Porcelain tiles are a popular choice, and not just for kitchens and bathrooms, but also for garden patios. Their sleek look and easy-to-maintain properties can make them your customers’ go-to option.
So, what’s the problem? Well, porcelain is a tricky material to work with, especially when you bring the outdoors into the equation, meaning their installation isn’t the easiest of jobs.
For those of you with landscaping jobs on the horizon this summer, we’ve spoken to tile distributor, CTD, to understand everything you need to know about specifying, installing and maintaining porcelain.
What will you need?
- Porcelain flags
- Spirit level
- Wet tile saw with a diamond blade
- Solid cement screed or slurry
Where can you lay porcelain?
Let’s start with the basics, porcelain can pretty much be used anywhere. Internally or externally, floors or walls – it doesn’t matter! The material can even be used on driveways if a strengthening bonding agent is added.
How do you cut porcelain?
There are many ways to cut a porcelain tile, but the most effective method is to use a wet tile saw with a diamond blade. Water suppression is the important element here as it will limit dust gathering and will keep the blade wet and cool to make for a smoother cut.
You need a careful hand when you’re working with porcelain as it’s a delicate material that can chip and crack easily. That means staying clear of the cut off saws that you’d normally use for tile cutting. Double check your measurements and take your time – it’s better to get it right first time.
Note: remember to be mindful of health and safety when using these tools.
What about cutting curved edges?
Now, this takes a bit more skill. Preparation here is key; trace around the object that the tile needs to mould around to get an accurate measurement. You’ll need to initially score a line into the flag to make a shallow indent that your cut can follow. Next, cut straight through each end of the line – this will help prevent any breakages when you cut.
Now you’re ready to make the full cut. Just follow the indent carefully around the curve and there you have it!
What foundations do you need to lay porcelain flags?
When it comes to laying the flags, it really is down to the requirements of the job. For instance, they can be laid on a solid cement screed bed and tiled with an adhesive, or on raised pedestal systems if piping and cabling need to be run underneath. However, the most popular option would be to lay the flags on a new mortar bed and add a slurry to the back of the tile.
The key to a long-lasting seal is to make sure the slurry has a thick consistency and apply it all over the flag – not just the corners. And, of course, a spirit level will always come in handy to ensure the finished product is straight and true.
When going about this dirtier part of the job, always try keep the face of your tile clean to ensure a pristine end result.
Do porcelain tiles need sealing?
Due to their low absorbency, porcelain tiles do not normally require a sealant to protect them from weathering. However, if your client has opted for a polished finished tile, there will be some microporosity (gaps where air and liquid can pass) because of the cleaning process and they may need to be sealed for added protection.
What are the benefits of porcelain?
Where do we start? They are easy to maintain as they are frost, stain, scratch, algae and thermal-shock resistant. This means they require very little cleaning and upkeep. Plus, they look great and are available in a wide variety of styles to suit your customers taste.
What products should I use?
There’s a whole variety of porcelain tiles for you to choose from with different styles and shades, but here’s a few of our favourites.
For our current landscaping offers head over to https://www.jewson.co.uk/landscaping or for more information on porcelain tiles and the British Collection range (available exclusively at Jewson) visit our website.