house will always look its best with hardly any care required. On the other hand, natural flagstones can be a nightmare to live with – they can discolour easily and usually require re-sealing at least once a year.
While we’re suckers for a lush green lawn, they’re not necessarily the best place to park your parasol and enjoy an alfresco dinner. So take advantage of the sturdy nature of our slabs – they can be laid directly onto grass, quickly turning a patch of grass into a perfect patio.
Outdoor swimming pools lend themselves to 20 mm porcelain tiles. While you’ll naturally want a stylish pool surround, it’s vital that your flooring is practical and non-porous too. Our tile slabs all have certified slip-resistant surfaces but importantly, we make sure they aren’t too rough – so they’re comfortable when you’re walking around barefoot.
Terraces and Balconies
Modern design is all about bringing the outside in, and vice versa. Our outdoor tiles will ensure your outdoor entertaining spaces look every bit as good as your interiors, so there’s no reason not to sit back and enjoy a nice G&T or two with a couple of friends…
Commercial & Public Spaces
By their very nature, commercial and public areas such as courtyards and beer gardens experience a lot of daily footfall. Our porcelain slabs will happily withstand years of abuse with no visible signs of wear and tear. And as an added bonus, the contemporary nature of these tiles will ensure your space stands out amongst the competition.
How to install porcelain slabs
Our outdoor tiles might be pretty and practical, but that’s not everything. Something else you’ll love is how easy they are to fit. Unlike normal porcelain tiles, our slabs can be ‘dry laid’ without any grout or adhesive which means they’re ideal for a quick and easy update. There’s a few other laying methods, depending on the location to be tiled and your particular requirements. Let’s take a closer look:
Creating a new seating space in the garden couldn’t be easier – just lay our slabs directly onto your lawn and you’re good to go. And as the tiles aren’t fixed, they’re easy to reposition if you decide to move them to a difference space; they also make great Japanese-style stepping stones! Leave a larger joint between the tiles and let the grass grown for a natural, organic finish.
Gravel & Sand
As with grass, you can dry lay porcelain slabs onto a sand or gravel base for a fast, easy install. This is ideal where a permanent fix isn’t possible and as there’s no adhesive to dry, you can walk on your new tiles immediately. Leave a larger joint between the slabs and filling these with gravel or pebbles rather than grout, to assist with drainage.
Standard 10mm thick porcelain tiles have to be fixed to a concrete slab when used outside. This is also a popular way to fit thicker 20mm outdoor slabs, especially for larger terraces and patios where you want a flush, seamless finish. And if you’re planning on fitting porcelain slabs to your driveway, it’s vital they’re permanently fixed so there’s no movement when cars drive over. Be sure to use a porcelain tile adhesive that’s certified for outdoor use and slope tiles away from your house, to allow rainwater to drain. We also recommend grouting the joints so there’s nowhere for moisture and dirt to collect.
Looking for a stable patio floor but still need access for concealed wires and pipes? Then plastic pedestals are your new best friend. These innovative feet raise the level of your tiles, so you can run certain services, such as cables for outdoor lighting, in the void below. As the slabs aren’t permanently fixed, they can be quickly raised for periodic services and inspections. We recommend not grouting the joints, so rain can easily drain.