Natural Stone or Porcelain Paving? Which is best?

Natural Stone or Porcelain Paving? Which is best?

It can be a confusing task deciding what paving is right for you, due to the sheer variety of options available to you.

It is very important to research your choice of stone carefully at the very beginning of the project, with your personal preferences and design needs taken into consideration. For a number of years, Natural Stone Paving has been used in both commercial and domestic projects such as Slate, Sandstone and Granite being the most popular choices. However, the blooming popularity of Porcelain Paving has seen a much wider range become available in recent years which quickly saw top spot when it comes to garden paving due to the large range of convenience and benefits that is offered.

Strength & Durability

Natural Stone

Natural stone forms over thousands of years and is often forgotten that the stone in your home/garden is millennium’s old. That being said, the stone is extremely durable and    hard-wearing which has seen much use in domestic and commercial projects for years. Natural Stone slabs are suited to the British climate and regardless of the weather will retain their underfoot grip and simultaneously stand the test of time. The natural stone we have available is calibrated to 22mm in thickness which is the industry standard for exterior paving and is durable underfoot for any regular, domestic usage.

Granite is often considered to be one of the strongest variants of natural stone, but if expected to see a high volume of traffic or will need to withstand the weight of vehicles, a thicker slab would be necessary. When planning natural stone in those high traffic areas or driveways, we recommend 25mm Granite or Granite Setts as they are much more suited for the aforementioned scenarios.

Porcelain

Porcelain paving is created from baking a mix of minerals, clay and sand at a high temperature. The resulting paving slabs are hard-wearing, non-porous and extremely tough with each slab ranging between 16-22mm calibrated. This means that the slabs of 20mm thickness and above can withstand the weight of vehicles and see excessive use in public spaces. Similar to Natural Stone, Porcelain tiles are perfectly suited to the British climate and is designed to withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions.

Longevity & Maintenance

Natural Stone

We advise to seal your natural stone to help prevent against any staining as well as helping to prevent the growth of any algae or moss. If dealing with a lighter coloured stone, we advise sealing it even more so as the stains would be noticeably more visible. There are a wide range of sealing products available which will provide various results.

Some Sealants will simply seal and protect, whereas others can be used to enhance the colour of your slabs. In places where the stone will see excessive use, fading can start to occur over a long period of time, sealing the stone can help protect against this fading.

There are no specific guidelines as for when to apply a sealer. Some people choose to seal the slabs before laying to prevent any staining during the laying process whilst others prefer to leave the stone unsealed for up to a year, allowing for the stone to weather naturally before the sealant is applied.

Indian Stone with a Sealant

Porcelain

The porcelain tiles are non-porous which means that moisture won’t be able to seep into the slabs, protecting your paving from excessive growth of moss or algae, so you won’t need to worry about unwanted growths and stains that could be caused by rainwater or spillages. The low maintenance paving slabs can simply be wiped clean with damp cloth to remove any spills or dirt.

As a result, Porcelain paving will save you plenty of time and money in the long run, as natural stone will need to be re-sealed every 1-2 years and will often require a specialist cleaning product to remove any staining.

Colours & Finishes Natural Stone or Porcelain Paving

Natural Stone

Natural stone is an entirely organic product that has been quarried from the earth which results in delivering authentic natural tones and colours.

The stone displays beautiful variations from slab to slab, providing a large array of design opportunities. Indian Sandstone Raj, for example, is one of the boldest of all of our natural stones available, with the seasonal mix of pink, green, beige, brown and cream every slab is unique and tells a story. If you’re after a more contemporary look the Silver Grey may be the one for you, with its mix of grey slabs that consist of both light and dark greys, this will never go out of fashion.

Porcelain

Porcelain paving features a consistent, printed surface that emulates beautifully the appearance of natural stone. Our porcelain slabs are designed to copy the traditional look of natural stone whilst also offering eye-catching variations. One of our most popular options is the Silver Grey Porcelain which offers lighter and more neutral tones which provides the perfect backdrop to any traditional or modern patio and is often seen as an alternative to Granite.Porcelain Paving

Cost

Natural Stone

Natural stone paving is available from Rhino BDS from just £34.00/m2 + VAT, with its relatively affordable price, it’s easy to see why natural stone is so popular as a type of patio or garden paving. Keep in mind that natural stone will still need a small amount of upkeep and maintenance to ensure that the paving is maintained.

Porcelain

In comparison, porcelain paving is slightly more expensive. However, the maintenance for porcelain is much simpler and the stone won’t need regular sealing. For any tough stains, a cleaner could still be needed to help remove the marks. Liquid won’t be able to penetrate the surface and result in permanent staining due to the slabs being non-porous.

Conclusion

Natural Stone or Porcelain Paving, which is best for you ? There is no right or wrong answer!

Overall, Porcelain is not only denser and stronger than Natural Stone, but it is also about to withstand higher temperatures and is not susceptible to scratching or staining. As well as this, porcelain is more resistant to any and all build-ups of moisture which can cause mould and growth, needing very little maintenance to remain looking its best.

Natural stone, on the other hand, offers a wide range of eye-catching and unique finishes and although it does need regular treatment and sealing, this is quick and easy to do, and only needs to be carried out once every 1-2 years. When selecting your stone, always take the time to think about the use that your space will see, as well as the look you would like to achieve .

Most people will only lay one or two patios throughout their life and any type of stone will last for years to come, which makes it very important to take the time to understand exactly what you want to achieve so that you make the right choices the first time round!

Published On: 24/05/2022Categories: How To Guides

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