Porcelain Vs. Natural Stone. Which Is Best?

(3 min 30 sec. read)

Choosing the right Paving for your project can be confusing due to the wide variety of options available.
But that shouldn’t mean that you can’t find the perfect option without having to compromise!

When starting a project, it’s always important to research your choice of stone carefully, to be sure that it suits your design needs and personal preferences, and that it is suitable for the use that your space will see once the project is complete!

Blue Black Granite Paving Pool

Natural Stone Paving has been used in domestic and commercial projects for a number of years with stones such as Granite, Slate and Sandstone being the top choices!

However, the growing popularity of Porcelain Paving in recent years has seen a much wider range becoming available. A man-made stone such as Porcelain offers some slightly different benefits when compared to Natural Stone Paving. In this post, we’ll be exploring these differences, so you can be confident that your choice of Paving is right for your project!

The differences between Natural Stone & Porcelain Paving:

 

1. Strength

Granite Patio Kit

Natural Stone

Granite is considered one of the strongest types of Natural Stone Paving for outdoor use in patios and paths. The lightly flamed surface texture provides the stone with it’s non-slip and scratch-resistant properties meaning that the stone is a low-maintenance option.

If your space is likely to see high amounts of traffic or will need to withstand the weight of vehicles, you will need to use a thicker slab when choosing Natural Stone Paving. We stock a range of 25mm Granite, as well as Granite Setts, which are more suited to high traffic areas and driveways due to the additional thickness of the slabs. These also suit a range of commercial projects due to the excessive use that the stone is likely to see in public spaces.

 

Porcelain

Porcelain Paving is extremely tough and durable due to the high temperatures that the stone is subjected to during the manufacturing process. This makes the paving suitable to withstand heavy loads and means that it is an apt choice for commercial uses & driveways!

Due to the strength of Porcelain, it is usually not necessary to use a slab that is thicker than 20mm in these types of projects. However, we always recommend that you check this with your landscaper or tradesperson to be sure that your particular project doesn’t have any special requirements.

2. Longevity & Maintenance

Buff Porcelain Paving

Natural Stone

Due to the porosity of Natural Stone Paving, it is usually advised to seal the slabs in order to protect them against the elements. Using a simple Stone Sealer, you can apply a protective layer to your stone which will allow the surface to breathe, whilst helping to prevent the build-up of any moisture within the stone.

It is usually advised to clean and re-seal your stone once every 1-2 years to keep your patio looking its best. Over time a sealant will start to wear off, meaning that your stone would require a thorough clean as well as a new layer of sealant.

Sealing your paving can also help to aid against scratches and staining. Any substances dropped or spilt onto Natural Stone are likely to seep into the stone and can be incredibly difficult to remove. However, sealing the stone will protect against and dirt, grease and other stains.

 

Porcelain

Porcelain is resistant to scratches and stains, which means it can easily take high levels of foot traffic – ideal for large families & businesses. Generally, any spillages on Porcelain Paving can simply be wiped clean!

As Porcelain Paving is non-porous, anything that is likely to leave a stain won’t seep into the stone, meaning that it will remain on the surface and can be removed quickly and easily with a cloth, or with a stiff brush and some warm soapy water for any slightly tougher stains!

3. Finish

Buff Porcelain Paving 600x900

Natural Stone

Natural Stone is an entirely organic product quarried from the earth and therefore delivers an authentically natural finish. The stone displays beautiful variations from slab to slab giving the paving the charm that only Natural Stone will provide, promising an outdoor area filled with character providing a wealth of design opportunities.

Rainbow Sandstone, for example, is one of the boldest, of all our paving types. Each slab has its own unique qualities of intense swirls and veins, and bright purple and orange colouring to help your home to stand out!
In contrast. Kandla Grey Sandstone is one of our most consistent Natural Stones and features a palette of light and dark grey tones throughout.

 

Porcelain

Porcelain features a printed surface which beautifully emulates the appearance of Natural Stone paving.

For example, we stock a range of Black and Rustic Porcelain which are designed to look just like our Blue-Black and Rustic Copper Slate. We also offer Ivory Porcelain which mimics the look of Sawn Mint Sandstone and Buff Porcelain which features a surface complete with fossil markings to create a natural finish, similar to our Mint Fossil Sandstone.

The wide range of colours and finishes that Porcelain Paving offers will provide a wealth of design opportunities for any project, meaning that you will never need to compromise!

4. Safety

Natural Stone

Our full range of Natural Stone Paving is designed for outdoor use. Stones such as Granite feature a lightly flamed surface texture which will provide additional grip underfoot, whilst also providing a safe, flat surface. Any stone with a natural, riven surface, such as our Calibrated Sandstone or Slate Paving, will also provide some extra grip!

The variations across the riven surface will give the stone a slightly uneven texture, which may be something to take into consideration if you have any requirements for a flat surface. Our sawn & honed Sandstone has a smooth surface which can be safer for some applications.

 

Porcelain

Our Porcelain Paving range is non-slip, with a rating of R11, which makes it suitable for exterior use and maintains its slip-resistant surface even when wet!

Depending on which type of Porcelain you order the surface will vary. Our Black and Rustic Porcelain is designed to mimic the natural riven surface of Slate Paving, whilst other Porcelain options offer a flat surface to imitate Granite or Sawn Sandstone.

The Conclusion

Black Porcelain Paving 600x900

There’s no right or wrong answer to the question, ‘Which is best?’ when it comes to Natural Stone vs man-made Porcelain Paving.

Overall, Porcelain is stronger than Natural Stone. Not only is it denser, but it can also withstand higher temperatures and is not susceptible to cracking or scratching. As well as this, being a non-porous stone, it is resistant to the build-up of moisture which can result in mould and other growths. It requires little maintenance and will stay looking its best with minimal upkeep required!

Rainbow Sandstone Paving

Natural stone, on the other hand, offers a range of unique and eye-catching finishes, some ranges offer the same frost and slip resistance as Porcelain Paving, and although it needs regular sealing and treating, this is something that is quick and easy to do, and only needs to be done around once a year.

When choosing your stone, always take the time to consider the use that your space will see, as well as the look that you would like to achieve. Most people will only lay one or two new patios throughout their lifetime and any type of stone will last for years to come, so it’s important to make the right choice in materials first time round!

If you need any assistance making a decision on the type of stone to use for your garden or patio, we would be happy to help!
You can speak to a member of the team on 01206 700 599 9am-6pm, Monday to Friday. You can also reach out to us via email at [email protected].

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