Traditionally, we don’t tend to consider porcelain as a suitable material for the outdoors. Whilst we might use it extensively for the tiles in our homes, we often prefer natural sandstone, limestone or granite paving when renovating our Irish gardens.
And yet, in recent years 20mm-thick porcelain has become a more and more popular choice for exterior tiles. Homeowners across Ireland – from Dublin city centre and Brú na Bóinne to Castlebar, Limerick and Cork – have been raving about the benefits of using Tile Merchant’s outdoor non-slip tiles for their patios, driveways, decks and gardens. But why?
In this article, we want to take a look at the many natural benefits of porcelain, and more specifically our R11 anti-slip rated 20mm porcelain tiles. We’ve been in the tile business for a long time, and have helped thousands of people to turn their houses into homes, and gardens into lush retreats from the stresses of daily life. We know a good thing when we see it, and we see 20mm outdoor porcelain tiles as the future.
Ireland’s climate is unique, which means outdoor renovations in Ireland must take our many months of excessive rain, hail, sleet and snow into account. Here at Tile Merchant, we get asked all the time: “Which outdoor tiles are slip resistant?” and “Which tiles are suitable for outdoor use?”
The materials traditionally used for decking – natural wood (rather than composite, which is also anti-slip) and plastic – become perilous under foot when wet, sometimes leading to serious injuries and falls.
That’s why the single most important characteristic of Tile Merchant 20mm porcelain paving slabs is that they are anti-slip by design. All of our 20mm porcelain outdoor tiles come with the guaranteed safety of an R11 anti-slip rating.
Anti-slip properties in materials such as porcelain are rated from R9-R13, R13 being the most resistant to slip. In residential settings, such as in your home and garden, you’ll typically have no need to splash out on industrial- and commercial-grade R13 porcelain tiles. These are reserved instead for use in public showers and indoor pool areas.
Our R11 slip rating, on the other hand, was chosen by us specifically because it’s perfect for Irish homes and gardens. Anti-slip outdoor floor tiles offer moderate-to-high protection from slipping, and so are ideally suited to areas which are exposed to frequent wetness and rain.
What this means for you is that you can rely on our 20mm R11 outdoor tiles in just about any garden scenario. Including (but not limited to) building patios, designing back garden paths and flowerbeds, renovating driveways, and even creating dedicated wetrooms.
If you’d rather opt for a higher rating, our indoor R12 porcelain floor tiles are perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.
Outdoor spaces, such as front and back gardens, can sometimes feel a little disconnected from the rest of the home. This is especially the case following extensive home redecorations. The same can also apply in homes with smaller rooms backing onto their gardens, since the abrupt division between these two areas only serves to emphasise the smallness of the indoor space.
Perhaps surprisingly, porcelain non-slip outdoor paving slabs can, if used cleverly, overcome these issues. By designing a back porch or patio paving using our 20mm porcelain slabs, in combination with similar (or the exact same) porcelain tiles inside the home, you can effectively extend your indoor space into the garden.
By bringing the indoors, outdoors, you not only extend the potential for the comfort and style of your home, but you also create a fantastic flowing feeling between house and garden. Whether you’re into the concept of feng shui or not, there’s no denying that uniformity of style between inside and outside makes a space feel bigger.
Here at Tile Merchant, we stock a wide selection of indoor and outdoor porcelain tiles to help you merge the designs of your home with those of your garden.
Porcelain is a much easier raw material for designers and engineers to work with, meaning that it’s possible to create ethically sourced outdoor patio slabs from porcelain in a hugely diverse range of colours, patterns, shapes and sizes.
We stock porcelain tiles which mimic natural stone, limestone, sandstone, and cement, as well as those which hold their own unique place in the world of garden renovation redesign. You can also find our 20mm anti-slip porcelain in an attractive range of colours to compliment any taste or style.
Whereas natural stone quarry tiles are restricted to the grains and colours of the rock they’re cut from, porcelain is not so restricted. As such, when we’re asked what are the best patio slabs, we almost always answer: porcelain.
It’s all very well us talking about anti-slip ratings, pattern and colour variety, and the feng shui benefits of outdoor porcelain tiles, but what about maintenance? Surely, you must be thinking, they’ll require a lot of upkeep.
Thankfully, they don’t. In fact, porcelain tiles are arguably the easiest outdoor paving material to keep clean, sealed and safe throughout their long lifespan.
In addition to the R11 non-slip rating of our outdoor tiles, this porcelain is also resistant to frost, staining, and high temperatures. You can therefore rest assured that your gorgeous, peaceful outdoor space will stay well-kept come rain or shine.
Unlike traditional concrete and stone paving, 20mm outdoor porcelain tiles never require sealing; neither their colour nor brightness will fade in the sun. Maintenance required is minimal, and cleaning can be carried out using a standard hose or power washer from time to time.
Porcelain isn’t known for its strength. Indeed, think of porcelain and most people will immediately conjure images of precious vases falling from pedestals to shatter into a million pieces on the ground.
Outdoor porcelain, however, is different. We recommend using 20mm thick porcelain tiles for your driveways and gardens for a good reason, after all. At two centimetres thick, our outdoor porcelain is actually incredibly strong. So strong that we ran over it… on a joist… in a fully-loaded van… and it came out the other side as good as new.
So, how durable are outdoor porcelain tiles? Pretty durable!
Whilst traditional porcelain (7mm-12mm thick) tends to require adherence to a robust base or foundation surface, such as screed, Tile Merchant 20mm porcelain tiles are strong enough to withstand any amount of pressure all on their own.
The crème de la crème of our outdoor porcelain 20mm tiles is that they are, in addition to all of the above, also super easy to install. You can choose to install porcelain tiles outside by yourself, DIY, or find a tried-and-trusted contractor local to your area through our website.
Either way, the cost of installing porcelain tiles is minimal. They can also be freely repositioned for maximum design flexibility, and fitted into awkward, tight, or unusual spaces.
Well, naturally we’re bound to be biassed. And yet, at the same time, we pride ourselves on providing our customers across Ireland with some of the best, most impartial and well-researched advice.
It’s our job, after all, to help you find the right solution for your home and garden, whilst at the same time providing you the tools and expertise you need to make your dreams a reality.
So, should you install 20mm porcelain tiles in your garden? Yes. They’re safe (anti-slip), durable (anti-frost, anti-stain, thermal-protected), strong (I mean, did you watch that van video?), easy to install and even available in a stonking range of colours, sizes, and patterns.
If you like the sound of Tile Merchant porcelain tiles, then you can view the full range on our website. There, you can order free cut samples to your home, wherever you are in Ireland, to test them out before you order more.
Alternatively, if you prefer to shop in person, then why not pop into one of our showrooms? We have two fully customer-optimised showrooms in Dublin – Coolock and Ballymount – and a new one recently opened in Ashbourne, Co. Meath.
Porcelain paving has exploded in popularity in recent years precisely thanks to the advent of the 20mm porcelain tile. Prior to this innovation in the tile world, porcelain was often considered unsuitable for outdoor use, and more specifically for the Irish market.
Today, however, customers across Ireland are discovering that 20mm outdoor porcelain tiles are incredible value for money. They are durable, strong, easy to install and maintain, anti-slip, anti-frost, anti-heat and anti-stain, and available in a range of colours, styles, and sizes to suit any space, and any taste.
Porcelain tiles come in a wide range of thicknesses, from the more traditional 7mm-12mm thickness of indoor tiles, to the newer 20mm thickness discussed in this article. For the outdoors, we would almost always recommend that you choose a 20mm thick tile.
The extra thickness gives them a higher anti-slip rating (R11) for one, making them better-suited to Irish weather. What’s more, the additional 10mm makes our outdoor porcelain paving slabs stronger and more versatile in their application: suitable for installation on grass, concrete, decking, gravel or sand.
10mm porcelain tiles have some great features, however when used externally, the pros and cons become weighted more toward the negative. They’re simply not quite thick enough to endure the weight of heavy outdoor furniture, such as trampolines, tables and BBQs. They’re also less resistant to the wet, making them more dangerous.
On the contrary, 20mm porcelain tiles can withstand heavy use and furniture placement without showing any cracks, and retain a high degree of safety thanks to their impressive R11 anti-slip rating. For Irish and outdoor use, we recommend choosing a 20mm porcelain tile instead of a 10mm porcelain tile.
We offer extremely competitive pricing on our entire range of tiles and likewise. We stock a huge range of wall and floor tiles and our prices are competitive for retail and trade. Our stock is widely available in our showrooms in Dublin and Ashbourne (Co. Meath) which are open 7 days a week
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to shop our tiles online, we can supply you with samples delivered for free.
Blog by Calum
Cal Bannerman is a freelance writer, editor, podcaster and voice actor from the Scottish Borders. They run the storytelling podcast “Stories from the Hearth”, and live in a wee Glasgow flat with their partner and cat.
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