You’ve probably already made several important decisions when designing your new paving. Whether you’re looking to add life to your garden with some new paving features, give your kitchen a much-needed makeover, or build a strong, resilient driveway, you’ll need to give careful consideration to the paving material you plan to use as well.
Man-made porcelain paving is beginning to take the place of traditional natural stone. Why? What are the advantages of porcelain, and what can natural stone paving offer that porcelain can’t? Which paving will help you make the most of your space and budget, while offering the best finish and functionality? Today, our RF Paving team explains whether natural stone paving or porcelain paving is best for your project.
The purpose of your paving project will determine the functional requirements of your material. You need to select the paving that is most suited to the task at hand.
How strong does your paving need to be? Are you planning on loading heavy vehicles onto the arrangement? Will it see high foot traffic? Or will it be a rarely used, aesthetic piece?
Granite is the strongest natural stone in the industry, but one of the most expensive. Despite its strength, you’ll still need to use thicker slabs if you’re anticipating heavy loads, just as you will with every other natural stone. And thicker slabs mean higher costs.
Due to the high temperatures that porcelain is exposed to in the production process, it’s a very strong and durable material. It costs less and for commercial purposes, it’s certainly more appropriate than natural stone.
Scratch Resistance and Maintenance
High volumes of traffic also mean that your paving is more prone to wear and tear. That being the case, natural stone needs to be regularly sealed (every one to two years) to protect its elaborate design and look.
And that’s before we even begin to talk about the famous British weather. Natural stones are porous materials, meaning that without sealant, moisture can build up inside the stone and easily damage the material. Spillages, stains, and natural build-ups can be difficult to remove.
On the other hand, porcelain is naturally scratch-resistant and non-porous. Stains are washed away with soapy water and a brush.
If you’re expecting your paving to be a busy space and don’t want the hassle of cleaning and maintaining your paving, then porcelain is the obvious choice. It’s also likely to last longer as there’s little chance of frost and ice destroying the material completely.
Ok, so porcelain seems to be the obvious winner for functionality. But what about appearance? This is where natural stone comes into its own.
Natural stone creates a natural appearance. The rustic, authentic look of natural stone is hard to beat, and it can completely transform your property into a stand-out, elegant space. Sandstone, limestone, and granite stone all have unique characteristics and benefits on any landscaping project.
But that’s not to say that porcelain paving is ugly – far from it. Porcelain is becoming more and more popular because the technology used to create the paving is always becoming more advanced.
There are more colours, shapes, patterns, and styles than ever before. You can create almost every paving design you can think of on porcelain. Although the unique shapes and patterns may not be quite as authentic as they are with natural stone, the finish is still impressive.
The installation process is different for every natural stone. Some stones are easier to cut than others, some are heavier to transport, and some stones have labour-intensive installation processes. All of these factors can push the cost higher and higher.
Typically, porcelain is simpler to install and will be easier to transport. It’s a more environmentally friendly material to use as well: it’s manufactured from raw materials; there’s minimal waste; no resins are required; materials can be recycled back into the installation process.
As with every project, your budget is key to each decision. Yes, granite and limestone are eye-catching stones that will add a wow factor to your garden, but the material costs are high. And that’s before we even begin to discuss transport, installation, the required tools, and maintenance.
Natural stone is cheaper than porcelain. As a price guide comparison, you may find that some porcelain paving has a similar price point to the higher end natural stone slabs. As more and more patterns appear and porcelain continues to impress with its imitation of natural stones, the price may influence many more paving projects.
Natural and Porcelain Paving with RF Paving
Have we painted a black-and-white picture of whether natural stone or porcelain is best? We hope not! Despite everything we’ve discussed, what matters most is the purpose of your project. No two jobs are the same, and that means that where porcelain may suit one project, natural stone may make for a better solution on another.
Regardless of whether you’re installing porcelain or natural stone, get in touch with our RF Paving experts. We’ll be able to guide you in the right direction and make sure that you get the paving that’s best for your project.
Call our friendly team today on 01977 782 240. Nobody knows paving better than us, and our huge selection of slabs means that we’ll always be able to help.